Thursday, March 19, 2009

The demise of CCTs in Nicaragua

This one pager published the IPC looks at why a popular Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) program in Nicaragua, Red de Proteccion Social (RPS), was put to death bed despite initial success in education and health sectors.

In the CCT program, funds were channeled to female households in exchange for commitment to send children to school and administer regular medical check-ups at local health centers. This had positive impact on school enrollment and other education indicators and reduced stunting by 5 percentage points. Despite these successes, the program was discontinued by the Nicaraguan government in 2006, thus marking the demise of a successful 6 years of CCTs.

The end of the Nicaraguan experience with RPS is disappointing
in light of the programme’s achievements, but it provides relevant lessons to policymakers working with CCTs, particularly those receiving external funding. Even if a programme is deemed successful to the international community, domestic constituents must still approve of it. The support of both the non-beneficiary populace and government officials is important. Key domestic officials may change over time, and support cannot be provided solely by a few officials who may not remain in their positions. Frequent communication of a programme’s purposes, policies and results is important to gaining and maintaining support. Without steady domestic approval, even an excellent programme may lose support and eventually be discontinued. With such support, the programme is more likely to continue to function, improve and enjoy greater backing and influence.

Here is my earlier blog post on the need for CCTs during the financial crisis. And, here is a review of CCTs in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.