Social Promotion and Protection

Puente in the Caribbean Program

The Puente in the Caribbean Program is a horizontal cooperation initiative which seeks to improve social protection strategies in the Caribbean by using the successful Puente Program from Chile as a model. Through continuous capacity building and technical support, the lessons, principles and strategies of the Puente Program are shared with social development ministries and other social protection agencies in the Caribbean.

The Puente Program is a comprehensive approach to addressing extreme poverty in Chile through the provision of customized psychosocial support to families, preferential access to basic social services and monetary transfers. The Puente represents a bridge, linking vulnerable families to essential services and support required for moving out of a state of vulnerability into a position of empowerment.

The cooperation program emerged out of the rich tradition of horizontal cooperation in the OAS and in particular, from the Social Network of Latin America and the Caribbean. There, countries of the Caribbean were first exposed to Chile’s Puente program in 2004 and requested of the OAS, an opportunity to learn more about the successful program. Moreover, it responds to the recognized need for improved strategies in social protection, to reduce duplication and poor targeting and improve sustainability and impact of existing interventions. Puente in the Caribbean was initiated in 2007 as a pilot program, involving Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, with Chile serving as the technical expert providing knowledge on the Puente. By 2009, the initiative was extended to include Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.


The DSDE facilitates technical cooperation between Chile and the Caribbean countries through a series of activities designed to promote learning on the Puente Program, reinforcement of knowledge and exchange of implementation experiences. These include:

  • Country needs assessments to allow Caribbean countries to determine their social protection needs and specific aspects of Puente required to attend to those needs
  • Internships in Chile to share the theory and practice of the Program and interact with program implementers and participating families
  • Training workshops on assumptions, methods and experiences of Puente
  • Development and update of country work plans which highlight the plan for adopting and adapting lessons of the Puente Program
  • Mentoring by tutors who are experts on the Puente Program in Chile
  • Monitoring visits to assess country progress
  • Adaptation of original Puente materials to enhance learning experiences of Caribbean participants
    Puente Virtual Forum to facilitate online discussions, continuous technical support and sharing among countries and tutors on challenges faced and strategies adopted.

Operations Manual »