February 14, 2020, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, welcomed the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mr. Qu Dongyu, and his delegation to Ehsaas offices in Islamabad to explore collaborations for Ehsaas, the Prime Minister’s flagship poverty alleviation programme. This was Mr. Dongyu’s first official visit to any country in Asia. The meeting discussed avenues of cooperation to drive forward the progressive agriculture and nutrition agenda and working closely to deliver to the small farmers and disadvantaged people in rural areas of Pakistan. The FAO is part of Ehsaas Value Chain Building Committee, which comprises of diverse stakeholders exploring how to most effectively shape a value chain building policy to address challenges faced by farmers in rural areas of Pakistan. The FAO is also a member of Ehsaas Development Partnership Group, which provides integrated, coherent and aligned technical support to the Government of Pakistan for the implementation of Ehsaas strategy.
February 14, 2020, Turkish first lady, Emine Erdogan together with the first lady of Pakistan, Samina Alvi was the chief guest at the Ehsaas sewing machines donation ceremony organized jointly by Pakistan Bait ul Mal and TIKA – Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency. Addressing the deserving women who were gifted sewing machines, the Turkish first lady said that the friendly relationship between Pakistan and Turkey would further strengthen for the benefit of their people. She assured that Turkey would provide assistance to Pakistan in domain of social welfare. First Lady of Pakistan Samina Arif Alvi said that the government was determined to make women the useful segment of society as without their participation, the concept of national development was irrelevant. PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar and Managing Director – Pakistan Bait ul, Mal Aun Abbas Bappi and senior officials were also present. Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Nishtar shared that Pakistan Bait ul Mal under the umbrella of Ehsaas was taking steps for empowerment of women in line with the vision of President and Prime Minister of Pakistan. She expressed gratitude to Turkish first lady for giving away sewing machines to the women suffering from Thalassemia.
Feb 7, 2020, In continuation of efforts for women empowerment, inclusion and participation in the country’s socioeconomic uplift, The World Bank organized a roundtable at Telenor Pakistan headquarters under its Girls Learn, Women Earn (GLWE) initiative. The roundtable discussed the significance of female participation in the country’s labour force was discussed. The session was attended by representatives from key telecom players, microfinance banks, and policy makers. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was a keynote speaker at the event. In her keynote statement Dr. Nishtar stated, “Women empowerment is at the heart of Ehsaas framework. The programme is highly skewed towards uplifting of disadvantaged women through a mutisectoral approach, enabling them to become contributing members of the economy. With Ehsaas Development Partners’ Forum in place and public private partnership in the pipeline, the multistakeholder construct of Ehsaas solutions offers wide-ranging opportunities to exploit synergies. Adding further, she elaborated, “To bring about more sustainable change, Ehsaas constantly follows the fifty percent rule for women inclusion in all Ehsaas initiatives including interest free loans, scholarships and asset transfers. Kafaalat that has recently been launched by the PM will ensure financial and digital inclusion of 7 million disadvantaged women across Pakistan.”
Feb 5, 2020, As health leaders gathered in Geneva for the World Health Organization’s Executive Board; Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation delivered the final report of the WHO Independent Commission on High-Level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) to WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Noncommunicable diseases kill still account for more than 70% of deaths. “We need to stop talking and accelerate action to beat the biggest killers,” said Dr. Nishtar. “The new recommendations provide governments with concrete steps on how to take clear, which will dramatically decrease the mortality and morbidity of NCDs.” Dr. Nishtar outlined an eight-point recommendation plan to WHO’s Director-General, which could save millions of lives and promote mental health. The high-level commission was convened by Dr. Tedros in October 2017 and Dr. Sania was installed as a co-chair with several Heads of State from across the world. The aim was to identify innovative ways to curb the world’s leading causes of death: cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes, respiratory diseases and mental health conditions.
Feb 4, 2020, Governor Gilgit Baltistan, Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon called on Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation to discuss federal-provincial partnerships under the Ehsaas framework. Dr. Nishtar briefed the Governor on the running Ehsaas initiatives including Ehsaas Kafaalat, Ehsaas Interest Free Loans, Ehsaas Langars and Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships and apprised him on the ‘Ehsaas webpage for Parliamentarians” that has been optimized for mobile phones. Governor GB appreciated Ehsaas programme and assured full support of GB government to ensure that Ehsaas endeavours benefit the most deserving.
February 04, 2020, Entrepreneurial women leaders from Islamabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) came to the table with Ehsaas at Pak China Friendship Centre in Islamabad to explore the collaborative opportunities aimed at supporting artisanal women. The meeting was convened jointly by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Amir Ali, Chairman, Capital Development Authority to support entrepreneurial women under the Ehsaas programme that is the multisectoral antipoverty programme of the present Government. The deliberations explored options for supporting the Women Chamber under the Ehsaas framework. Women Chamber brought light to the pressing need for the display centre in the capital to showcase and promote the work of artisanal women from far flung areas. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and Chairman CDA assured that they will explore the suitable sites in Islamabad for setting up display centre exclusively for artisanal women.
