Qualitative methods for assessing conditional cash-transfer programmes: the case of Panama

Governments in Latin America and elsewhere have implemented conditional cash-transfer programmes to improve standards of living in populations defined as vulnerable and excluded from the benefits of development, in order to improve access to education and health services, and to improve human capital. Qualitative research conducted among three indigenous groups in Panama provides lessons for assessing these programmes on the basis of the perceptions and culturally informed beliefs and practices of potential beneficiaries. This article shows that required co-responsibilities should be matched with high-quality services that are consistently available and socially, culturally, and linguistically appropriate.