A delegation of government officials from South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, and Zambia was received on Friday, January 27, by Brazil’s Minister of Social Development, Patrus Ananias.
The purpose of their visit was to learn about Brazil’s experience with the Family Grant, the government’s income transfer program, which is part of the Zero Hunger effort.
They were taken to observe the program at work in communities in the city of Formosa, in the state of Goiás, near the Brazilian capital, Brasília.
The director of Programs in Mozambique’s National Social Action Institute, Noel Trindade, said that, although there are "considerable differences between Brazil and his country, it was very useful to become acquainted with details of how the Family Grant operates in Brazil." He singled out the link between concession of the benefit and children’s school attendance.
Another detail that caught Trindade’s attention is the organization surrounding the list of families, providing information on their situation not only in the area of food consumption but health and education, as well.
Last year the Ministry of Social Development and Hunger Alleviation spent US$ 7.67 billion (17 billion reais) on its programs, and minister Ananias predicts that this year’s expenditures will total US$ 9.48 billion (21 billion reais).
"In Lula’s Administration the social question is not philanthropy, nor is it for electoral ends; it is a matter of government policy, law, and justice," Ananias affirmed.
According to the minister, the unified list established for the Family Grant program has undergone constant improvement, incorporating new and modern technologies to avert fraud.
One of the measures he sees as important in this area is the creation of a public oversight network, in partnership with the Public Defense Ministry, and the integrated effort with municipal governments to update the lists.
"The local councils and control committees established for the program in each city permit a social control that is very important to the functioning of the program," Ananias believes.
In his view, Brazil has become an international model in the area of social policies, recognized by the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and various United Nations bodies, which have recommended the Family Grant program to other countries.
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