Bolsa Familia Program – Brazil

Social workers channel Indiana Jones to deliver welfare checks to Brazil’s Amazon, By Stephen Kurczy, August 27, 2014, Christian Science Monitor: “The orange boat racing up the Amazon River tributary is loaded with the essentials for fighting poverty in the jungle: a chainsaw and a dozen social workers. The river has swollen some 60 feet with the rainy season, and the captain looks out for logs and branches that might rip into the hull. He’s also looking for signs of human life in this dense jungle, one of the poorest regions in Brazil’s vast territory. The boat turns down an inlet nearly invisible through the dense green overgrowth, and the team spots an elderly man casting a fishing net. It’s apparent he’s blind as he feels his way to shore, his right thumb missing from a past piranha attack. ‘How good is God?’ the man calls out, his skin rough and wrinkled like worn leather. ‘I’ve been praying for you to come, and suddenly you’re here,’ he tells the social workers. This expedition is part of Busca Ativa, or ‘active search,’ a federal program to extend social welfare entitlements to the hardest-to-reach areas of Brazil…”

Conditional Cash Transfer Program – Brazil

Brazil’s Bolsa Família: welfare model or menace?, By Taylor Barnes, November 17, 2013, Christian Science Monitor: “The streets in this run-down town of 130,000 are nearly empty during work hours. There are few jobs here. But in the wee hours of the morning, bleary-eyed workers pile into buses headed for Rio de Janeiro, about two hours away, or the Petrobras state oil refinery under construction in nearby Itaboraí. But one office in Maricá is bustling: the government benefits center. About 20 women and children fidget on the worn chairs lined in front of the cramped office where notebooks filled with applications for antipoverty programs are stacked almost to the ceiling. Many are here applying for the Bolsa Família conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, a landmark poverty reduction effort in Brazil that has helped raise 36 million Brazilians out of extreme poverty and is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary. In Maricá alone, some 6,000 families receive monthly payouts…”

Conditional Cash Transfer Programs

What Brazil can teach America about fighting poverty, By Mercedes White, March 20, 2013, Deseret News: “Luxury condominiums with tennis courts and swimming pools border the white sands of Rio De Janeiro’s famous Ipanema Beach. Tourists note the striking resemblance to Miami or Southern California. But looking up, away from the ocean, to the homes perched on the cliffs above Ipanema, a very different Rio comes into focus. It is the neighborhood of Rocinha, the city’s largest slum, where precarious looking shacks are stacked one on top of the other. The dichotomy between the posh apartment buildings on the beach and the shanty towns in the hills is a visual reminder of the income inequality that plagues Rio and other Brazilian cities. Brazil has the one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world. But the chasm between rich and poor Brazilians is narrowing, according to the World Bank. Between 2003 and 2009, the income of the country’s poor grew seven times as much as the income of Brazil’s rich. The World Bank also reports that during this period the Brazilian poverty rate fell from 42.7 percent of the total population to 28.8 percent. Contrast this with the United States, where more than 80 percent of income growth in the last 10 years has gone to the top 1 percent of earners. Moreover, poverty rates in the United States have remained between 14 and 15 percent of the total population for the last 50 years, according to Census data…”

Poverty Alleviation – Brazil

Brazil’s new plan to beat poverty, By Taylor Barnes and Sara Llana Miller, July 7, 2011, Christian Science Monitor: “With a monthly stipend that she receives from the Brazilian government, Clemilda dos Santos can now keep the refrigerator stocked for her 10 kids, but life for the family is still precarious. At the top of a red clay hill in Japeri, the town with the lowest human development index in the state of Rio, the one-bedroom home she shares with her whole family still floods with rainwater. Her kids need winter coats. In the past decade, Brazil has been touted for lifting 25 million people out of poverty, thanks to macroeconomic stability, high commodities prices, and a much hailed social program called Bolsa Familia that gives families monthly cash for families that adhere to conditions such as keeping kids in classrooms. But as the nation continues to rise – it became majority middle class in 2008, according to the Rio-based Getúlio Vargas Foundation – leaders say they are determined to do more, arguing that packed homes and uncloaked children have no place in today’s economic landscape…”

Poverty Alleviation – Brazil

Fast-growing Brazil tries to lift its poorest, By Juan Forero, May 11, 2011, Washington Post: “The industrial complex and port here are a showcase of the region’s economic might, employing 55,000 workers and attracting billions in investments. But a couple of miles down the road, Netildes Delvina Soares, 47, lives ‘with much suffering,’ as she put it, in a wood-plank hut without plumbing or electricity. Although traditionally poor, Brazil’s northeast is now home to the country’s fastest-growing regional economy, making the disparity between prosperity and extreme poverty more visible here than anywhere else. And it is places such as this that the country’s new president, Dilma Rousseff, is hoping to uplift as she pursues an ambitious goal: eradicating indigence, defined as earning less than $45 a month. Over the past decade, Brazil has lifted 20 million people out of poverty through a mix of well-funded social programs and careful economic stewardship, creating a burgeoning consumer class that has helped make the country the world’s seventh-largest economy…”