May 27, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar joined a high-level panel discussion at the World Health Assembly side event on, “Hepatitis Elimination”. The event was hosted by World Economic Forum, World Health Organization and the Hepatitis Fund. Dr. Sania highlighted the utmost importance of commitment, adequate resources and multi-stakeholder collaboration for hepatitis elimination. “We must now build the commitment to do it, if we are to achieve our mutual objective of ending viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030”, she reiterated. The panellists were– Hala Zayed, Minister of Health of Egypt; Dr. Philippe Duneton, Executive Director, Unitaid; Wangsheng Li, Executive Director, The Hepatitis Fund; and SAPM on Social Protection Dr. Sania Nishtar from Pakistan. The session was moderated by Dr. Genya Dana, Head of Health and Healthcare, World Economic Forum. Full footage here.
May 26, 2021 – Islamabad: With SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar in chair, a meeting was held to take stock of the key findings of the qualitative study with Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries. The study was commissioned by Ehsaas in collaboration with Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. The main focus of the research was to gain insights into beneficiary saving behavior. Findings shall inform the design of a financial and digital literacy training program under the recently rolled out Ehsaas Saving Wallets initiative. Drawing on results of the qualitative study, Ehsaas beneficiaries will be trained on financial and digital literacy beside their children for better impact. During the meeting, it was strongly recommended that training will be designed in local languages utilizing beneficiary centered approach to instill greater confidence and self-efficacy amongst the women beneficiaries of Ehsaas, enabling them to fully avail the benefits of Ehsaas Savings Wallets.
May 26, 2021 – Islamabad: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet approved the launch of second phase of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme (EECP) worth Rs. 48 Billion, under which Rs.12,000 would be provided to each of the 4 million additional households. These 4 million additional beneficiaries will be identified through the ongoing Ehsaas survey by using higher eligibility threshold while remaining below the poverty line. The purpose is to compensate affected households for unemployment caused by COVID-19 crises. The disbursement process will be initiated within this financial year. The cash assistance will be provided through existing partner banks of Ehsaas, including Bank Alfalah in KP, AJK, and GB, and Habib Bank Limited in Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh and Islamabad through payment sites, biometrically enabled ATMs and retail Points of Sale (POS) agents, as well as through dedicated bank branches for beneficiaries with thumb amputations or biometric failures.
May 25, 2021- Kunming: Dr. Sania Nishtar keynoted the first ‘High-level Women Forum’ held in in Kunming city of China to mark the 70th Anniversary of Pak-China diplomatic relations.
Moin ul Haque, Ambassador of Pakistan to China hosted the event. The theme of the forum was acknowledging women of Pakistan and China, particularly their role in poverty alleviation, post-Covid recovery and evidence-based intervention for socio-economic uplift of vulnerable populations. The event was attended by Ministers, Presidents of the two women associations, senior officials, female entrepreneurs and students from both countries. The Vice Governor of the Yunnan province also attended the forum as a special guest. The Embassy of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Beijing, in collaboration with All China Women Federation, All Pakistan Women Association and Yunnan Provincial Women’s Federation had co-organized the event. Dr. Sania’s keynote speech can be watched here.
May 24, 2021 – Islamabad, Pakistan: Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Ehsaas Kafaalat payment site in Islamabad launched ‘Ehsaas Savings Wallets’ (Ehsaas Bachat Accounts) pilot initiative for 7 million Kafaalat beneficiaries. PM was given the demonstration of Ehsaas Savings Wallets (ESWs). He also interacted with the beneficiary women present on the site. Financial inclusion is a central goal of Ehsaas and key to unlocking the potential of millions of the most disadvantaged women in Pakistan. Addressing the ceremony, PM congratulated Ehsaas for introducing Ehsaas Savings Wallets for 7 million women. “In Pakistan, most of the digitally and financially excluded segments are destitute women. For the first time, the poorest women in Pakistan will have the option to save their stipends”, said PM. He also thanked UNSGSA Queen Máxima of the Netherlands for her remarks at the launch of the Ehsaas Financial Inclusion Strategy when she visited Pakistan in Nov 2019. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar gave a detailed snapshot of Ehsaas broadly and the savings wallets initiative to the PM. Congratulating the roll out of flagship financial inclusion programme by the government of Pakistan, UNSGSA Queen Máxima sent a special message for Ehsaas that was delivered by H.E. Mr. Wouter Plomp, Ambassador of Netherlands to Pakistan.
