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Year: 2012 Type: Case Study Language: English

Conditional cash transfers (CCTs) have become a popular method of offering state support to ultra-poor families. They are designed to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, with the idea that families are active participants in a scheme that has developmental objectives, rather than a ‘band aid’ mentality. The CCTs programme in Ain el-Sira, Cairo, one of the first of its kind to be launched in the Arab world, was shaped by a Pathways conference which brought together experts from Brazil, Mexico and Ecuador. The conference looked at the proposed CCTs design, discussed best practices and potential obstacles to effectiveness and, in particular, how existing programmes both empowered or disempowered women. The Egyptian CCTs programme works with low-income families, especially mothers and female heads of household, with school-aged children. The families are given monetary transfers from the Egyptian government on certain conditions (minimum school attendance, regular visits to health clinics, nutrition). The programme has an explicitly feminist design that tries to take into account gender critiques of other CCT schemes. For example, while the female heads of household receive the cash transfer and are responsible for the fulfilment of programme’s conditions, emphasis is placed on other interventions to alleviate burdens placed on them, such as that they are compensated for any time spent fulfilling programme conditions. They are compensated for any time spent fulfilling programme conditions and female children receive more money for staying enrolled in school than male children. Also, the programme promotes a sense of citizenship within female beneficiaries that is central the scheme.