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Department for International Development (DFID)

Using social transfers to improve human development

Social Protection Briefing Note series, Number 3

Department for International Development (DFID)

February 2006

SARPN acknowledges DFID as the source of this document.
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The world’s poorest and socially excluded people are not benefiting from the pursuit of the health and education Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Without adequate health and education, children are facing long-term and irreparable damage. Enabling chronically poor families to invest in children’s health and education will help prevent transmission of poverty from one generation to the next. Scaling up investment in service provision and quality is of course necessary, but is not sufficient to achieve universal access to health and education services. Specific policies to boost demand and expand equitable access to quality health and education services are also required. As are cross-sectoral policies that address underlying causes of inequalities in health and education outcomes.

Social transfers provide a promising solution to both of these policy challenges. They are attracting growing interest from national governments and multilateral and bilateral donors for their role in improving human development, as well as in reducing hunger and tackling extreme poverty and vulnerability. They are also increasingly recognised as an important element of an overall care package for children affected by AIDS. Increasing and more predictable aid flows provide an unprecedented opportunity to support low-income countries to invest in social transfers alongside health, AIDS and education, in the pursuit of the MDGs for all.

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