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Brazilian state of Ceará will expand coverage of social services and employment opportunities

IDB loan of $50 million to reduce the social risks for families and poor youths 

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $50 million loan to reduce the vulnerability and social risk of individuals and families in the poorest municipalities of the state of Ceará, Brazil. The project will improve infrastructure, the quality and access to social services and promote employment among youths at risk. 

The majority of the funds will be spent on expanding the coverage of the social services networks in about 50 municipalities within the state. They will finance the construction and equipment of Social Assistance Referral Centers (CRAS in Portuguese), Centers for preschool education and sports centers. The Referral Centers are expected to assist 24,000 persons and 20,000 youths are expected to take part in activities at the sports centers, thereby increasing their social capital. 

The project also will offer special social protection services for the elderly poor and youths at risk. It includes the construction of residential centers for youths in conflict with the law and a transit facility for those awaiting sentencing. It will also offer training for about 1,000 professionals who work with those youths. And it will assist in the construction of a space to receive elderly persons, among others.

The program also will support the promotion of jobs and productive insertion, strengthening the labor market in Ceará. Those efforts will include the construction of a center for independent workers, the formalization of workers through the Individual Micro-Entrepreneur program and the development of diagnostic mechanisms for organizing services for workers. 

The $50 million financing from the IDB's Ordinary Capital funds is for 25 years, with a grace period of 5.5 years and an interest rate based on Libor. Local matching funds of $21.4 million will bring the total cost to $71.4 million. The implementing body will be the state of Ceará, through the Secretariat for Labor and Social Development.

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