Bolsa Alimentação is a Federal program of the Government of Brazil designed to reduce nutritional deficiencies and infant mortality among the poorest households in Brazil. The program is a demand-side incentive with money transfers to very low income families with pregnant and lactating women, and/or infants and young children aged 6 months to 6 years. The cash transfer is conditional on women committing to a ‘Charter of Responsibilities’ which ensures regular attendance at prenatal care and growth monitoring, compliance with vaccination schedules, and health education. This ‘partnership of trust’ reinforces the bond between the local health services and marginalized families of limited resources. Once fully underway, the program will benefit 800,000 pregnant and lactating women, and 2,700,000 children, from approximately 2.5 million households from all the 5,561 municipalities in the country. US$300 million will be invested in this program each year, from Brazilian Federal Funds for the Alleviation of Poverty.
Under the Brazil Social Sector Program, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) was contracted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to support the design and evaluation of the Federal income transfer and human capital formation program Bolsa Alimentação. Under the terms of the contract, the IFPRI team was requested to: a. Analyze and comment on work undertaken so far by the national team on the conceptualization of the program; norms and regulations; operational routines; and collection of data relevant to the development of the Monitoring & Evaluation system. b. Analyze and comment on the implementation of the program, in particular the geographic targeting and coordination between Federal, state, and municipal governments. c. Analyze and evaluate the proposed system for program management, particularly regarding data entry and the reports to be prepared at municipal, federal and state levels. d. Support the design of a work plan to develop and Monitoring & Evaluation instruments for the program implementation.