Source: © Pietro Cenini/Panos

Annual Report 2010

Large-scale Interventions to Enhance Human Capital

To enhance the welfare of poor households, improved human capital and social protection interventions are a necessity. In 2010, IFPRI researchers completed evaluations of large-scale conditional cash transfer programs in Brazil (Bolsa Família) and El Salvador (Comunidades Solidarias Rurales). IFPRI’s assessment found that Bolsa Família increased school attendance, young children’s on-time vaccination rates, and pregnant women’s prenatal care visits; it also delayed children’s entry into the labor market. Comunidades Solidarias Rurales increased school enrollment, children’s height-for-age, and the proportion of births attended by doctors and nurses; it also reduced diarrhea prevalence. The 2010 book Conditional Cash Transfers in Latin America, edited by IFPRI researchers, features other case studies from Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. The book examines the impacts of these programs and how the programs affect social relations shaped by gender, culture, and community. Also in 2010, in collaboration with the World Food Programme, IFPRI launched a study comparing food transfers’ impacts on food security, dietary diversity, and household welfare with the impact of alternative modalities (such as cash or vouchers) in Ecuador, Niger, Timor-Leste, Uganda, and Yemen.

The recent research monograph Human Capital Formation: History, Expectations, and Challenges in South Africa evaluates the ongoing racial disparities in accessibility and quality of education within South Africa. While the significant constraint posed by a lack of financial resources at both the local and household levels will likely be reduced as the government continues to subsidize schools, the study concludes that educational disparities cannot be overcome by subsidies alone. Adequate nutrition and methods of addressing the shock caused by a caretaker’s death or illness due to HIV/AIDS are also necessary.

Gender and Assets

IFPRI launched several new studies related to gender and assets in 2010, including (1) an evaluation of the impact of eight agricultural development programs on gender inequalities, asset disparities, and rural livelihoods; (2) a project in northern Uganda on the gender dimensions of land rights among resettling internally displaced persons; and (3) a study to examine the impact of conditional cash transfers on indigenous communities—with a focus on women—in Latin America. Research in Bangladesh and Ethiopia used valuable panel data from before and after the 2008 food price increases to examine their impact on men’s and women’s assets. In addition to these research projects, the Gender and Assets team hosted a TEDx event on paying attention to gender in development and contributed analysis on gender to the FAO State of Food and Agriculture report.

Other focal areas under the Poverty, Nutrition, and Social Protection theme include: