Social Funds Innovation Notes

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Social Funds Innovation Notes are published informally by the Social Funds Thematic Group of the Human Development Network – Social Protection. These replaced the earlier series called Social Funds Innovation Updates.

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    Integrating Social Funds into Local Development Strategies : Five Stories from Latin America
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-09) Serrano, Rodrigo
    The steady movement towards decentralization that Latin America has experienced in the last decade, often referred to as the "quiet revolution", has led governments and donors to rethink the role Social Funds (SFs) should play in promoting local development. While SFs had been relatively successful in building local infrastructure, insufficient integration with public sector systems (both national and local) had raised well founded concerns about institutional and investment sustainability. This Note gives a quick overview of how reforms are unfolding in five SFs in Latin America, and highlights some features of the emerging models. It shows that many SFs are working closely with local governments. For these SFs the challenge is no longer whether they undermine local governments or not but rather how they can become an effective instrument of the country's decentralization policy-i.e., how their interactions with local governments, communities, and sectoral agencies advance the decentralization policy objectives and a more balanced approach to local development.
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    Nicaragua Social Investment Fund : Conditional Cash Transfer, a New Avenue for Social Funds?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-02) Vermehren, Andrea
    The note presents the case of the Nicaragua Social Investment Fund (FISE), which accounts for an impressive record, having financed a significant number of projects in ten years (sixty percent of these benefiting the education sector). Moreover, it reinforced rural water, and municipal infrastructure projects, and strengthened its engagement in local capacity building at the municipal, and community levels. However, in the late 90s, it became clear there were limits to the effectiveness of supply side interventions, and both FISE, and the government began thinking about strengthening the demand side, through new ways to improve access to social services, and creating an opportunity for inclusion of the most vulnerable, particularly children living precariously in rural areas. The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program is examined, a new window to finance cash transfers to extremely poor families in selected rural areas. Yet, the remarkable results of CCT questions its affordability, and sustainability. The Government is now starting to prioritize programs, and investments in the social sector to achieve greater impact. As for the question of the program's cost effectiveness, the Government is considering undertaking a comparative analysis to assess results.