Practitioners from different countries explain their reasons for wishing to learn about Brazil´s experience in the fight against poverty. A seminar in Brasilia brought together representatives from 60 countries

Brasilia, 19 May 2016 – While the majority of Guatemala´s social programs were inspired by Brazil´s example, Argentina was more interested in learning how to monitor results more efficiently. Angola, on the other hand, was keen to adapt almost all Brazil´s strategies with regard to the protection of the most vulnerable sectors of its population.

The worldwide interest in Brazil´s social programs was clear from the large number of foreign delegations (42) that attended the XI International Seminar on Social Policies for Development last week in Brasilia.

If participation by representatives of foreign embassies in Brasilia is taken into account, the final attendance score would be 60 – the largest number ever recorded for these international seminars.

Organized since 2012 by the Ministry of Social Development and Fight against Hunger (MDS) – now Ministry of Social and Agrarian Development (MDSA) – the aim of the seminar is to bring together in one place and at one time foreign invitees (mainly from Latin America and Africa, but also representatives from other continents) interested in acquiring information about anti-poverty programs.

Between 2011 and 2016, 455 delegations from 107 countries visited Brazil for the same purpose.

The Brazilian Learning Initiative for a World without Poverty (WWP) took this opportunity to question participants – who over four days were given a theoretical and practical introduction to Brazil´s social protection system –  about their reasons for making the long journey to Brasilia.

The following answers, in the form of individual statements, show that Brazil has become an example to the world of good practice in several respects in the fight against poverty and food insecurity.



Photo: Marco Prates

“I am here to learn about Brazil’s experience with the Unified Registry. My work in Egypt involves the same area, and I heard about your Registry a long time ago. We can benefit in Egypt from using a system that is already mature.”

D. Magdy Elhennawy (Egypt)
General Manager of the National Registry for Social Safety Net Programs of the Ministry of Planning, Follow-up and Administrative Reform)



Photo: Marco Prates

“Brazil and Angola are sister countries and we are jointly involved in a large number of projects. In Angola, we are now at a stage of growth and reconstruction after more than 40 years of war. During these 14 years of peace we are building the country´s entire social fabric and economic and productive infrastructure. Brazil’s experience is much more advanced, so we have a lot to learn. We are taking the first steps to build the unified registry of social program beneficiaries. We do not have a Unified Social Assistance System. Our programs are scattered over several ministries, but we do possess a Social Assistance Center, so we can learn from Brazil´s CRAS (Reference Center for Social Assistance) and CREAS (Specialized Reference Center for Social Assistance). It is very important for us to see how you organize these two agencies so that we can get an idea of how to proceed in Angola.  We are also in the process of setting up a data management system. Furthermore, we have never had a cash transfer program, so we are learning from the Bolsa Família. There are many interesting points and a host of  valuable lessons that we can take back and use in the context of Angola.”

Teresa Quiviengale (Angola)
National Director of  Social Action of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Reinsertion



Photo: Marco Prates

“Brazil is a reference in terms of social policy, especially in the area that I coordinate: information and the monitoring and evaluation of social programs. There is much interest in fine-tuning and improving the Argentine system that was established some few years ago and which has failed to improve in recent times, or to truly reflect the social and technological context in which we now live. Our goal is to generate information as a reference core for our various programs, so we are here to learn a little more about Brazil´s past and present experience of building its information, monitoring and evaluation systems. We would like to introduce, for example, a register on the lines of the Unified Registry to record the living conditions that characterize vulnerable groups, and to adapt our entire system so that we can detect whether the various programs are meeting expected targets and results.”

Soledad Cubas (Argentina)
National Director of the Information, Monitoring and Evaluation of Social Programs System (SIEMPRO)



Photo: Marco Prates

“The truth is that Guatemala has adopted everything that Brazil has done. Around 80% of our social programs are based on the Brazilian concept, and I can see that you have greatly improved on them here. We also have the unified registry, supported by the UN. For me, a world without poverty is important and Latin America deserves to be part of it. We have a high percentage of chronic malnutrition in Guatemala. Over the next four years, our current President proposes to reduce malnutrition by 10 percentage points. It’s very difficult, but not impossible. Countries like Brazil have done this in many ways, for example through the Bolsa Familia Program. I am sure we can also do the same.”

José Moreno (Guatemala)
Minister of Social Development



Photo: Marco Prates

“We are aware of Brazil´s vast experience of social protection. It embraces a multitude of good programs and projects. But what interests us most is education, including your National School Nutrition Program. In Tunisia, we have experience in this area, since our program dates back to the 1950s. In recent years, however, the program has gradually stagnated and is now in need of renewal.  We have started to use a new school nutrition strategy. In the course of developing this program, we even sent a Tunisian team in 2014 to Brazil to the UN Centre of Excellence against Hunger. Our strategy  was inspired by the Brazilian model and we started running two pilot projects. At present the program is going ahead and we are here again to learn about evaluation and monitoring so that we can be sure we are on the right track.”

Moez Boubake (Tunisia)
Ministry of Education Chief of Staff



Photo: Marco Prates

“Peru´s social development programs are very recent, so it is very important for us to be aware of other experiences, especially Brazil´s which have been tried and tested for years. We are interested in learning from a country that already has a sustainable development program so that we can draw examples from it to be applied positively in Peru. What I am really impressed with is the use of the Unified Registry, an initiative that could prove invaluable to us. In Peru we still need to assemble information from all the programs to provide us with a complete and simultaneous picture of the circumstances of all family members.”

Jessica González (Peru)
Head of the Resources Unit of the Qali Warma National School Nutrition Program


Also, take a look at this video that summarizes the XI International Seminar on Social Policies for Development:

Marco Prates, WWP