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$9 Million for Low Income Turkish Families

World Bank Signs a Grant Agreement with the United States and Turkish Treasury on an Additional $9 Million for Conditional Cash Transfers To Low Income Turkish Families

Ankara, February 7, 2005 – The World Bank signed today grant agreement documents with the United States and the Turkish Treasury, whereby the U.S. will provide $9,000,000 to the World Bank to be used to support the Social Risk Mitigation Project. The grant agreement was signed by the Country Director of the World Bank Andrew Vorkink, U.S. Ambassador Eric Edelman, USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator Thomas Mefford and the Undersecretary of the Undersecretariat of Turkish Treasury Ibrahim Çanakçý.

The purpose of the Grant is to provide support to the conditional grants component of the Social Risk Mitigation Project implemented by the Social Solidarity Fund (SYDTF) and strengthen Turkey’s social assistance system to become better targeted to the most vulnerable segments of the population. This program is designed to provide direct cash assistance to the poorest families in Turkey, to the poorest 6% of children aged 0-18 and pregnant mothers as well as to create incentives for these families to keep their children, particularly their girls, enrolled in school. The payments are made according to a graduated scale, whereby the payments are higher for girls. The total number of beneficiaries will rise to over 1.3 million in March this year - with monthly expenditures of about US$18 million or more.

During the grant agreement signing ceremony, Country Director of the World Bank Andrew Vorkink stated that the Bank is happy to see strong show of support by the US Government in contributing to poverty reduction in Turkey. He also added: “ There is already strong evidence coming in that the CCT is resulting in higher attendance rates and higher continuation rates from primary to secondary education. Beneficiary children appear to take their schooling more seriously. Also as the benefit is paid to the mothers - this has enhanced the role of women in the family as they now have cash, have opened a bank account, and in many cases obtaining official identification documents and registration of their marriages for the first time. This all confers rights to women and increases their self esteem.”

The total loan amount of the Social Risk Mitigation Project (SRMP) is US$ 500 million through which the World Bank is providing assistance to the Turkish Government to support to the poorest and most vulnerable in society and to strengthen Turkey’s long-term social safety-net. The key goal of the SRMP is to serve also as a trampoline to help the poor escape poverty - a system which not only mitigates social risk, but also helps to prevent and manage it.

For more information about the World Bank's work in Turkey, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org.tr/


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