Emergency Social Funds: the experience of Bolivia and Peru

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) believe that the increase in poverty as a result of Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) is a short-term consequence and that the benefits of SAPs filter down, in the longer term, to the least privileged members of society. Emergency Social Funds (ESFs) are designed to protect vulnerable people from the worst of this impact. ESFs try to ensure income through infrastructural and income-generating schemes, as well as feeding and nutrition programmes. The author criticises the use of ESFs as temporary safety nets, and discusses the role of NGOs in the ESF system.