In Brazil there are several social programmes to support people in poverty. If you want to build a house, there is a government owned bank that can help. You borrow 10,000 to 12,000 reals (approximately £3,300 to £4,000) to build a simple but comfortable home. The mortgage takes about 15 years to pay off. In one village I visited, all the modern homes had a badge on them with the bank’s logo.
There is also a great new benefit called “Bolsa Familia.” This loosely translates as “family bag,” and its aim is to help families keep children in school. For every child under the age of 15 who attends school, a family gets 15 reals (£5) a month. This may not sound like much, but it can make a real difference to a family in need. By getting more children to go to school, it also is also an investment in Brazil’s future.Bolsa Familia is a type of social protection, a fancy way of saying helping vulnerable people help themselves. ActionAid strongly advocates the use of social protection as a way to combat hunger. In India, for example, we have campaigned to get 100 days of guaranteed paid work for the rural poor. This is part of our work on HungerFREE, an ambitious campaign to halve hunger by 2015.