Government of Pakistan
Benazir Income Support Programme
ACADEMICS FROM NORTHEASTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY CHICAGO ACKNOWLEDGE BISP’s ROLE IN SOCIAL PROTECTION
A delegation of students from Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), Chicago, USA under student exchange programme between University of Management and Technology Lahore and NEIU visited BISP headquarters today in Islamabad.
The delegation consisting of Nicole Babbini, Claudia Lopez, Julia Ramirez, Omer Alba, Wannea Mc Daniel, Kim Miller and Frank was led by Chairperson Social Work Department Northeastern Illinois University Professor Jade Stanley. The students with the social work studies background have visited various public and private organizations in Pakistan to undertake ethnographic research and study the status of women empowerment, children rights, youth development and drug abuse in Pakistan. The purpose to visit BISP was to understand the systems and operations of the organization that has created successful impact on the welfare of the poorest segment of the population.
Minister of State and Chairperson BISP, MNA Marvi Memon appreciated UMT for its study exchange programme as this will not only enhance people to people contact but also encourage idea generation and experience sharing between the two countries. She said that BISP is the model social safety net that caters to the 5.4 million poorest households across Pakistan. Launched in 2008, the programme has undergone various improvements and reforms are still being made to further streamline the performance of the organization. She added that BISP is a unique programme that adopts a scientific targeting method and technologically advanced payment mechanism.
Professor Jade Stanley appreciated government’s policies on women empowerment and youth development. She stated that BISP, the premier social protection initiative of government of Pakistan is multidimensional as it provides financial assistance to the poorest and has made significant contributions towards financial inclusiveness and empowerment of women in Pakistan.
The participants were given a detailed presentation on key role of BISP in reforming social protection system in Pakistan. It was highlighted that BISP resulted in 7% drop in poverty, 3% decline in poverty gap and registered a positive and significant impact on primary school enrollment. Explaining the role of BISP in empowering women, it was briefed that millions of women got identity cards due to BISP, leading them to exercise their political and voting rights. BISP, treating women as the head of their families has increased their role in family decision making and 76% women retain control over BISP stipend.
While acknowledging the hospitality of Pakistani people, the students said that they are delighted to visit Pakistan. The tour has been quite informative as they gained firsthand knowledge of the social issues in Pakistan. They said that BISP‘s impact clearly indicates the success of the government’s social protection policy for the socio-economic welfare of the most vulnerable segment of society.