MANILA, MARCH 1, 2013 – Pantawid Pamilya, the country’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, is on track to achieve its objectives of promoting investments in the health and education of children while providing immediate financial support to poor families.
These are the main findings of the recently completed assessment of the CCT – the first in a series of evaluations being done on the program – presented today by the World Bank in a public forum held in Quezon City led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with support from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Titled “Philippines Conditional Cash Transfer Program, Impact Evaluation 2012,” the report confirms that children of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries are enrolling and attending schools, with improved health due to regular visits to health stations, and pregnant mothers getting proper care.
“I am pleased to know that the children of poor families are indeed enjoying better and improving access to education and better health services through Pantawid Pamilya,” said DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman. “Along with other government programs aimed to reduce poverty, Pantawid Pamilya ensures that no one gets left behind in terms achieving holistic and inclusive growth.”
Among the Pantawid barangays (villages) surveyed, the report lists the following findings comparing enrolment and school attendance between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries:
• In Pantawid barangays, 76 percent of preschoolers are enrolled in daycare, compared to 65 percent in non-Pantawid barangays;
• Among school children at age 6-11, 98 percent of children in Pantawid barangays are enrolled in school, as against 93 percent in non-Pantawid barangays; and
• Children in Pantawid barangays from age 6-14 also have higher school attendance (95-96 percent) compared to children in non-Pantawid barangays (91 percent).
The assessment is based on the analysis of 1,418 poor households eligible for the program from a survey covering 3,742 households in the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Mountain Province, Negros Occidental, and Occidental Mindoro. (Currently, there are more than 3 million poor families with more than 6 million children benefitting from the program).
Pantawid Pamilya provides cash grants to poor households to encourage them to keep their children age 0-14 in school and have regular health checks. Also, pregnant mothers are required to avail of proper medical care and their deliveries attended to by health professionals. Mothers are also required to attend family development sessions where they discuss topics on parenting and accessing social services in the community.
In health, the study found that:
• 64 percent of pregnant mothers in Pantawid barangays had antenatal care as against 54 percent in non-Pantawid barangays;
• 85 percent of children in Pantawid barangays age 6-14 have undergone deworming as against 80 percent in non-Pantawid barangays;
• 81 percent of children in Pantawid barangays at age 0-5 have taken Vitamin A supplements as against 75 percent in non-Pantawid barangays.
According to Ms. Junko Onishi, World Bank’s social protection specialist, Pantawid Pamilya has contributed to reduction in the severe stunting among poor children 6-36 months of age in Pantawid barangays.
Stunting in the first two years of life is known to cause irreversible damage later in life including lower educational attainment, reduced adult income, and decreased offspring birth weight. Therefore, reduction in severe stunting among poor children at this age will have long-term benefits, Ms. Onishi said.
“This reduction in severe stunting indicates that CCT is enabling families to better care for their children,” said Ms. Onishi, who presented the highlights of the impact evaluation during the forum. “More parents in Pantawid barangays (villages) are feeding their children with high-protein food including eggs and fish, leading to improved nutritional status.”
“Poor households under the program spend 38 percent more in education per capita and 34 percent more on medical expenses per capita than their non-Pantawid counterparts. This trend indicates a shift in the spending pattern among CCT beneficiaries towards greater investments in health and education of their children,” said Mr. Nazmul Chaudhury, World Bank’s country sector coordinator for human development, and one of the authors of the report.
The study recommends that coordination among health service providers needs to be strengthened to ensure that beneficiary mothers and children get the services they require and to ensure continuity of care. Also, the study suggests exploring the possibility of extending coverage from the current five years, increasing the grant amount for older children, and improving school facilities and services.
The impact evaluation study was funded by the World Bank and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). The study was led by the World Bank and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in coordination with AusAID and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The study aims to present empirical evidence on the key outcomes of Pantawid Pamilya.