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Latino Daily News

Sunday September 8, 2013

Mexico to Receive $600 Million in Financing for Opportunities Program

The well-known Mexican human development program Opportunities will receive $600 million in new financing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to strengthen the development of human capital in education, nutrition, and health in poor families with the aim of breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty and guaranteeing a minimum income to vulnerable households.

The conditional cash transfer program benefits 24.3 million Mexican citizens, of whom 95.8 percent are women and 68 percent live in rural areas. The program’s targeting methodology includes a periodically updated survey of household living conditions.

Ninety-eight percent of the loan’s resources will finance payments to beneficiary households that receive transfers in exchange for meeting certain requirements, such as school attendance and medical checkups. From 1998 to 2011 the average level of support in real terms grew 48 percent to 78 percent of the minimum wage.In 2012, the average beneficiary family received about $130 per month.

The project aims to increase enrollment in junior high school and high school, increase support for these levels, establish payments for completing school grades, and make connections between Oportunidades and scholarship programs offered by the Ministry of Public Education.

It will also promote access to health and nutrition services through consolidation and expansion of the Comprehensive Nutrition Care Strategy by strengthening health worker training in the distribution of micronutrient supplements for children and pregnant women.

Technical assistance will be provided for implementation and evaluation of program improvements. In addition, the IDB-financed program will seek to improve coordination between Oportunidades and the sectors responsible for providing the services that serve as incentives for receiving cash payments.

The IDB has supported Oportunidades since 2002. During this time the Bank has provided financing for the program with five loans totaling $3.8 billion.