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CCT Programmes and Women’s Empowerment in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador

2011 — By Maxine Molyneux, Marilyn Thomson

Latin America’s efforts to alleviate poverty have resulted in reducing poverty in twelve countries, most strikingly in Mexico and Brazil. The adoption of Cash Transfer programmes in much of the region is credited with helping to bring this reduction about. These programmes are widely promoted as a cost effective and efficient means by which to target vulnerable groups.

The model pioneered in Latin America is designed to assist poor households with the cost of schooling, and an innovative feature is that the transfer is given directly to the mothers. It is claimed that this maximises efficiency and achieves positive results because women’s spending in low income households, in contrast to men’s, is largely directed at satisfying children’s and household’s needs. It is also claimed that women benefit from their control over this resource and that their participation in the programme is empowering women.