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Latino Daily News

Saturday August 7, 2010

1.5 Million Colombian Families to Receive Aid for Health and Education

The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) approved a $220 million loan to support Colombia’s Familias en Acción conditional cash transfer program aimed at improving the health, nutrition and education of poor families.

Familias en Acción, Colombia’s highly-successful conditional cash transfer program, was established in 2001 with the dual objective of contributing to poverty reduction through direct cash transfers to families, and stimulating household investment in child health and education.

The program provides financial assistance to households provided they meet a series of school attendance and medical checkup requirements for their children. It operates in virtually all municipalities, covering more than 2.6 million families, including displaced and indigenous households, or nearly one-quarter of Colombia’s population.

The Bank has been a financial and technical partner throughout the nearly 10 years of the program’s implementation, playing a key role in providing technical assistance for the design and evaluation of Familias en Acción in the past decade. The current loan will finance the second stage of the program’s expansion to urban municipalities and targets 1.5 million families.

Among goals of the second stage of Familias en Acción is to cut chronic malnutrition in children between 0-5 years to 6.6 percent from 8.6 percent and boost use of preventive health care services to 75 percent from 71 percent in children between 3-5 years as well as increase the rate of children under 2 receiving full immunization to 86 percent from 83 percent.

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