Please briefly describe the initiative, what issue or challenge it aims to address and specify its objectives (300 words maximum)
The Bogotá Solidaria District System is a first approach to Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) strategy for the population categorized within the poor and vulnerable segment in the capital city of Colombia: Bogotá, the program has focused its operation on two channels, according to the characteristics of the population to be served:
• Unconditional cash transfers for “bankable” population with high risk of contagion or with access to nearby banking correspondents in case of low risk of contagion.
• In-kind Subsidies for areas of difficult access and high incidence of monetary and multidimensional poverty.
On March 24, 2020, the first mandatory confinement began, decreed by the National Government, within the framework of the arrival of COVID-19 in Colombia. Confinement forced the cessation of activities associated with commerce, services and industry, which generated negative effects in the economy, with the increase in unemployment and the fall in household income in Bogotá. These episodes forced the district mayor's office to seek solutions to serve the most vulnerable populations, placing emphasis on low-income segments and household’s dependent on informal economic activities that occupy 39% of the city's workforce.
The Bogotá Solidaria District System has proven to be an important tool for mitigating the economic and social effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Between March 2020 and January 2021, 834,157 households were served and between February and November 2021, 834,979 households have been served. Its operation is based on a production chain between the Planning, Finance and financial operators sectors through low-value bank accounts, activated remotely through a web application and calls to the beneficiaries. The foregoing is of vital importance given the notable increase in the incidence of monetary poverty in Bogotá: poverty went from 27.2% in 2019 to 40.1% in 2020 and extreme poverty increased from 4.2% to 13.2 % during the same period.
Please explain how the initiative is linked to the selected category (100 words maximum)
The strategy was adopted based on previous experiences. However, it is the first time that a cash transfer program is implemented in Bogotá. This System began its operation eight days after its creation through the unconditional cash transfer channel. So, The Bogotá Solidaria District System is a rapid and timely response created with the objective of mitigating the negative economic impact of the mandatory confinement decreed to control the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as seeking to serve as an instrument for redistribution and poverty alleviation, in a scenario of negative economic growth and imminent destruction of formal and informal employment.
a. Please specify which SDGs and target(s) the initiative supports and describe concretely how the initiative has contributed to their implementation (200 words maximum)
The initiative has contributed to alleviate the increase of poverty in Bogotá due to the negative effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic.It contributes to the first Goal “No Poverty”. The initiative seeks that households in conditions of poverty, extreme poverty or vulnerability have an income of at least the value of the poverty line. Since June 2021 it is applied a scheme which responds to the concepts of equity and redistributive justice: the people who need it most receive more and who need it least receive less. The targets of this goal are 1.5 and 1.a because the covid-19 pandemic demonstrated the vulnerability of the poor population, and this initiative has meant a significant mobilization of resources from the National and the local administration. The second Goal supported by the initiative is gender equality, the cash transfers are prioritized to the women within the household, this contributed to the access and ownership over financial services and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family. Due to the banking process, the initiative enhances the use of technology and promote the empowerment of women. For these reasons the targets 5.4, 5.a, b and c are associated to the initiative.
b. Please describe what makes the initiative sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms (100 words maximum)
The District Development Plan 2020 - 2024 "A New Social and Environmental Contract for the Bogotá of the XXI Century", in its articles 27 indicates: “the financing of Bogotá Solidaria System must be guaranteed with the resources of the general budget of the District, of the Local Development Funds, with the contributions made by the nation or other territorial entities and with the donations of individuals and national and international organizations. The resources will be destined, among other things, to redistribution and contingency for the vulnerable population.
a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant shortfall in governance, public administration or public service within the context of a given country or region. (200 words maximum)
The 2020 monetary poverty figures reveal the great impact of the closures caused by the pandemic, registering the highest historical incidence (40.1%). Between 2019 and 2020, monetary poverty increased 12.9 percentage points and extreme poverty increased by 9.1 percentage points, it is estimated that 1,110,000 people became part of the poor group. When calculating the impact of cash transfers on the poor and vulnerable population, it is estimated that these incomes showed an increase in these items by 11.8%, 3.9% and 1.8% for quintiles 1, 2 and 3 respectively.
