IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: FOUNDATION FOR GROWTH ORGANIZATIONAL UPLIFTMENT OF PEOPLE (GROUP)
GRANT AMOUNT: $20,500
THEMES: Conditional Cash Transfer
The Philippines Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program, known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, is one of the biggest social protection programs in the country, implemented under the Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD). Its primary goal is to promote human capital development among poor families, especially children and also breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty. However, prior to the project, only two instances of social accountability efforts concerning the program could be documented. However, several problems concerning the 4Ps program were observed by CSOs monitoring the program, including:
- Collusion to cover up compliance violations such as the submission of minutes and attendance sheets during Family Development Sessions (FDS)
- General public perception that beneficiaries were not properly selected and validated by government agencies
- Beneficiary non-compliance of conditions set under the CCT Program on health, education, and participation in FDS and uneven cash benefits for complying
- Lack of external support and provision of development programs for 4Ps beneficiaries
- Lack of transparency and accountability in the supervision and monitoring of the program on-the-ground
- Insecurities around the livelihoods of graduate beneficiaries
These issues confronting the 4Ps program, as one of the flagship programs of the government on poverty alleviation, was a major concern of all stakeholders, including national/local governments, private sector implementors and beneficiaries.
The sub-project had a three-pronged strategy to identify and resolve problems with the program through beneficiary participation:
- Seek out external problems confronting the beneficiaries’ compliance with CCT conditions
- Conduct beneficiary assessments of health and education services
- Encourage parent participation in community meetings
Activities employed included the signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the different partner agencies, passing of a resolution, focus group discussions with the different stakeholders, capacity-building sessions with the monitoring and research volunteers and public presentations.
The sub-project produced a report detailing beneficiary concerns with the program and, where possible, findings to back up their claims.
Surveys found, despite significant knowledge of conditionalities, near 50% of program beneficiaries did not participate in the required health and education activities. The study points to possible causes such as: poor beneficiary selection process, lack of coordination between implementing agencies; communications gap between implementers and beneficiaries; and a weak monitoring and evaluation scheme of the program’s conditionalities.
Survey data also confirmed DSWD findings that only a handful of beneficiaries have reached the level self-sufficiency intended by the program. Instead, the majority of beneficiaries are still under the lowest poverty bracket despite their participation in the program over the past 5 years. This finding prompted recommendations to look further into programs to further support graduates of the program.
Beneficiaries were found to be most concerned with a perceived unfairness in the beneficiary selection process. In reality, the study found that only 1.9% percent of beneficiaries maybe wrongly selected. However, this small ripple may eventually create a huge constraint especially from public support for the success of the program, and the issue has been flagged for further research.
In a nutshell, the project displayed a successful example iof constructive engagement between citizens and government agencies to improve the outcomes of pro poor programs.