The Reach Project is an initiative by the Munk School of Global Affairs and the MasterCard Center focused on researching the delivery of social services in the hardest to reach populations in the global south.

From The Airport

From The Airport

This blog was originally published in December 2015 by Ariel Sim, a researcher for the Bolsa Familia Project. You can read more from her at her blog here.

Lesson: No matter how well you've planned and organized, some things are out of your control.

With a three-hour delay at the Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ), travel is not on our side today. The team is ready to hit the ground running, but first, we need to reach Brazil. Small though it is, a reminder about adapting to the the unpredicted and making the most of the circumstances. Nonetheless, we know from process design that the secret to success is built-in redundancies. Patience is a virtue, but when you see a design flaw, you can't help but ask - how can we do it better? How can we improve people's experience? 

We talk about that when we talk about the Bolsa Familia Program (BFP), one of the world's largest conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs. In June 2015, it supported 13,827,369 families. Like the Toronto airport, its high traffic. So how does it manage the congestion? So far, we understand that it is part human, part technology. On the human side, Bolsa Familia is managed by municipalities, allowing for a 'custom fit' to the specific communities it serves. A 'custom fit' for management and implementation. On the technology side, the Bolsa Familia card — like an ATM card — is powered by MasterCard magnetic strip technology and provides easy-to-access withdrawal points for BFP's beneficiaries by leveraging the existing ATMs, agents and infrastructure from one of Brazil's banks — Caixa.

More from us once we're on the ground....


Photo Credit: A Razao

Ministry of Social Development, Brasilia

Ministry of Social Development, Brasilia