In addition, the cash transfer channel has brought with it a process of financial inclusion for vulnerable communities. At the beginning of the system's operation, there were a total of 78,937 households with some financial product. By December 2020, 919,300 households which had not been banked, they were banked as a result of the management of the district administration are eligible to receive cash transfers. It represents an increase of 1165%.
In January 2021, there were 928,698 banked households and by November 2021 the total was 1.062.705, (Growth of 14.4%)
b. Please describe how your initiative addresses gender inequality in the country context. (100 words maximum)
In 2020 for Bogotá 42.0% of the people who belonged to a households headed by women are poor; in contrast the 39.0% of people in households headed by male are poor. At the national level, 46.7% of people in households headed by women are poor, while 40.1% in households with male leadership are poor.
The initiative integrates the phenomena of feminization of poverty through two mechanisms: First, if there are two banked people within the household, the cash transfer is given to the woman. Additionally, one of the criteria for granting cash transfer is to prioritize households headed by women.
c. Please describe who the target group(s) were, and explain how the initiative improved outcomes for these target groups. (200 words maximum)
The cash transfers of Bogotá Solidaria focus on serving the poor and vulnerable population and considers the following criteria: households headed by women, households with people over 60 years old, households with people with disabilities, households with people under 18 years old and households with a population victim of the Colombian armed conflict .
a. Please describe how the initiative was implemented including key developments and steps, monitoring and evaluation activities, and the chronology. (300 words)
Phase I (March to May 2020-Continuous): To mitigate the effects of the pandemic on poor and vulnerable families, the mayor's office advances the monetary transfer strategy for which it creates a team made up of the secretaries of Planning, Finance, Social integration, Housing, and Government; to define the planning, operability, and conceptualization of the Bogotá Solidaria program strategy. The coordinating committee meets permanently to provide different aspects of the operation and definition of objectives of the strategy.
Phase II (March to May 2020-Continuous): Identification of poor and vulnerable families, which led to the creation of the Master Database and the definition of amounts of cash transfers, Exchangeable bonds and in-kind subsidies. The processes of debugging and updating Master Database upgrade are continuous processes.
Phase III (March 2020-Continuous): I: Banking of households so that they could receive cash transfers, for which strategies were defined with financial operators.
Phase IV (March 2020-Continuous): Dispersion of monetary resources. Between March 29 and December 31, 2020, there were five payment cycles. Cycle 6 was an emergency bond delivered only once between January 12 and 14, 2021. As of November 2021, 10 payments have been delivered.
Phase V (Continuous): Strengthening and continuous adjustment of the operation in accordance with the lessons learned and the requests of the beneficiaries.
Phase VI (Continuous): Visualization of results. Results are delivered in a timely and permanent manner so that control entities, other interested entities and the public have accurate information on the execution of the program.
b. Please clearly explain the obstacles encountered and how they were overcome. (100 words)
There have been certain difficulties, challenges and conditions associated with the dynamics of information and society, such as:
• Changes in the structure of the households
• Outdated or changed contact numbers
• Document type update or changes
• Outdated or changes in the programs of the Nation and the District
• City changes
These obstacles have involved the development of different mechanisms for updating, consolidating, crossing, and consulting the Master Database. In addition, there is an app that allows the information crossings of the district organizations with the Master Database for the identification of the potential beneficiaries of other programs.
a. Please explain in what ways the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region. (100 words maximum)
Formation of the Master Database: This base has records that were not in the traditional information systems, and it allows the monitoring of subsidies and policies. Innovative database organization processes have been designed, as well as the creation of an app for consultation by interested sectors.
Development of the “Bogotá Cuidadora” platform: This platform allows updating people's contact details and facilitates banking, since people who consider meeting the conditions to access the program can request them through the platform.