May 21, 2021 – Islamabad: Immediately after Eid holidays, Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a series of review meetings this past week with all four executing agencies of Ehsaas including BISP, PPAF, PBM, TVO and Ehsaas Delivery Unit (EDU). With the monitoring and evaluation dashboard of Ehsaas up and running, the review meetings tracked the progress and implementation of targets established under the performance agreements signed with the Prime Minister. Through new Delivery Unit tools strategic plans of each of the executing agencies were also thoroughly reviewed to accelerate implementation of Ehsaas in the last six weeks of the current fiscal year 2020-21.
May 21, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the fourth meeting of Ehsaas Vendor Support Group. The meeting discussed ways to improve the street vending ecosystem under ‘Ehsaas Rehri Baan’ initiative. Ehsaas Vendor Support Group has been set up at the Division of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety to coordinate the ensuing interventions in street vending. The meeting brought together senior officials from Capital Development Authority (CDA) Islamabad, Capital Territory Administration (ICTA), Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF). Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary of the Division was also present.
May 20, 2021 – Islamabad: With SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar in chair, a meeting was held with Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) to take stock of the National Poverty Graduation Initiative being executed under the Ehsaas umbrella. The meeting tracked progress in implementation of Ehsaas Interest Free Loan (IFL) and Ehsaas Amdan programmes. Currently, Ehsaas IFL is being implemented in 110 districts. With the recently ploughed injection of Rs. 5 Billion by the federal government, the programme is being upscaled across 28 additional districts in lagging regions (including deepening in 5 existing districts). The upscaling is grounded on the human development index ranking of districts, poverty profiling and economic needs. The meeting also discussed the progress of Ehsaas Amdan. Through Ehsaas Amdan programme, assets are given to the deserving to enable them to graduate out of poverty. Ehsaas Amdan is being implemented in 375 union councils of 23 poorest districts across four provinces of Pakistan. Secretary PASSD and CEO, PPAF were also present in the meeting. Under Ehsaas, PPAF has the responsibility for poverty graduation.
May 20, 2021 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania conducted a stocktake meeting with the Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM), Malik Zaheer Abbas and his team to review operations for Panagahs, Ehsaas Koye Bhooka Na Soye (food truck) Dar-ul-Ehsaas (orphanages), Ehsaas Kada (Oldage homes) and wheelchair programmes for disabled. MD PBM shared that, guided by Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, efforts are underway to launch a number of new Ehsaas programmes including those on women empowerment, child protection and street beggars. Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal is responsible for demand side social protection under Ehsaas.
May 20, 2021: Dr. Sania Nishtar was called on by Murad Raas, Provincial Minister for Education Punjab. Murad Raas briefed Dr. Sania about the forthcoming school meals programme. Currently, Punjab Government is envisioning a large scale meals programme for school going children across the province. The meeting discussed federal-provincial collaborations for the programme of Punjab. With regard to the meals programme, Dr. Sania assured full support and cooperation of Ehsaas to Punjab Government.
May 20, 2021 – Islamabad: A virtual meeting was held between Dr. Sania Nishtar and President National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) to explore collaborations. The meeting discussed potential partnership under the forthcoming targeted subsidies programme for Ehsaas beneficiaries. Various options were discussed in the meeting including provision of subsidies through NBP debit card. The primary purpose of Ehsaas targeted subsidies is to help the under-privileged families through targeted subsidization.
May 19, 2021 – Islamabad: At the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Dr. Sania convened a review meeting with the management of Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO). The meeting tracked the progress to-date, and discussed ways to further accelerate implementation. The key areas of their work that came under discussion were the reconstitution of TVO Board and function of TVO to execute the Ehsaas Private Sector Engagement Policy with the private sector. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division was also present. TVO is one of executing agencies of Ehsaas.