December 27, 2011
EFE/Latin America Herald Tribune, 12/24/2011
President Dilma Rousseff, who took office Jan. 1, says she remains committed to ridding Brazil of extreme poverty by the end of her term in 2013.
“We will not resist until we achieve our goal of pulling 16 million people out of destitution,” the head of state said Monday on her weekly radio program.
She said the “Brazil Without Destitution” initiative exceeded its targets for the first year, identifying 407,000 families who are eligible for public assistance but not receiving benefits.
August 11, 2011
Bradley Brooks – AP/Bloomberg, 08/10/2011
When Altaiza Silva lost her job cleaning houses two years ago, she thought she would have to pull her daughters out of school and put them to work, likely perpetuating the cycle of poverty that’s claimed generations of her family.
Instead, their fall has been halted by Brazil’s widely admired social safety net, which includes the world’s biggest program giving money directly to poor households. With the help of that $8 billion national effort, Silva gets $65 a month. That is only about a fifth of what she earns in her new job as a hospital cleaner, but for desperately poor Brazilians, the extra cash from Bolsa Familia (Family Grant) program often means the difference between starvation and survival.
That same idea may now get a global tryout as world food prices spike, economies everywhere sputter and a horrific famine desolates East Africa.
November 19, 2010
Madeleine Bunting – The Guardian, 11/19/2010
Rumour has it that when senior civil servants at the Department for International Development (DfID) tried to interest the development secretary Andrew Mitchell in cash transfers, they couldn’t get anywhere. One morning he came across a column by my colleague Aditya Chakrabortty and was converted.
Within a short space of time the “must read” book for senior DfID officials was Just Give Money to the Poor, which charted the success of projects all over the world where aid was given straight to the poorest people – without all the consultants on fat salaries to analyse poverty reduction.
He’s delighted by the interest. “Brazil is developing a new model of donor whereby we give expertise as well as aid. Brazil is already one of the largest donors of food aid in the world.” He is also struck by the paradox that Brazil is expanding its welfare state just as Europe is cutting back on welfare.
August 2, 2010
The Economist, 07/29/2010
THREE generations of the Teixeira family live in three tiny rooms in Eldorado, one of the poorest favelas (slums) of Greater São Paulo, the largest city in the Americas. The matriarch of the family, Maria, has six children; her eldest daughter, Marina, has a toddler and a baby. Like many other households in thefavela, the family has been plagued by domestic violence. But a few years ago, helped in part by Bolsa Família (family grant)—which pays mothers a small sum so long as their children stay in education and get medical check-ups—Maria took her children out of child labour and sent them to school.
The programme allows the children to miss about 15% of classes. But if a child gets caught missing more than that, payment is suspended for the whole family. The Teixeiras’ grant has been suspended and restarted several times as boy after boy skipped classes. And now the eldest, João, aged 16, is out earning a bit of money by cleaning cars or distributing leaflets, taking his younger brothers with him. Marina’s pregnancies have added to the pressure. She gets no money for her children because she lives with her mother and the family has reached Bolsa Família’s upper limit. After rallying for a while, the Teixeira family is sliding backwards, struggling more than it did a couple of years ago.