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Brazil and Colombia show strategies for social policies’ intersectoral coordination

During the last WWP webinar, representatives of Brazil and Colombia presented the countries' strategies regarding intersectoral coordination aimed at managing social policies

Eurritimia/Flickr/CC

Brasilia, September 29, 2016 - "Intersectoral coordination is the key to build social protection systems and to implement social protection programs because poverty has multidimensional characteristics, and different households have different needs. Coordination allows to reduce fragmentation and make better use of existing resources”. That is how Eric Zapatero Larrio, social protection expert at the World Bank, summed up the importance of the issue discussed last Thursday in the webinar Tools for Intersectoral Coordination – How to Integrate Social Policies in Conditional Cash Transfer Programs, where he acted as moderator.

View the presentation of the webinar (PDF)

The virtual seminar was organized by the Brazil Learning Initiative for a World without Poverty (WWP) in partnership with the socialprotection.org platform. This is the second of a series of meetings entitled "The Brazilian Experience on Social Protection Programs".

The first speaker was Rodrigo Lofrano, Coordinator of the Bolsa Familia Program's (PBF) Conditionalities at the Brazilian Ministry of Agrarian and Social Development. Lofrano presented the details of decisions regarding the management of the program’s conditionalities in terms of health, education and social assistance (learn about them here).

In Brazil, conditionalities are monitored first by setting up a database of children, adolescents and women who need to be accompanied to attest to compliance. Later on, those that have not complied with the program’s conditionalities are identified and actions are undertaken to locate these families and prioritize their access to social programs and services.

Lofrano also explained the requirements to leverage integration of municipal, state and federal authorities. First of all, focal points must be defined. “Every municipality in Brazil has a technician - a civil servant - responsible for the conditionalities’ monitoring, which is true for social assistance, but also on the health and education secretariats", he stated. Then, according to Lofrano, it is necessary to outline the mandates through political agreements and empower technicians who will deal directly with the beneficiaries.

PBF has three online systems to monitor and follow-up beneficiaries: one for health, one for education and another one for specific conditionalities (learn about them here). Therefore, there is no single information system. “We can’t speak of interoperability nowadays, since integration between systems is not automatic, but there is a specific design for databases to talk to each other", he explains.

Watch the first webinar of the series: Access and dissemination of information of the PBF

The second speaker, Andrea Léon López, Director of Family and Community Support in the Department for Social Prosperity of Colombia, provided details about the country's strategy to fight extreme poverty through the Unidos program. The goal is to take 1.5 million people out of multidimensional poverty, which currently affects 9.6 million Colombians. To do that, intersectoral coordination is paramount.

The Colombian method is based on social workers who carry out on-site monitoring of families and communities and the development of diagnostics and work plans aimed at eradicating multidimensional poverty according to the specific needs of each household and community.

The Colombian government is therefore focused on working with civil society, public authorities, the private sector and international entities in order to respond to these needs. Every family is taken into account and stops participating in the program once they meet three criteria: overcoming extreme poverty (income-wise), multidimensional poverty and achieving 11 prerequisites divided in areas such as health, education, work, etc.

After the presentations, moderator Eric Zapatero Larrio reminded participants that interinstitutional coordination of all agents involved in social policies is a common challenge to all countries, although "there is no ‘one fits all’ solution. We see from international experience that some countries go for a more centralised approach, others for more decentralised ones, like Brazil and Chile”.

The third webinar of this series is scheduled for the last week of November and will address the strengthening of family farming. Subscribe to the WWP Newsletter to stay on top of news and events.

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Marco Prates