Shazia Marri for her sustained efforts to provide social protection to all segments of the population

Federal Poverty Alleviation and Social Security Minister Shazia Marri on Wednesday stressed continuing efforts to provide social protection to all segments of the population, especially vulnerable groups.

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News – June 22, 2022): Federal Poverty Alleviation and Social Security Minister Shazia Marri on Wednesday stressed maintaining efforts to provide social protection to all segments of the population, especially vulnerable groups.

She was speaking at the closing session of a national dialogue on “UNICEF’s Children First: Identifying Problems and Defining Solutions to Address the Deprivation of Children, Especially Girls in Pakistan”, organized by UNICEF and the Ministry of Planning.

On occasion, the federal minister has said that her department’s social security initiatives aim to create a welfare state by countering elite capture and leveraging 21st century tools and approaches.

“These approaches include using data and technology to create precision safety nets; promoting financial inclusion and access to digital services; supporting women’s economic empowerment; focusing on human capital formation; overcoming financial barriers to access to health and education; tackling malnutrition in all its forms and using multi-sector and multi-stakeholder approaches to develop solutions at scale” , said Shazia Marri.

She said her ministry was spearheading one of the biggest social security initiatives in the world, hailed worldwide by well-known institutions and agencies such as the United Nations.

She said that the Constitution of Pakistan under Article 38 guarantees the promotion of social and economic welfare of all citizens of Pakistan.

The Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Security, in particular the BISP, has a key role in improving the socio-economic well-being of the poorest and most vulnerable.

She mentioned that the BISP was initially launched in 2008 as an Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) program and was later enacted by an Act of Parliament, namely the BISP Act 2010.

BISP has remained above any political or ideological difference from the very beginning and has evolved into a leading social welfare institution in Pakistan with continuous improvement in its design and implementation of its programs and regularly provided support to more than eight million poorest of the poor families through its unconditional program. Cash transfers and multi-sector conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs.

The minister pointed out that BISP makes payments to its beneficiaries through technology-based payment mechanisms, such as the biometric verification system.

Evaluations of BISP (Benazir Kafalat) unconditional cash transfers show that there has been a positive impact on women’s empowerment, including; increase the mobility of women who can move freely to places in their community; and increasing women’s participation in household decision-making.

Analysis of BISP targeted beneficiaries shows high poverty rates as 91% of BISP beneficiaries are either ultra-poor, poor or vulnerable to poverty due to various shocks. Our beneficiaries face multiple deprivations such as access to education and health, etc.

These families have precarious means of subsistence, which means that they depend on casual work, informal work and daily wages. In addition, the level of literacy is quite low in BISP beneficiary families, as only 19% of adult women in beneficiary households are literate.

This is also true for the children of our beneficiary families and we make sure to provide them with opportunities to solve their problems.

Federal minister says a child born in Pakistan today will be 39% more productive when they grow up, due to lack of opportunity when 40 out of 100 children are stunted and therefore at risk of cognitive limitations and physical that can last. a lifetime.

Shazia Marri said extreme poverty can be eliminated by creating more inclusive societies by developing human capital, which requires investing in people through nutrition, health care, education, quality, jobs and skills.

Mentioning the BISP CCT program for education, Shazia Marri said that school allowances are given to children of Kafalat beneficiaries from primary to 12th grade to increase enrollment rate and reduce dropout rate through incentives in cash, nationwide.

This initiative was launched in 2012 and approximately 8.5 million children have been enrolled since its inception, while our goal is to enroll an additional 9 million children by 2025.

She said the design of this program focuses on providing better incentives to send girls to school.

Compared to a male student, an additional amount of Rs. 500 is paid to families to send a girl to school, while a school leaving bonus is also paid only to girls at the end of education primary.

So far, more than 4 million girls have enrolled in the program, compared to 4.5 million boys, she said.

She mentioned that the impact of the CCT for education has been considerable. The program has increased the proportion of children currently enrolled in primary school by 13% for boys and 15% for girls.

Overall enrollment rates for primary-aged children in BISP households are significantly higher for those supported by TCC (81% vs. 60%).

In addition, the average school attendance rate for both boys and girls is well above the required minimum (70%). On average, boys have an attendance rate of 83% and girls an attendance rate of 81%. The results of our assessments compare well to the impact on primary school enrollment observed in other CCTs globally.

To combat stunting and promote dietary diversity in the first 1000 days of opportunity, Shazia Marri said that BISP launched Nashonuma to increase the utilization of health and nutrition services by its beneficiaries through the provision of specialized nutritional foods for pregnant and lactating women (PLW) and Children (6-23 months), Vaccination of PLW and children (0-23 months) and Sensitization session on Breastfeeding Practices, Hygiene, Sanitation and Dietary Diversity etc.

Benazir Nashonuma also provides additional Rs. 500 for girls under conditions met by beneficiary families, she added.

UNICEF is one of WFP’s partners working on the Nashonuma program and I commend them for achieving considerable success in implementation. Next year, we are about to launch Benazir Nashonuma in all districts of Pakistan, while the pilot of the project is limited to 15 districts only, she said. She hopes that UNICEF will continue its collaboration and support, especially in the cash transfer program and in developing new and innovative techniques to reach marginalized adolescent girls.

Joel C. Hicks