Government of Pakistan
Benazir Income Support Programme
BISP LAUNCHES WOMEN EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVE
WORLD BANK GROUP MEETS BISP BENEFICIARIES
BISP is the prime women empowerment platform, taking lead in empowering its women financially, socially and politically. It is a unique programme that adds dignity and meaning to life of its beneficiaries by empowering them through awareness and linking them with other welfare programmes that may help them in exiting out of poverty. This was stated by Minister of State and Chairperson BISP MNA Marvi Memon while launching women empowerment initiative of BISP in a meeting of BISP beneficiaries with World Bank Group staff.
The World Bank delegation consisted of Ms Caren Grown Senior Director Gender, Mr David Seth Warren Practice Manager Social Development and Ms Helene Carlsson Senior Social Development Specialist.
In presence of beneficiaries from all across Sindh, special training material on women empowerment was unveiled. Under this empowerment initiative, women will be educated through awareness utilizing the platform of BISP Beneficiary Committees (BBCs). The training would educate beneficiaries in basic counting, use of ATMs, Biometric Verification System (BVS) for payment, National Socio Economic Registry (NSER), nutrition, health and their rights. The women would be educated on their rights and privilege as per the Islamic principles leading to truly Islamic Society.
Senior Director Gender World Bank Ms Caren Grown interacted with beneficiaries and stated that BISP’s agenda of financial inclusion and women empowerment is commendable as it would bring sustainable development in Pakistan by streamlining its more than half of the population.
Director General BISP Tariq Mahmood highlighted the contributions of BISP to women empowerment in Pakistan as recorded in third impact evaluation report on BISP. He said that BISP brought 5.4 million women voters on electoral list by providing them CNICs .In 2011 just 40% of women in beneficiary households were likely to vote whilst in 2016 this number has risen to 70% showing massive change in implementation of democratic rights. Financial and social inclusion of women has improved as 76% of women retain full control on their stipend. As a result of BISP support, there has been increase in financial savings from 9% to 13%, drop in poverty by 7%, poverty gap by 3% and decrease in malnutrition of girls.
The Chairperson added that 91% of the beneficiaries are either ultra poor or poor with low literacy rate of only 9%. In this scenario, BISP’s 55,000 BBCs are the goldmine women empowerment platform, that is working to enhance financial social empowerment, eliminate violence bringing a real women revolution in line with tenants of Islam.
BISP beneficiaries highlighted that stipend helps to sustain their lives as it is spent on food and health .The beneficiaries who had started their businesses benefiting from the Prime Minister Interest Free Loan thanked the Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for his pro-poor policies. Around 50,000 beneficiaries have benefited from PMIFL.