Saturday, August 30, 2008

Project Zero Hunger

Has anyone read anything about this program?

It is an economic program in Nicaragua with the goal of reducing poverty in its rural areas over a five-year period that was implemented by its current President, Daniel Ortega. It ultimately aims to end poverty and eradicate hunger.

In action, it plans to deliver a pregnant cow, a pregnant cow, five chickens and a rooster, seeds, and fruit-bearing plants to 75,000 rural families between 2007 and 2012. In theory, the program hopes that by doing this these rural families will be able to produce enough food to cover their basic needs and to eventually be able to establish local markets and to (further down the road) export certain products.

The families in turn, are expected to pay the government back (20% of the value of the items they receive) in order to create a fund that will guarantee the continuity of the program.

Personally, I think this is the type of social welfare program that could work if it is done right. The United States might be able to learn a thing or two from these kind of ideas. It isn't necessarily an outright handout. The recipients of this are expected to give something back. What a great idea! And with what they give back, the government in turn, gives back to another deserving family.

Another interesting fact about this program, or rather its founder (for lack of a better term). Daniel Ortega is the leader of the FSLN, the political party better known by Americans as the Sandinistas, which is you remember your history correctly is the party that the United States has long been opposed to. Remember the Contras? The group that received more than $50 millions from the United States? Yeah, they were the group that opposed the Sandinistas. Just found it interesting that our government opposes a government that wants to make life better for the poor and not just spend its political power catering to wealthy foreign investors.

1 comment:

  1. A huge problem with this program and the way it has been realized so far is the lack of education regarding the final aims of Cero Hambre. The Nicaraguan economy is so bad, with inflation almost at the levels of Venezuela, that prices of the basic food basket have increased so much, staples like beans are extraordinarily expensive for the poor, which is the majority of Nicaragua's population. In giving a pregnant animal, along with the other items mentioned, it seems like it would be a very good program. To be sure, it has the potential, except for the fact that --from what my friends in Nicaragua tell me-- the government hasn't explained what to do. While it may seem simple, if one can't feed his children, he will probably not be willing to wait for the cow to birth the calf. And this is exactly what has been happening.

    The other issue with this program is that the government has not been providing receipts for this program, thus greatly diminishing the transparency.

    Let's just say I am not exactly convinced by the intentions of Ortega's government and the way they are carrying out this program.