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Voice of the marginalised heard in World Poverty Day event

By Our Correspondent
October 18, 2020

Islamabad : The marginalized section for the society Saturday came to the table with the government and policy makers, giving valuable suggestions to make the Ehsaas strategy more responsive in the context of post COVID-19.

The occasion was a virtual event organized by Ehsaas to observe World Poverty Day. Four executing agencies of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD)-BISP, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM), and Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO), along with beneficiaries of various priority programmes of Ehsaas, attended. The PM’s Special Assistant Dr. Sania Nishtar moderated the session together with Secretary PASSD Muhammad Ali Shahzada.

The highlight was an engaging interaction with beneficiaries of various mainstream Ehsaas programmes and initiatives particularly Ehsaas Kafaalat, Ehsaas Interest Free Loans, Ehsaas Amdan and Ehsaas Nashonuma. This session was followed by an insightful conversation with partner NGOs of TVO.

Connecting with Ehsaas beneficiaries, Dr. Sania said, “Fighting poverty has always been one of the top priorities of the government. Ehsaas is determined to ensuring social and environmental protection for all. The growing recognition of the multi-dimensionality of poverty indicates that these two issues are inseparably interlinked, and that social protection cannot be fully grasped without addressing environmental issues at the same time.” Later in the day, Dr. Sania Nishtar visited PPAF and PBM and spent the day with Ehsaas beneficiaries, gaining insights on their aspirations and problems, and assuring cooperation to address them.

“The cash disbursal arrangements were very well made at Ehsaas Emergency Cash campsites as compared to those at small retail outlets for Kafaalat,” said Memoona Bibi, a Kafaalat beneficiary from Peshawar.

Tahira Bibi, an Ehsaas interest-free loan beneficiary from Layyah shared, “I want to act as a role model for women in my village to get them involved in income generation activities supported by Ehsaas poverty graduation programmes.”

Hakeem Khan, a beneficiary of Ehsaas Amdan from Battagram has set up a small enterprise to generate income for his family. He said, “The rule-based procedures and demand driven approaches adopted under Ehsaas are commendable.” “I am running an online trading business through a computer training provided to me under Ehsaas though PBM’s Women Empowerment Centre in Islamabad.”

Samina Waseem and Khalida Parveen—Kafaalat beneficiaries from Lahore—happily shared that their children have also been enrolled in the ongoing Waseela-e-Taleem recently reformed under Ehsaas.

Provincial Minister for Finance Punjab Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht, Provincial Minister for Social Welfare KP Hasham Inamullah Khan, senior representatives from other provinces including GB and AJK, and senior officials of international development organizations also joined virtually.

Global extreme poverty is expected to rise in 2020 for the first time in 20 years. The COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to push an additional 88 million to 115 million people into extreme poverty this year, with the total rising to as many as 150 million by 2021, depending on the severity of the economic contraction.