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Dec 29, 2009, 5:00 PM

Post #1 of 7 (2924 views)


México's Oportunidades program on PBS

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Tuesday night, PBS had an interesting report of a program called Oportunidades which provides money to poor mothers to encourage schooling for their children and better nutrition for the family.

Rolly Pirate

(This post was edited by Rolly on Dec 30, 2009, 6:31 AM)


Dec 29, 2009, 6:13 PM

Post #2 of 7 (2897 views)


Re: [Rolly] México's Oportunidades program on OBS

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Here is a related extract from Geo-Mexico, the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico (forthcoming book by Dr. Richard Rhoda and yours truly, which should be on sale in mid-January):
Oportunidades (Opportunities) is a government social assistance program to help families overcome poverty. Begun in 2002, it is an extension of Progresa, a program which started in 1997. Oportunidades provides conditional cash transfers every two months to families which meet specific geographic and economic criteria of poverty. The transfers only continue if family members meet a series of goals including children's regular attendance at school and family visits to the nearest clinic for regular nutrition and health advice. Additional economic incentives are offered for the completion of each grade of school with special emphasis on ensuring that girls complete high school. The payment recipients are usually mothers, who make most child and family health decisions.
In 2008, Oportunidades managed a budget of $3.6 billion. This budget is managed very efficiently with only 4% going towards administrative expenses and on-going research. It helps 5 million families, about one-quarter of all families in Mexico. These families tend to live in the most marginal communities. Oportunidades operates in 93,000 different localities throughout the country, 86% of which are in rural areas. In Chiapas the program helps 61% of all families. The corresponding figures for two other poor states—Oaxaca and Guerrero—are 53% and 52% respectively.
How successful has the program been?
In eleven years what has been achieved? Enrollment in junior high schools has risen 30% for 14-year-olds. The graduation rate from high schools is 23% higher for those supported by Oportunidades than for those not in the program. Teens in the program in rural areas now complete five and a half years of high school, a full year more than non-beneficiaries. Turning to the health aspects, maternal deaths and infant mortality nationwide have decreased 11% and 2% respectively since the program was introduced. In urban areas children in the program under three years old have increased their average height by 1.42 cm with respect to non-beneficiaries. In rural areas, children under 5 have 20% fewer sick days than previously. Oportunidades is one of the most-studied social programs on the planet.9 It has been very positively received by international agencies and is a model for similar conditioned payment programs in some 30 other countries. A pilot program called Opportunity NYC is being evaluated in New York City.

Copyright 2009. Richard Rhoda and Tony Burton. All rights reserved.

(This post was edited by tonyburton on Dec 29, 2009, 6:15 PM)


Dec 29, 2009, 7:11 PM

Post #3 of 7 (2873 views)


Re: [tonyburton] México's Oportunidades program on OBS

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I had no idea anything this progressive and comon sense with measureable, indesputable results were being implimented in Mx and studied or copied by other parts of the world. The segment was tempered by including the analysis from the Mexican professor of economics. He lauded the obvious results but was concerned that, without providing the possibilty of jobs after increasing the educational level and health of these kids, all might be to no avail. They would better educated, healthier, understand family planning better, but still stuck in dead end poverty.

It was also interesting that they directed their efforts and funds towards the mothers and grandmothers to achieve the maximun benefits for children, families. It was thought that the men might not appreciate or accept what was trying to be accomplished by the edcation and squander the money.


Dec 30, 2009, 6:26 AM

Post #4 of 7 (2818 views)


Re: [Glenn] México's Oportunidades program on OBS

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I recall someone posting about a school teacher in Chiapas who was pressurred to falsify attendance records for children whose families receive such benefits, that this was a common practice. The pressure was in the form of death or disappearance threats, not to be taken lightly. Does the program work?


Dec 30, 2009, 7:26 AM

Post #5 of 7 (2802 views)


Re: [Rolly] México's Oportunidades program on PBS

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Another clip from the same PBS program.....


Dec 30, 2009, 2:59 PM

Post #6 of 7 (2750 views)


Re: [Peter] México's Oportunidades program on OBS

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This is also hear-say, but when I was in Chamula the driver and tour guide said that the men there were selling their land in order to take several wives. The wives would then have children and turn over all the money from the government program to the husbands. He felt that this was a horrible program that encouraged the selling of the family farm and the continued abuse of Chiapan women and their children. I guess the children that are not keeping up in school are the ones you see in Merida selling flowers or what-not.


Dec 30, 2009, 5:40 PM

Post #7 of 7 (2724 views)


Re: [yucatandreamer] México's Oportunidades program on OBS

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Appreciate all the possible or probable aspects of the "rest of the story." It's good to be able to get the deeper insights and nuances into the all the facets of a story.
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