Conditional cash transfer policies

Brazil offers Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) to students, and as of January 2011 has one of the largest CCT programs of any country. The transfers are currently paid to 26% of the population.

Bolsa Escola
Bolsa Escola is a cash transfer program that provided cash payments to poor families with children ages 6 to 15 in exchange for their enrollment in school and their attendance of at least 85% of school days. The program was first implemented in 1995 by the municipalities of Brasília (the Federal District) and Campinas (in São Paulo State). Within three years, over 50 municipalities in seven states implemented similar programs. After these successful local CCT experiences in the mid-1990s, CCTs gained momentum in Congress, prompting President Fernando Henrique Cardoso's government to create the Federal Bolsa Escola program in April 2001.

By the end of 2001, it had been implemented in 98% of the 5,561 Brazilian municipalities, providing stipends to over 8.2 million children from 4.8 million families, at a cost of over US$700 million. In October 2003, President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva unified Bolsa Escola and three other federal cash transfer programs into a single program called Bolsa Família.

Bolsa Família
Bolsa Família (Family Allowance) is a social welfare program which provides financial aid to poor Brazilian families. Families must ensure that their children attend school and are vaccinated. The program's dual aims are to reduce short-term poverty by direct cash aid, and fight long-term poverty by increasing educational and experiential skills among the poor through conditional cash grants.

The Economist described Bolsa Família as an "anti-poverty scheme invented in South America" (which) "is winning converts worldwide." Bolsa Familia is currently the largest conditional cash transfer program in the world, though the Mexican program Oportunidades was the first nationwide program of this kind. The Bolsa Familia program has been mentioned as one factor contributing to the reduction of poverty in Brazil, which fell 27.7% during the first term in the Lula administration. About 12 million Brazilian families receive funds from Bolsa Família, which has been described as "the largest programme of its kind in the world."