• ADB lends $400M to expand 4Ps

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    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will lend the Philippines another $400 million for the expansion of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

    The conditional cash transfer (CCT) program provides grants to poor families if they send their children to school, visit health centers and attend family development sessions.

    “The support, which builds on ADB’s initial loan to the project of the same amount, will help the government support more families, now also including high school students,” said Karin Schelzig, senior social sector specialist in the ADB’s Southeast Asia Department.

    The Manila-based ADB approved an initial $400-million loan in 2010 to strengthen the 4Ps’ poverty targeting system, finance a share of the cash grants to 637,000 households in selected areas, build capacity among program staff, and support monitoring and impact evaluation.

    The lender said the fresh assistance would finance a share of grants to all participating households.

    The ADB said it was also providing a technical assistance grant of $1 million for demand-driven policy and advisory services.

    The technical assistance will help the Department of Social Welfare and Development strengthen program management, assess proposed program or policy adjustments and undertake operational spot checks on program implementation.

    The ADB said the additional financing would be provided over four years to December 2019.

    The government has also sharply scaled up its support for the program, with a budget of P62.7 billion, or about $1.3 billion, for 2016, the lender noted.

    “This is important, as impact evaluation shows that the CCTs are keeping vulnerable young people at school, opening the door to a better future,” it said

    The ADB noted that since the 4Ps’ inception, the number of CCT partner beneficiaries had increased from 340,000 to more than 4.4 million at the end of 2015—making it the fourth-largest CCT after similar programs in India, Brazil and Mexico.

    “The program has expanded rapidly since it began in 2008 and has evolved over time based on lessons and experience,” it pointed out.

    Examples of evidence-based program adjustments include first increasing the grant amount for older children and expanding the eligibility cut-off from 14 years of age to 18 to raise high school graduation rates.

    More than 93 percent of the participating households regularly meet the conditions for receiving the grants, well in excess of the 80 percent target, the ADB said.

    Targets for women’s participation, school enrollment rates, and other key indicators have also been exceeded, and rigorous impact studies have found no evidence that receiving the grants discourages adults from seeking paid work.

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