Massive banking: Through web applications, text messages, telephone connection and face-to-face connection so it is possible to claim the money through a wide variety of correspondents
b. Please describe, if relevant, how the initiative drew inspiration from successful initiatives in other regions, countries and localities. (100 words maximum)
Other organizations could implement strategies like the Bogotá Solidaria System to assist the poor and vulnerable population if they manage to consolidate a database that includes accurate and truthful information from various sources on the poorest segments of the population. In the medium term - and at the operational level - Bogotá Solidaria has the challenge of building the Social Registry of Households to achieve interoperability between information systems and to be able to identify more quickly and accurately the concurrence of the economic support offered by the different levels of government. Both in the short and medium term, it is expected to continue with the banking processes to improve the economic independence of women and banking channels for the entire population.
c. If emerging and frontier technologies were used, please state how those were integrated into the initiative and/or how the initiative embraced digital government. (100 words maximum)
Mechanisms have been developed to enrich the Master Database: inclusion of variables from administrative records such as the Unique Database of Members BDUA, the National Registry of Civil Status-RNEC, The Population and Housing Census 2018, telephones reported by telecommunications operators and financial data from financial operators, in order to make the updating, crossing and consultation processes of the master database that has more than 5,600,000 records more precise and faster.
Additionally, an application has been developed that allows managing the information crossings of the district entities with the Master Base of the SDBS for the identification of the potential beneficiaries of the programs integrated into the IMG strategy. The crossover application also developed an option to load the files of the beneficiaries with effective payments from the programs that do not make the payment through the SDH but from other operators in order to incorporate the information in the Master Base.
a. Has the initiative been transferred and/or adapted to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions) to your organization’s knowledge? If yes, please explain where and how. (200 words maximum)
No, the concept of Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) on which the Bogotá Solidaria System cash transfers is based is not a new idea or concept, so it is not possible to affirm that other programs that include cash transfers have been replicated from Bogotá Solidaria
b. If not yet transferred/adapted to other contexts, please describe the potential for transferability. (200 words maximum)
Other organizations could implement strategies like the Bogotá Solidaria System to assist the poor and vulnerable population if they manage to consolidate a database that includes accurate and truthful information from various sources on the poorest segments of the population. In the medium term - and at the operational level - Bogotá Solidaria has the challenge of building the Social Registry of Households to achieve interoperability between information systems and to be able to identify more quickly and accurately the concurrence of the economic support offered by the different levels of government. Both in the short and medium term, it is expected to continue with the banking processes to improve the economic independence of women and banking channels for the entire population
a. What specific resources (i.e. financial, human or others) were used to implement the initiative? (100 words maximum)
The human resource is:
• Project Manager who is the Undersecretary of Information and Strategic Studies.
• Database design, structuring and maintenance team
• Data processing and information generation equipment.
• Team for generating responses to requests from citizens, control entities and other entities.
The resources invested for the year 2020 were $ 463,817,251 COP, in 2021 is $ 1,169,750,000 COP. On the other hand, the resources delivered to the benefited population between March 2020 and January 2021 amounted to $ 371,700,279,000 COP
b. Please explain what makes the initiative sustainable over time, in financial and institutional terms. (100 words maximum)
The System has the objective of becoming a long-range policy. In this sense, in Agreement 761 of June 11, 2020, through which the District Development Plan 2020 - 2024 was approved, "A New Social and Environmental Contract for the Bogotá of the XXI Century", it was established in its articles 24-27 that the Bogotá Solidaria System will be a public policy with a vocation of permanence, and it will be a constitutive part of the Subsidies and Contributions System.
a. Was the initiative formally evaluated either internally or externally?
b. Please describe how it was evaluated and by whom? (100 words maximum)
This evaluation is currently developed by the Undersecretary of socioeconomic planning of the Planning Secretariat. To calculate the potential effect of cash transfers on poverty in Bogotá in 2021, a microsimulation was carried out. It yields results about the behavior of the extreme and moderate monetary poverty of the city in two scenarios: one without attendance policies and the other with attendance policies segregated by both national programs and district programs. Consequently, the exercise allows to determine how much poverty would decrease with the interventions of the district, already considering the effects of the reactivation and of the nation's programs.
