Recently in Africa, non-profit development groups are coming up with a number of programs to eradicate poverty among communities. A case in point is in Uganda where one of the programs I found interesting was a Cash Transfer Operation called the Youth Opportunities Program run by a non-profit development group called Innovations for Poverty Action. In this program, the Ugandan government offered youth groups a chance to get together, submit a proposal and receive a huge sum of money equivalent to a year’s income per person- with no follow up.
In other words, poor people are directly given money with no stings attached to start a better living rather than providing the usual goods and services like food, school materials etc. This idea is said to encourage youth to start small investments that eventually multiply, join manufacturing & service trades and have a security of life.
The results of this program were found to have profound effects; Many of those who took part in the group were likely to enroll in skills training, increased the labor supply and increased their earnings especially among women.
The logic that makes this work is- the fact that youth have potential, are hardworking, have had a basic education and they are in a stable country that is growing, for a lot of opportunities, they need money to start making money. If someone gives them money, then they are more likely to accelerate three or more times than they otherwise would have! Isn’t this interesting? Fifteen poorest women in one remote village in Uganda were given cash and they became petty traders since their village was off path and importing goods there was expensive. Soon the women were really making good profits and their income goes up. The prices of expensive imported commodities also went own by a fair amount !
I’m thinking Social Empowerment now, wow, I wonder if such a program has happened elsewhere before, In America? I’m doing more research and of course find out the negative impacts of it as well. But so far, not a bad idea if things work out right!