On June 1, the day of his inauguration,President Funes annouced that the Salvadoran government would be launching a new program, Sistem de Protección Social. This program is one way that the new government will be confronting the global economic crisis.
According to El Diario de Hoy, the program will be divided into two parts: a rural focus and an urban focus. The urban initiative will focus on infrastructure, housing, and public services. It will also give an education bonus to parents with children 6-18 years of age.
The rural component will expand the Red Solidaria program initiated by the Saca Government. It will change its name to Comunidades Solidarias Rurales. This program will grant pensions to the elderly population, expand to areas not included in Red Solidaria, and provide health and nutrition services to young children.
Also, Presdent Funes and his advisors have estimated that the uniforms and school supplies donated through this program would benefit approximately 1.3 million children in first through third grade.
In a study done by UNESCO, it was reported that while 92% of girls and 92% of boys attend primary school in El Salvador, only 53% of girls and 56% of boys attend secondary school. This number drops again to 22% concerning those that attend post-secondary education.
Recently, former President Saca spoke on the successes and challenges concerning the Millennium Development Goals, a set of guidelines and targets compiled by the United Nations to promote positive sustainable development throughout the world. There are great challenges for President Funes and his government in the next few years, but this new initiative may be a sign that he is ready to confront these challenges right away.