c. Please describe the indicators and tools used (100 words maximum)
The microsimulation is based on the most recent results, in 2020, of the Large Integrated Survey of Households and Poverty. Monetary and Inequality published by DANE (The National Administrative Department of Statistics of Colombia). From these databases, the CPI 2021, and the expected growth in employment for the city under a pessimistic, moderate, and optimistic scenario, the projection of the variables for the year 2021 was generated.
d. What were the main findings of the evaluation (e.g. adequacy of resources mobilized for the initiative, quality of implementation and challenges faced, main outcomes, sustainability of the initiative, impacts) and how this information is being used to inform the initiative’s implementation. (200 words maximum)
The result of the microsimulation showed that extreme and moderate monetary poverty is reduced due to the national and district programs of cash transfers. The potential effect on extreme monetary poverty in Bogotá would be 1.6 percentage points. Which means that, thanks to district efforts, extreme monetary poverty in the city by 2021 is expected to be 8.4%, that is, 1.6 percentage points below the result that would be obtained without district programs, and if only the effects of the nation's programs are considered this estimated figure would be 10.0%. This in absolute terms would represent that 131,769 people would cease to be extremely poor in the city thanks to the district's interventions.
However, the results with moderate poverty, which includes extreme poverty, are similar, the difference between the results of the nationwide transfers (37.1%) and the district transfers (35.5%) is also 1.6 percentage points. Therefore, the effect of the cash transfers on total poverty is also reflected in this reduction, which in absolute terms would represent 137,312 people who would no longer be poor in the city.
Please describe how the initiative is inscribed in the relevant institutional landscape (for example, how it was situated with respect to relevant government agencies, and how the institutional relationships with those have been operating). (200 words maximum)
To mitigate the effects of COVID19 on poor and vulnerable households, the mayor's office developed the basic income strategy, created a team made up of the secretaries of Planning, Finance, Social Integration, housing, and government; to define the planning, operability of the strategy. This led to the formation of the Master Database, from the beginning, work will be done with the National Planning Department (DNP) from the SISBEN database (Identification System of Potential Beneficiaries of Social Programs, which allows classifying the population according to their living conditions and income. This classification is used to target social investment and ensure that it is allocated to those who need it most), and with the Department of Social Prosperity (DPS) with the crossing of national social programs to identify the concurrence and do a joint work.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe which stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative and how this engagement took place. (200 words maximum)
For the operation of the cash transfers channel, the flow of information from the district entities, the National Government and the citizens is permanent:
• First, there is a coordinating committee that defines the prioritization criteria that our organization uses to identify the potential beneficiaries of the cash transfers. This committee is made up of the district secretaries (or their delegates) from Planning, Government, Finance, Housing, Social Integration, and a Delegate from the office of the Mayor.
• We generate lists of beneficiary households. and after being approved by the technical committee of cash transfers, these are delivered to the District Secretary of Finance for their payment (through financial operators)
• Operators send reports of payments with the status of the transfers, indicating if the payments were indeed successful or, on the contrary, they were rejected (blocking or elimination of account).
• Once the Master database has been updated, the records associated with the households that meet the targeting criteria defined by the Coordinating Committee are identified and it is verified whether they are banked.
• If it is, the payment list is prepared and if the household is not banked, an enrollment list is prepared
Please describe the key lessons learned, and how your organization plans to improve the initiative. (200 words maximum)
Based on the experience developed within the framework of the Bogotá Solidaria cash transfer channel, our organization recognizes the need to have a registration system, understood as a permanently updated information system in which all citizens register with the local mayor's office, with the residence address. The fact of having accurate and up-to-date identification records of the inhabitants of Bogotá would allow reaching the population in a timelier manner.
Another of the lessons learned from Bogotá Solidaria is the need to carry out Sisben surveys (for other layers of the population, that is, not only apply them to the poor or vulnerable population but also to middle- and high-income people in order to have more and better information which will allow the development of more sophisticated resource targeting schemes.