Who Benefits from the Food-for-School Program: Lessons in Targeting

Rosario G. Manasan, Janet S. Cuenca
Public Access Documents

The Food-for-School Program (FSP) belongs to a class of social safety nets called conditional cash or in-kind transfers. There is growing interest on these instruments worldwide because of evidence that they have not only been useful in providing assistance to poor families but more so because they have been found to be effective in securing investments in human capital amongst the poor. In November 2005, the Philippine government launched its hunger mitigation initiative with FSP as one of its component. The FSP is meant to address hunger among families and at the same time, improve school attendance of the children of these households. The budget allocation for FSP has been increasing in recent years. One interesting question to ask now is: Who benefits from it? The answer has a large bearing on both the effectiveness of the program as well as its efficiency. Given this perspective, the paper assesses the 1) distribution of the benefits from the FSP, and 2) other issues arising when FSP is viewed as a type of conditional transfer. In the process, it also draws some lessons in targeting.