Juntos Program to Provide Cash for 500 Thousand Families in 2008

(LIP-ir) — Alfonso Velásquez, the president of "Juntos", the national program created to support Peru’s poorest households, said today that they expected to reach 500 thousand families and have the program reach 21 of Peru’s regions in 2008.

He explained that this year’s 700-million-sol budget would allow them to contribute to hundreds of thousands of poor families in 2008.

As a "conditional cash transfer" (CCT) program, Juntos grants Peru’s poorest families with 100 soles per month in cash only if families meet certain criteria.

Velásquez pointed out that until last December, the program had assisted 353 thousand 67 families, all of which received the monthly cash after agreeing to send their children to school and provide them with basic healthcare.

Families were helped in fourteen of Peru’s regions, including districts in Amazonas and Loreto.

In addition, the president of Juntos said that many people were investing the 100 soles and generating an income for their families.

With this promising outlook, he explained that beneficiaries who were improving their family’s income could quit the program ahead of time, instead of receiving help for the entire eight years the program lasted.

“It is planned that in the fourth year beneficiaries start to be less dependent on the program so in the fifth year they receive 75 soles. I am pleased to see this period being reduced now that people are making their way out of poverty by investing in profitable activities," he told RPP news.

"While 100 soles does not seem like much, we are basically doubling the income of families in these districts. Many of the women who received the money had never held 100 soles in their hands at one time," said Velasquez.

News source: ANDINA