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Oportunidades, a Human Development Program

The main purpose of the Mexican Government policy is to accomplish access to equal opportunities for better living, thus reaching human development and social welfare for its people.

The program’s objective is contributing to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, favoring the development of capacities in education, health and nutrition of its beneficiary families.

Nowadays the Program assists 6.5 million families being present in every state of the country and covering 100% of the nation’s municipalities emphasizing those most marginalized; it benefits approximately 187,000 localities throughout the country, 99% of which are rural and semi-urban.

 

Program’s Design and Operation

Oportunidades is one of the main instruments of Mexican social policy and it is within its framework that joint actions are developed in order to create wellbeing amongst families living in extreme poverty conditions.

Its design combines the issuance of conditioned cash transfers with coordinated interventions regarding health, nutrition and education.

In the short term, these incentives help families improve their socioeconomic condition providing the beneficiaries with the possibility to obtain better wages. In the medium term it stimulates the development of capabilities by promoting regular school attendance and medical checkups.

Oportunidades uses gender approach helping girls, boys and teens maintain regular school attendance so they finish and obtain their middle and high school diplomas.

Nowadays, Oportunidades provides more than six million educational grants, thus allowing beneficiaries´ children and teens achieve higher education standards and acquire higher expectations than those their parents had for themselves.

 

Food Support Program (Programa de Apoyo Alimentario - PAL)

The Food Support Program assists more than 50,000 localities nationwide which at the moment don’t have access to health or education services.

It started as a Program called “Pa que te alcance” and “Te nutre” which were instrumented in 2003, by 2007 it operated as “Rural Food Support Program” (PAAR) in two different modes: nutrition and rural supply, in 2008 it transformed into the Food Support Program in Priority areas (PAAZAP), by 2009 with the fusion of PAAR and PAAZAP the Food Suuport Program (PAL) was created. By 2010 Oportunidades started operating it. Its main objective is to contribute to the development of basic capabilities of its beneficiaries in order to improve the nutrition of families, boy and girls 5 years old and younger and pregnant and breastfeeding women.

PAL it’s a transitional incentive for those families which are located on marginalized localities which cannot be permanently contacted, but at some point they will be migrated to Oportunidades.

PAL´s coverage

Year

Municipalities

Localities

Families

2010

2,330

54,367

677,027

2011

2,330

50,792

673,547

2012

2,337

50,792

673,547

Source: Oportunidades Register and Transfer Office, 2012

 

Beneficiaries’ Identification

Oportunidades applies a rigorous beneficiaries’ identification system by means of a socioeconomic and demographic inquiry. Families incorporated to the Program hold that place due to their poverty conditions and vulnerability; their continuance will be determined by the fulfillment of their co-responsibilities: regular attendance to school and medical appointments.

The Program’s correct focusing method has allowed Oportunidades to grow and increase its coverage to a larger number of families, directing its efforts towards states with the highest marginalization indexes and fewer possibilities of human development.

In states that show the lowest indexes of human development*, more than half of their population receive Oportunidades´ incentives. In Chiapas, for instance, this proportion equals to 6 out of every 10 inhabitants.

Human Development Index and families incorporated to Oportunidades

State

Human
Development
Index*

Number of beneficiary families**

Beneficiary as percentage of total population**

Chiapas

0.7469

618,795

59.60%

Oaxaca

0.7610

456,421

47.70%

Guerrero

0.7672

392,863

52.70%

Michoacan

0.7885

284,208

29.20%

Veracruz

0.7897

670,659

36.00%

Hidalgo

0.7974

225,356

36.20%

Tlaxcala

0.8002

73,620

29.70%

Puebla

0.8070

485,040

36.30%

Nayarit

0.8118

44,372

17.90%

Zacatecas

0.8123

101,965

30.10%

*     This methodology planned by the UN, measures progress and advancement of indicators related to health, education and income.
**    Source: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).The Index of Human Development in Mexico. May 2012
***    Source: Oportunidades Register and Transfer Office, end of 2011 figures.

Note: The statistics used to calculate the indicators of Human Development in this study make reference to most recent comparable and available information. Generally, in its national and world versions the Human Development report has a 2 yr. lag in the statistical information presented in respect to the year of publication.

Since extreme poverty concentrates in rural areas, currently 7 out of 10 Oportunidades´ beneficiaries live in communities of 2,500 inhabitants or less, most of them indigenous

Beneficiary households by locality size

Less than or equal to 2,500 inhabitants

More than 2,500 and up to 15,000 inhabitants

More than 15,000 inhabitants

Oportunidades

3’634,076

988,729

1’220,513

PAL

280,509

100,160

292,878

Total beneficiary households

3’914,585

1’088,889

1’513,391

Source: Oportunidades Register and Transfer Office, 2012

 

Benefits received by our beneficiaries:

  • Direct cash transfers paid every two months typically to women and mothers, contributing to the improvement of quality, quantity and diversity of food, thus providing for better nutrition. Starting 2012, the cash transfer to compensate energy consumption expenses has been integrated to the nutritional aid.

  • Educational grants for girls, boys and teens, starting on their 3rd grade and up to their senior year of High School. In localities with less than 2,500 inhabitants grants are also given to first and second graders.

  • Economic incentives for students that finish their High School Education before turning 22 years old, through ‘Youth with Oportunidades’ (Jóvenes con Oportunidades).

  • Cash transfers to purchase school supplies at the beginning of each cycle for elementary school students, and annually for middle and high school students.

  • Basic health care and communal educative workshops for the promotion of health, created mainly for teen beneficiaries (15 years and older including high school students).

  • Nutritional supplements for all infants between 6 and 23 months old, undernourished children between the ages of 24 to 59 months old and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Starting in 2009, health institutions have started the distribution of calorie free supplements in order to prevent obesity.

  • Special cash transfers for every adult 70 years or older who is a member of a beneficiary family meanwhile its incorporated to the SEDESOL´s Program 70 and more.

  • Starting in 2008, beneficiary families began receiving the Food Aid for Better Living, an additional transfer to help protect their economy from the effects of the hike in global food prices.

  • Starting 2010, our beneficiaries receive the Child Benefit for a Better Living, a direct cash transfer for every child 0 to 9 years old in order to support their proper nutrition and development. Every home receives a maximum of 3 child benefits.

Conditional cash transfers have won Oportunidades many international acknowledgments therefore many countries visit Mexico to learn about its operation so it can be implemented in other nations. Nowadays Oportunidades´ model is being applied in more than 30 countries in America, Africa and Asia it is also being analyzed worldwide (for example Ivory Coast, Morocco, Jamaica, Pakistan, Philippines and Cameroon)

 

Oportunidades is a transparent program

Oportunidades is internationally acknowledged as one of the best social politics practices since it incorporate families based on the results of a socioeconomic inquiry.

Its records, incentive amounts, rules of operation and indicators are clear and public; they are available on the internet and are permanently updated. Consequently, the UNDP and Mexican Transparency have recognized Oportunidades and other federal social programs with superior grades compared to local government programs, including those from Mexico City.

Oportunidades is permanently audited by the Mexican Ministry of Public Administration and the Superior Federal Auditors. Periodical reports are submitted to the Chamber of Representatives.

Also within the legal framework of transparency, the Program answers every single request of information.

Última actualización:
Martes 2 de octubre de 2012 a las 4:43 pm
por Fernando Irala Burgos