The adoption of Cash Transfer programmes in much of the Latin American region is credited with helping to bring poverty reduction about. These programmes are widely promoted as a cost effective and efficient means by which to target vulnerable groups. The model pioneered in Latin America is designed to assist poor households with the cost of schooling, and an innovative feature is that the transfer is given directly to the mothers. It is claimed that this maximises efficiency and achieves positive results because women’s spending in low income households, in contrast to men’s, is largely directed at satisfying children’s and household’s needs. It is also claimed that women benefit from their control over this resource and that their participation in the programme is empowering women. This article provides a summary of some key findings of recent research in Latin America, supported by CARE International UK.

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