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Policy networks combating hunger and poverty: the Solidarity Community strategy in Brazil

This paper analyzes a strategy deployed by the Brazilian Government for combating hunger and poverty: the Solidarity Community (1995-2003), particularly institutional mechanisms used to fine-tune targeting processes and allocate resources to the Food Stocks Distribution Program (PRODEA) and the Undernourished Child and High-Risk Pregnancy Program (PCDMI). Primary data were obtained through interviews with policy network players, including segments of government and society: nine Federal; six State and 82 from eight Municipalities in Rio de Janeiro state. Moving towards its goal of converging programs for the poorest municipalities, the Solidarity Community made them more visible to executive civil servants. The introduction of different sectors into the Solidarity Community network varied, according to the political clout and institutional capacity of each sector. The Solidarity Community strategy was: to negotiate criteria with Ministries for setting priorities and provide technical support and information for local governments, improving their skills for obtaining federal funding. The role of the Solidarity Community was thus limited at the local level, due to poor intersectoral networking and difficulties in monitoring program implementation and beneficiary selection processes, blunting its advantages for more vulnerable groups.

Nutrition programs; Solidarity Community; Hunger; Poverty

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