International Programs

In our experience, the basic premises of Getting Ahead resonate across cultures, ethnicities, and national boundaries. Getting Ahead begins by listening to people in poverty and viewing them as necessary partners in planning and decision making. No matter where the Bridges Out of Poverty and Getting Ahead initiatives are located, it is possible to do relevant and effective work by attending to people in poverty throughout their transition from poverty.

Getting Ahead is used in Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Scotland, Uganda, and elsewhere. Click on the links below to learn about how other countries are using Getting Ahead:


  • The Getting Ahead program in Maryborough has won a prestigious social justice award. The program aims to give long-term unemployed people the confidence and skills they need to fill an oversupply of jobs. Read more here.
  • How to Start a Bridges and Getting Ahead Initiative. Marie McLeod, Senior Training Associates of Hawker Brownlow Professional Learning Solutions, shares her description of how to start a comprehensive community initiative that involves the schools. She includes a table that outlines the unique features of the Bridges approach that differentiates it from other approaches to poverty.


  • ga-canada

    Mary Jane Murray & Barb Fedy

    Mary Jane Murray is Honored Upon Her RetirementBarb Fedy, Director of Social Services in Grey County Ontario notes that Mary Jane launched Getting Ahead in 2010.  She facilitated 13 of the 17 groups, mentored 12 graduates who became GA co-facilitators, organized the Social Services Committee consisting of facilitators and graduates as a learning community, and addressed policy issues with the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force. 

  • Read the December 2015 report from the Adult Learning Centres in Grey, Bruce and Georgian Counties in Ontario. Mary Jane Murray describes the six year history of Bridges and Getting Ahead, provides outcomes, and shares best practices. Twenty-one Getting Ahead groups in 6 communities over 6 years with a retention/graduation rate of 89 percent. Learn about “True Colors,” a pre-Getting Ahead activity to help the investigators bond quickly, the Theory of Change in 3D: The Ring of Fire and more.

  • GANG (Getting Ahead Network Group) started in Cornwall, Ontario. Read what they and the mayor of Cornwall say about Getting Ahead.
  • Canadian data for the Bridges Out of Poverty workbook. This addendum provides Canadian data and resources for certified Bridges Out of Poverty trainers. Researched by Cheryl Hitchen, manager, social planning and policy, City of Kingston.
  • Canadian data for the Getting Ahead workbook. Canadian sites can use this data to adapt Getting Ahead to Canadian realities. Many thanks to Gayle Montgomery, Mary Jane Murray, and Cheryl Hitchen for making this available.

Czech Republic

  • “Pokrok” (Getting Ahead in Czech) will soon be offered in three cities in Moravia, Czech Republic. Here is a look at the Introduction and Module 1.
  • We recently received the following letter from Petra Šatánková, Project manager at the Centre for Community Organising in Eastern Moravia:
    • Dear Phil – I‘m pleased to inform you that our Getting Ahead initiatives have finished in all three towns (Zlín, Břeclav and Brno). They’d been launched five months ago. Different types of people from our target groups attended the meetings. The target groups consisted of parents returning to the labor market after maternity leave or caring for dependent family members, people leaving the facility for institutional or protective education, or parents with children – especially single mothers. The group in Zlín was the smallest group; however, we’ve also noticed the best results there. At the beginning, they lacked motivation, surrendering to their poor living conditions. With the GA program, we’ve seen progress amongst participants who gradually developed the courage and desire to actively address their situation. From one of the participant’s testimony: “The Getting Ahead meetings showed me not only the right path to direct my life, but also provided me with new methods of thinking and seeing the world.” Meetings took place in a warm and friendly atmosphere, so the participants got rid of barriers and talked openly even about their unpleasant life experiences and situations. The next GA meetings were held in Břeclav in Southern Moravia and were exceptional for the participants in a different way. This GA program increased their motivations and gave them new impulses. One woman submitted an application to college and another one registered to a course for social care service workers. This group was the most diverse, and the discussions throughout “investigating” were led in a lively, but friendly, spirit. The third group took place in Brno (also in Southern Moravia). Since this group consisted of mainly young people leaving the facility for institutional and protective education, the feedback was different from the other groups. These young people don’t have sufficient family backgrounds and models to follow, and they are usually unable to use or develop their potential on their own. Though, by “investigating,” they realized that they shape their future by making steps today. So, the young people appreciated the case studies and the analysis of sources the most. The studies clearly demonstrated how following the wrong models will hinder their growth, causing them to not develop their potential. In summary, all the meetings were beneficial for the participants in different ways. They gave them the opportunities to share their stories with others, motivated them to find the right path in their lives, and to solve their problems step-by-step. Also, this month we are organizing a seminar for the organizations, which will be part of the Getting Ahead Network and will support our GA initiatives to stabilize their situations and help them build resources to improve their lives. Wow, you followed me until the end? Attached you will also find some photos from the meetings. I look forward hearing from you soon. Kind regards.























  • At the International Conference on Bridges Out of Poverty in Otrokovice, Czech Republic, Miro Pollak spoke about his work in Slovakia. Miro is a former Director of the Slovak Department for Roma Affairs and a Certified Bridges Trainer. The conference held on October 9-10 2014 was attended by people from Slovakia, Scotland, Ireland, USA, and the Czech Republic. In this paper, Miro Pollak describes how concepts and methodology from Getting Ahead helped Roma youth build a town square that has become a living center for the Bystrany settlement.
  • Getting Ahead was introduced in Slovakia in 2008 and has been used in Kosice and Presov.  Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World and Bridges Out of Poverty are available in Slovak.
  • Milan K. explains the hidden rules of a Gypsy settlement. Bill Baker from Montana and Slovakia helped start Bridges Out of Poverty and Getting Ahead in Slovakia. The following story is excerpted from his newsletter
  • Check the second page of Bill Baker’s newsletter to read about Getting Ahead in Slovakia.


  • Poverty is experienced differently in every community. The Getting Ahead process begins by investigators defining local conditions. Then the investigations begin. Read below about the approach of Getting Ahead sponsor, ADL, and how you might support the Getting Ahead process in Uganda. 

To read about how Getting Ahead is used in a variety of organizational settings, click on Program Sponsors.

Ready to engage people in poverty in your community? Call us at (800) 424-9484 or request information online.