The deal is simple: vaccinate your children, send them to school; and, if you are pregnant, visit your public health center, regularly starting with the first 12 weeks. In exchange, the BOOST Program will give you a monthly allowance between BZ$44 and BZ$82 (US$22 - US$41) per person, up to a maximum of six per household.
The BOOST program, which stands for Building Opportunities for Our Social Transformation, provides small cash assistance to poor households subject to specific conditions.
A little over a year in operation, it already reaches 3,177 households (12.5% of all Belize poor households) and over 8,600 people, which represents about 6% of the poor population.
Despite the recent launch of the BOOST Program (February 2011), some of its current features already match or surpass best practices in the world. Recorded school attendance for children included in the program is at 97.3% (3238 of 3328 students, May 2012).
Thanks to this program, Rosario Chub from Punta Gorda, Toledo, is able to provide for the basic needs of her children and keep them in school. “The Program is good. It is helping people. I am doing a lot with this little money. Now the children have shoes, food and uniforms.”
The program has also been positively received among school principals. Rossana Briceño, principal of St Peter’s Anglican School in Orange Walk, said that “at the end of the day, the kids are doing better. Absenteeism decreased, and I see these children now and they want to come to school.”