Wednesday, July 29, 2009


This is the subject of’s latest production airing first on BBC World News this month.

There is a lot of enthusiasm in international circles for ‘conditional credit transfers’ (or CCTs) by which subsidies are channelled exclusively to mothers in poor families. The conditions are that funds must be spent on their children’s health and education.
CCTs were invented during the severe 1994 economic slump in Mexico. The programme worked so well that it was kept on when the economy recovered six years later. Other Latin American countries were quick to produce their own versions of the Mexico initiative. Even New York - on a trial basis - has been running its own CCT scheme.’s crews filmed in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and the USA to find out how well the cash transfers to poor families worked in practice. On the whole, we found that the positive assessments stood up. We also convened in Washington DC a panel discussion with three architects of CCTs moderated by the BBC’s Zenaib Badawi .
In a new format, mixes the discussion with 4 documentary inserts from those countries. Though it was conceded by the panel that there have been abuses, the good press for CCTs is generally justified.
But no one is claiming that cash transfers to the poorest is the elusive ‘magic bullet’ for alleviating poverty.

Transmission schedule on

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