This week’s webinar hosted by socialprotection.org aimed to discuss Chile’s Inter-Sectoral Social Protection System and its Familia Program. Mauricio Ríos and Claudio Prim of Fondo de Solidaridade e Inversión Social (FOSIS) were joined by Simone Cecchini (United Nations Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Chile) and Claudia Cháves Mendoza (GIZ, Peru) for a highly engaging discussion of Chile’s Social Protection System.
The webinar was organised by the Social Protection for Employment Community (SPEC) The recording of this webinar can be found here, and the presentation here. All of the webinars in this series can be found under the Linking Social Protection to Sustainable Employment Series tag.
Cecilia opened the webinar with an introduction to the speakers, FOSIS, and the newly launched publication “Linking Social Protection with Productive Inclusion” prepared by GIZ and authored by February Amelia Curry. This publication builds on the experience of representatives from Chile, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru and the Philippines. Following her introduction, Cecilia handed the floor to Mauricio and Claudio for the feature presentation.
Claudio began with an overview of FOSIS, its role and the development of family accompaniment. The emphasis on family accompaniment, Claudio explained, developed from the analysis of poverty and social protection needs in Chile in the late 1990s. This analysis showed the importance of focusing on families rather than individuals, and led to the Puente Program, which later became the Familia Program. The Familia program today lies in the Inter-sectoral Social Protection System, which is enshrined in law, under the subsystem of Securities and Opportunities. Claudio outlined the overall structure of these systems, before handing the presentation on to Mauricio, who went into further detail of the Familia Program.
The Familia program, Mauricio explained, is administered by three bodies: the Ministry of Social Development, FOSIS and the Municipality. These bodies cooperate to carry out the three accompaniment trajectories of the program; path accompaniment (assessment, monitoring and evaluation of the participation), psychosocial accompaniment (promotion of skills and competencies) and socio-labour accompaniment (improving income generation of the family). The program’s aim is to provide psychosocial support and empowerment for poor families, in order to promote their development of resources and capacity, over the course of 24 months. During these 24 months, the socio-labour accompaniment seeks to encourage the development of income generation. Within this accompaniment, three programs boosting employment and entrepreneurship are run: Yo Trabajo Jovenes (Youth Employability); Apoyo a tu Plan Laboral (Work Plan Support); and Yo Emprenado Semilia (basic entrepreneurial support). Their objective is to contribute to families’ ability to overcome poverty.
There are, however, numerous challenges involved with the Familia Program. In 2017 the Ministry of Social Development sought to modify and strengthen the Securities and Opportunities subsystem, in order to further reduce inequality, to reflect greater democratization. Strengthening the subsystem, and contributing to social inclusion, the new improvements include: reducing rights gaps, facilitating labour insertion and strengthening individual, family and community capacities. The development also introduces a wide-based well-being matrix, to enable families to measure their quality of life, and thus be aware of the gaps needed to be focused on. The reformulation of program will serve to increase the social inclusion and cohesion of those involved, as it embraces more directly the community level and the group level.
Following Mauricio and Claudio’s presentation, Simone added several important points to the discussion. Firstly, he explained that the Inter-sectoral Social Protection System as a whole can best be interpreted as Social Assistance. The programs within it are not singular, but combine to form a system, to be comprehensive, and to approach needs of the poor with rights based and life cycles approaches. Simone praised the Familia program as an excellent example of comprehensive Social Assistance. However, he critiqued the program for focusing only on the extreme poor, and suggested that there should be a broader vision of poverty and social assistance. As these programs are enshrined in law, they will continue to be developed and enhanced.
Cecilia led a question and answer round, during which experts from FOSIS shared their knowledge. The questions addressed topics including the selection criteria, the development of the program, and reintegration of families after the 24 months. The FOSIS team emphasized that the poorest families are prioritized, even those who have previously entered the program. Communication and the autonomy of the family lead the process, as they are the main focus. Cecilia concluded the session thanking the speakers and audience, and directing those looking for more information to socialprotection.org.
Watch the video here!
This blog post is part of the Linking Social Protection with humanitarian cash webinar series, which brings together the summaries of webinars organised by IFRC, UNICEF and DFID on the topic. Please join the Online Community Social Protection in MENA if you are interested in following the most recent discussions on the topic. If you have any thoughts on this webinar summary, we would love to hear from you. Please add your comments below!