Even though it is widely recognised that children are the age group most affected by poverty, children’s own experiences of living in social and economic hardship are still not well incorporated into most poverty reduction strategies and programmes. The purpose of this study is to find out how children and families in 3 rural communities in the southern Peruvian Andes experience well-being and poverty, in order to understand what may help them to lead the kinds of lives they value instead of following others’ pre-established ideas of what is best for them. The study draws on research carried out with 49 children aged between 6 and 14, with primary data being collected using a variety of qualitative techniques including social mapping, free drawing and child-led photography, as well as interviews with children, parents, teachers, healthcare professionals and promoters of Juntos, a social protection programme aimed at reducing poverty among very poor families with children under the age of 14.
Findings show that Juntos, like other conditional cash transfer programmes in Latin America, is ensuring that children under the age of 14 attend school regularly as well as have frequent health check-ups. Juntos is also enabling some families to invest in productive activities such as animal husbandry or small-scale agriculture. However, one of the major findings of this study is in relation to the effects of Juntos on people’s social relations. These include relationships within families and communities, as well as people’s relationships with local service providers, and their perceptions of the Government in general. These effects on relationships have important implications for children, as it is through these social worlds that children feel and experience well-being. This collective experience of well-being is relevant to programmes like Juntos because, if not considered properly, it may disrupt social relations and trust between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries of conditional cash transfer programmes.
Streuli, N. Young Lives Working Paper 78. Children’s Experiences ofJuntos, a Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme in Peru. Young Lives, Department of International Development at the University of Oxford, Oxford, UK (2012) 56 pp. ISBN 978-1-904427-89-6