The here and now... and what and why

Complacency is a trap. At least that’s what I was thinking when I up and left the comfort of a Yankee prep school gig, where I taught music, amongst other things, for 28 years. There was also that life long career as a composer, musician and artist.

First, it was a year in St. Thomas, USVI, working as a reporter and shooting photography and then, a year in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Time passed.
More time passed and a year back in the Athens of America followed by a hasty return to Oaxaca where it is all happening.
A couple of years in San Sebastian Etla and now, just down the road in San Pablo Etla. Life is good.

Click on an image to see it larger.
For additional photography please visit my flickr page.
You can find my music on Jango (World & latin - Worldbeat) and at iTunes and most online stores.
¡Soy consciente de todas las tradiciones del Internet!
If you are coming to Oaxaca, please contact me for tours or advice.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo
The view from Corazon del Pueblo

The hereafter re me

My photo
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Musician, photographer, videographer, reporter, ex-officio teacher, now attempting to be a world traveler

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oportunidades - Opportunities

Seemed like old times today as I headed out in search of one thing and found everything but.  I thought I would find Virgen of Juquila celebrations, but every church I visited was empty.  However, whenever one is driving around there is always plenty to take in and learn.  And so it was when I got to nearby Tres Reyes expecting to find lots of people carrying flowers, where I instead found the zocalo filled with a long line of women. 
There were hundreds and many men and families waiting on the outskirts. 
 I asked someone what was happening and they said. "Oportunidades."  I said gracias and left, but when I got back to the house I looked it up and Oportunidades is a program run by the Mexican government and it seems to be working. 

Here's some of what Wikipedia has to say:
Oportunidades is a government social assistance program in Mexico founded in 2002, based on a previous program called Progresa, created in 1997.[1] It is designed to target poverty by providing cash payments to families in exchange for regular school attendance, health clinic visits, and nutritional support.[2] Oportunidades is credited with decreasing poverty and improving health and educational attainment in regions in which it has been deployed.[3] As of 2006, around one-quarter of Mexico's population participates in Oportunidades.

Key features of Oportunidades include:
  • Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) - To encourage co-responsibility, receipt of aid is dependent on family compliance with program requirements, such as ensuring children attend school and family members receive preventative health care[4]
  • "Rights holders" - Program recipients are mothers, the caregiver directly responsible for children and family health decisions[5]
  • Cash payments are made from the government directly to families to decrease overhead and corruption[1]
  • A system of evaluation and statistical controls to ensure effectiveness[2]
  • Rigorous selection of recipients based on geographical and socioeconomic factors
  • Program requirements target measures considered most likely to lift families out of poverty, focusing on health, nutrition and children's education[1 
The anti-poverty program has become a flagship success. Thirty percent of the population directly receive conditional cash transfers from the program. Effects have been both positive and numerous. Increased contraceptive use in rural areas of Mexico has resulted in reduced teen pregnancy and fewer infant deaths. Students are progressing with school for more years and with high grades. The number of graduating high school students has increased 85%. More students are going to college.
 Seems like a very successful program and one that is definitely needed.   Oportunidades for them and an opportunity for me to learn something new.


Anonymous said...

Oportunidades is very interesting! Wonder if that could work in the US?

Also wonder if everyone celebrating Virgen de Juquila day was already up at Juquila? You can see all the peregrinos going up that way along the highway where the crucero branches off towards Zimatlan - lots of peregrinos before Dec 8.

Will you cruise around again on Monday 12/12 for Guadalupe Day? Would love to see some photos of celebrations, if any!
And again on 12/18 is it? - for Virgen de Soledad day?

Enjoy your posts very much. Did try to go to Corazon del Pueblo when in Oaxaca in Nov, but it was gone, so could not say hello to you.

Would love to be there instead of here, so really am enjoying your posts and beautiful photos very much. Thank you!

Christopher Stowens said...

Would it work in the current US? No way! Too much hatred and greed... oh my, did I just say that?

Yes, will be cruising this weekend ending with Teotitlan on Monday for the dancers. There is always so much happening here, it is hard to keep up. I know, I know, it's a tough job....