The Challenges of El Salvador's Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, Red Solidaria

Tatiana Feitosa de Britto, International Poverty Centre

Through a recent country study and their cash transfer research programme, The International Poverty Centre published The Challenges of El Salvador’s Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, Red Solidaria.  The report documents the experiences in El Salvador where we see family support services and outreach incorporated in the cash transfer programme.  The integrated approach of the conditional cash transfer programme combines cash transfers with co-responsibilities in health and education as well as other components.  The paper documents the El Salvadoran experiences noting the shift in the late 1990s from a demand based orientation and heavy reliance on external resources to a  mandate based upon local development, family integration and coordination with municipal governments.  Though the report highlights this transition as an indication of progress, it also notes the continued challenges in for consistent and standardized monitoring and integration of families across different regions nationally. 

Institutionally the programme is headed by the President's office. The work is then rolled out by an inter-ministerial coordination body. They have a small secretariat at national level that convenes regular meetings of 20 government departments. The secretariat also has staff based in local municipalities to coordinate with local government structures; municipal committees are formed which include local leaders and civil society groups.

Every year, there is a bidding process for NGOs at the local level who are then responsible for ensuring maximum enrollment, family support and follow-up. This includes updating information that feeds into the central registry system, but it also includes house visits to support families with implementing their "agreement". El Salvador has an interesting stipulation called "co-responsibility" with beneficiaries. That is, beneficiaries sign an agreement to reach health and education outcomes with the programme and the government pledges to support that effort with financial assistance and regular coordinated support.