Government Boosts River Valley and Toledo Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 03 November 2011 00:00

River Valley residentsOn Wednesday, November 2nd, hundreds of Belizeans from the River Valley travelled to Sandhill Village to register for government’s conditional cash transfer program. The same could be said for residents of the Toledo District whose registration event was held simultaneously with the event in Sandhill. It has been dubbed “Operation Boost” and may be the most progressive of all poverty alleviation programs introduced by this government.

The program was introduced in Prime Minister Barrow’s budget in 2010. It is based on a contract between the Government of Belize and disadvantaged families. The government gives cash to parents and in exchange they must ensure that their children are immunized, attend school regularly and access health and family education. Upon introduction, $4 million was earmarked for the program. It took a while to get off the ground because it required complex logistic work. However, as of September 21, 2011 there were 4,300 families receiving assistance monthly under the program. That number has increased as the Ministry of Human Development continues to hold registration events in both urban and rural parts of the country.

Applicants will be evaluated by the Ministry. The Ministry will contact the individuals in three weeks to inform them if they had met the criteria for enrollment in the program. The initial $4 million to start the program may itself be boosted by assistance from the World Bank who had indicated interest in helping with the program.