Connect International has worked many years in developing countries with community-based projects in which community members assessed their own circumstances and determined and worked on their own priorities, both household level and community level. Because many communities prioritize water and sanitation highly we developed low-cost water and sanitation technologies that are produced and implemented by local companies that were trained for the purpose by our local partner organizations. However, we found that poor people cannot even pay for the low-cost solutions while micro credits are very expensive to them (20% interest rate or higher!). On top of that we increasingly have become aware that in general project-driven development aid has limitations, is often costly, does not always fulfil people’s highest priorities and insufficiently achieves its goals. It is time for a new approach!
That new approach is called cash4development, or even better cash4all4life. This is about cash transfers (money given to poor people each month, about 25% of the money people need to survive just above the poverty level).
The effects of cash transfers are well known: people become very active; they climb out of poverty, invest in agriculture and all kinds of economic activities, women become empowered and feel more self-confident, people’s resilience against shocks (disasters) increases, child health improves and birth rates drop significantly. However, most cash transfer programs are in humanitarian aid or they are for a limited period and cover only specific (often small) groups of people. Also, recent evaluations of cash transfer programs have found, as we had expected already, that many of the effects of cash transfers disappear (including reduced birth rates) when the cash transfers are stopped. The conclusion is either ‘ it is no use to provide cash transfers because if stopped the effects are back to zero’ or ‘ cash transfers are a fantastic way to assist people to climb out of poverty but only if provided for life’. We are strongly in favour of the second conclusion: cash4all4life is a great solution to get rid of poverty worldwide, even within 5 years. IF WE WANT IT!
What we want to accomplish
We realized that in The Netherlands there is hardly any attention for cash transfers, let alone cash transfers for life. Our e-mails about it to
members of parliament, and of the EU, were to no avail at all. Therefore we have now decided to form a coalition of parties interested in the subject and that like us want to transform development aid into an approach that is way more effective and will finally give poor people the little support they need to really climb out of poverty. ALL OF THEM! This will go together with a limited number of programmes for maternal and child health, (female) education, access to contraceptives and support to local companies that wish to fill the gaps in the increasing local markets. With the coalition we hope to be able to instigate further research regarding expected effects of such longer term cash transfers, investigate and determine how companies can service the erupting local markets, and lobby towards governments (starting the Netherlands) regarding cash4development or even cash4all4life (12 Euro/adult/month which is roughly 100 billion Euro per year, more or less equalling the development aid budgets of all European countries together.