This is the third policy brief from Young Lives about Juntos, the conditional cash transfer programme in Peru which aims, in the short term, to reduce poverty by making a payment of 100 nuevos soles per month to each participating household if they comply with certain conditions intended to improve children's health and education. The brief describes the conditionalities employed by Juntos and finds there are also some unintended impacts for beneficiary families.
First the authors review the existing literature on Juntos and what Young Lives has already found from its research with participating families. Although a reduction of children's time spent on paid work is noted, more hours were found to be devoted to chores. This may be due to children's mothers being more engaged in complementary businesses, partially funded by cash transfers.
The authors identify three types of conditionalities: the official conditions which must be met by all beneficiaries; conditions which are considered to be complementary but not mandatory; and other conditions that have not been established in any official documents, but which Juntos representatives require of the beneficiary families. Among other problems, this has led to a situation where many mothers believe that the third group of conditions is mandatory, while actual conditions may be perceived as non-compulsory.
The authors also analyse the expected and unexpected impacts of Juntos based on discussions with beneficiaries and their children. This shows that the programme has had positive consequences for mothers and children, but has also had some negative consequences for both. Finally, they outline some policy recommendations to help ensure that beneficiaries can make the most of the programme. If the identified weaknesses can be overcome, families enrolled in the programme would be more likely to achieve greater prosperity in the long term.