In August of 1997, the federal government announced the creation of the Program for Education, Health and Nutrition (PROGRESA by its acronym in Spanish). The Program represented a milestone for the social development policy in Mexico, due to its innovations that promoted the access to health, nutrition and education through a scheme of conditioned cash transfers to the beneficiary families. These conditioned transfers were expected to improve the life conditions of the beneficiary families while breaking off the intergenerational cycle of poverty.
The Program initially reached 300 thousand rural families. By 2002 PROGRESA attended 2.4 million households, from which two-thirds were considered indigenous communities.
In 2002, PROGRESA was transformed into the “Program of Human Development, Opportunities” (Oportunidades by its Spanish translation). At that stage, the reach of the program was widened to the 32 states in the country, and its educational component was expanded as well, by granting scholarships to high school students in addition to those for elementary education students.
Finally, on September 5th 2014, through a presidential decree, Oportunidades was transformed into “PROSPERA, Program for Social Inclusion”, which improved the articulation and coordination of the government´s social programs offer, through social policy actions such as: productive support, income generation, financial and labor inclusion, education, nutrition and health. All of them were directed to attend the population living under in poverty and were implemented through schemes of co-responsibility, allowing and promoting the beneficiary families to improve their living conditions, and ensuring the fulfillment of their social rights, as well as granting them equal opportunities for social development.