ELLA Guide: CCT programmes: An overview to the Latin American experience

ELLA is the Evidence and Lessons from Latin America programme


Born in Latin America, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programmes target poor families, offering cash subsidies in exchange for a commitment by households to invest in the human capital of their children. Backed up by country examples, this guide provides an overview to CCT programmes in Latin America, including their history, objectives and use, evidence of their impact, and finally, the main lessons coming out of Latin America that can be useful for policymakers considering implementing CCTs in their own countries.

Key Lessons:

  • Although cash transfers help families confront short-term poverty, it is the establishment of conditionalities that motivate human capital investments - CCTs’ principal innovation - that can help beneficiary households escape long-term poverty.
  • Latin American experience suggests that it is possible and indeed necessary to adapt the programmes to a country's particular context in order to be successful.
  • Including rigorous impact evaluations as part of CCT implementation is an effective way to assess programme effectiveness, make improvements and promote CCTs worldwide.


Jaramillo, M. ELLA Guide: CCT programmes: An overview to the Latin American experience. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2011) 7 pp.

Published 1 January 2011