Jan 31, 2020, Putting the poorest women at the heart of poverty alleviation was the key message behind the Prime Minister’s launch of the Ehsaas Kafaalat programme in Islamabad. Coming under the Ehsaas poverty alleviation and social safety umbrella, Kafaalat is a new unconditional cash-transfer programme that will provide monthly payments of Rs. 2,000 to seven million disadvantaged women across the country. Addressing the participants at the event, the PM said that this programme is aimed to facilitate the poor segments of the society. The initiative is a realisation of the PM’s commitment to “One Woman, One Bank Account”policy with each beneficiary now having access to their own bank account. The programme will also improve access of the women to the smart phone. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, has led the design of this new programme, which is a successor to the outdated BISP system. Unlike previous systems, Kafaalat will deploy technology including biometrics and mobile banking to ensure accountability, transparency and protection are inbuilt, taking power away from corrupt officials and agents and giving it back to poor and deserving women.
Jan 30, 2020, The tenth ‘International Women Leaders’ Summit’ was held in Karachi, bringing together women leaders from across the globe, to reflect on their stories of success, and inspire others to take the lead. The Summit focused on bringing 250 women professionals and together by inspiring them through success stories of global women leaders. . The keynote speaker, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation highlighted the evolution of women’s empowerment in Pakistan and the importance of promoting inclusiveness of women in the workforce. She also spoke of the upcoming Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme being launched by the Prime Minister of Pakistan to benefit the disadvantaged women across the country. Adding further, she said, “Tomorrow’s launch of Ehsaas Kafaalat will change the lives of millions of poor women who have been financially excluded”. The event was well attended by members of the diplomatic community, renowned women entrepreneurs, and heads of bilateral trade associations, teams from the World Bank Group, senior businessmen and members of the media.
Jan 30, 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan will launch the innovative new Kafaalat program, on Jan 31 which will provide PKR 2,000 monthly cash payments to 7 million of the poorest women in the country. In a brave and unprecedented move, the new Ehsaas Kafaalat card unveiled a day prior to the launch has the Quaid’s picture. Previous safety net initiatives under BISP were mired in politicization because of the image of political figures. By putting the Quaid’s picture on the identification card, the Government has settled the matter once and for all and has depoliticized the matter of safety nets. “There are major differences between the earlier BISP program and Kafaalat”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation. “Major changes have been made after 10 years. The survey methodology has been revised to enable ongoing identification of beneficiaries through desk registration. The new biometrically enabled payment system has been introduced, cash transfer has been increased, inflation adjusted and the safety net Kafaalat now offers digital and financial inclusion opportunity since women will have bank accounts and better access to mobile phones”, added Dr. Nishtar.
Jan 27, 2020, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited a branch of Bank Alfalah located at Shuba Chowk in Peshawar to oversee final preparations for the launch of the new Kafalat cash-transfer program, which will enable cash disbursements of Ehsaas Kafalat Programme. Sitting under the umbrella of Ehsaas, the Kafalat programme will use a fully biometric payment system to provide safe, digital cash payments to millions of women across the country, giving them access to a bank account for the first time in their lives. “The Ehsaas Kafalat programme is a major component of the government’s plans to build a welfare state which supports the poorest in society”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar during the visit. During the visit, Dr. Nishtar observed how Bank Alfalah plans to provide a welcoming environment for those people who have not previously used a bank, including their methods for guiding beneficiaries through the new system of finger-print security. Footage can be accessed here.
Jan 27, 2020, Preparations for the new Kafalat cash-transfer programme are well underway at the Pakistan Post Foundation, with eligibility letters ready to be delivered to the first wave of beneficiaries across the country. The process of readying the official letters for distribution was inspected during a visit over the weekend by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar and Federal Minister for Communications and Postal Services, Murad Saeed. They saw how the official envelopes were printed, stuffed with letters and sorted into geographical areas, and then handed to the Postmen for delivery to those families that need support the most. The Kifalat is a key policy of the Ehsaas poverty alleviation programme, which is working to lift people out of poverty and create a welfare state. Footage can be accessed here.
Jan 27, 2020, Following the inauguration ceremony of biometrically enabled ATM for the poorest women in Peshawar, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation called on CM KP and briefed him on the new digital payment system introduced under upcoming Kafalat programme. Kafalat is being launched by the Prime Minster Imran Khan on January 30, 2020. Dr. Nishtar apprised the CM that it is the first time that biometrically enabled efficient digital system has been put in place to ensure transparency in cash transfer system for the poor. ATMs are being opened by the partner banks and Points of Sales (PoS) are being increased to benefit the disadvantaged women under the Kafalat.