Sania Nishtar on the list of BBC 100 Women 2020
November 24, 2020 – Islamabad: The BBC has revealed its list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2020. This year 100 Women is highlighting those who are leading change and making a difference during these turbulent times. This is an absolute honour for Pakistan that this year’s BBC list includes SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar, who leads Ehsaas programme along with Sanna Marin, who leads Finland’s all-female coalition government and Sarah Gilbert, who heads the Oxford University research into a coronavirus vaccine. This distinction has been conferred upon Dr. Sania for her work and contribution in poverty alleviation, global health and development. “The dramatic impact of Covid-19 presents us with a once-in-a-generation chance to build a fairer world and bring an end to poverty, inequality and the climate crisis. For this, women must be equal, empowered stakeholders”, said Dr. Sania. The list of BBC 100 Women can be accessed here.
Ehsaas and UNDP think through ways to work together on digital governance
November 23, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar met with UNDP Pakistan team led by Tariq Malik, Chief Technical Advisor on Digital Governance. The meeting aimed to think through ways in which digital interventions can help Ehsaas in improving quality of Ehsaas survey data, case management, and grievance redressal systems.
Sania reviews a 3-year technology transformation plan for Ehsaas
Nov 23, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a half-a-day meeting with Secretary Yusuf Khan to review the three year technology transformation plan for Ehsaas program. The technology transformational plan was presented by the new DG technology. The review meeting took stock of the progress so far and discussed clear milestones for the next three years.
Sania appeals to citizens during visit to Peshawar, asks them to participate in the Ehsaas Survey
Nov 21, 2020 – Peshawar: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar together with Ehsaas team officials visited Peshawar today to track Ehsaas Survey interventions rolled out three months back as part of the new survey model in KP. While in the provincial capital, Dr. Nishtar was briefed about the progress of an ongoing Ehsaas National Socioeconomic Registry Survey operations in various districts of KP including Malakand, Karak, Tank, D.I. Khan, Bannu, Hangu, Kohat, Swabi and Peshawar. Following the briefing, she went to an Ehsaas Survey site at Sikandarabad, Peshawar to oversee the ongoing Ehsaas survey activities. At the site, she witnessed the Ehsaas survey demonstration with a local household and made an appeal to families across the country. “Please collaborate with survey staff when they come to your houses and help them access data, which becomes the basis of the socioeconomic status and that determines eligibility/entitlements with regard to the Ehsaas program”, she said.
SAPM Dr. Sania interacts with Bank Alfalah’s retailers at a Kafaalat preparatory training in Peshawar
Nov 21, 2020 – Peshawar: Ehsaas’ partnering bank, Bank Alfalah had organized a series of technical training sessions this week for their retail agents in KP, GB and AJK. This training was part of preparations for the upcoming tranche of Ehsaas Kafaalat to be released next week. The training sessions basically aimed to train the Bank Alfalah retail agents to better execute digital payments to Ehsaas beneficiaries in the field. To connect with the bank’s retail agents from the field, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited a training site in Peshawar. During the visit, she interacted with the Bank Alfalah staff and retail agents and listened to their experiences with regard to the biometrically enabled Ehsaas Kafaalat disbursements in the field. Dr. Nishtar advised retail agents to ensure utmost transparency in making cash disbursements to the Ehsaas Kafaalat families. Bank Alfalah is responsible for Ehsaas disbursements to Kafaalat beneficiaries in KP, GB and AJK.
SAPM Dr. Sania joins HBL Konnect retailers at a Kafaalat preparatory training in Islamabad
Nov 20, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas’ partnering bank, Habib Bank Limited (HBL) had organized a series of technical training sessions this week for their Konnect retail agents in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. This training was part of preparations for the upcoming tranche of Ehsaas Kafaalat to be released next week. The training basically aimed to train the HBL Konnect retail agents to better execute digital payments to Ehsaas beneficiaries in the field. To connect with retail agents from the field, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited a training site in Islamabad. During the visit, she interacted with the HBL staff and Konnect retail agents and listened to their experiences on the biometrically enabled Ehsaas Kafaalat disbursements in the field. Dr. Nishtar advised retail agents to ensure utmost transparency in making cash disbursements to the Ehsaas Kafaalat families. HBL is responsible for Ehsaas disbursements to Kafaalat beneficiaries in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan.
Sania conducts a meeting to review the integrity features of the upcoming Ehsaas Tahafuz
November 18, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired a meeting with the team working on the design of the Ehsaas Tahafuz pilot. The meeting reviewed the integrity and transparency features of Ehsaas Tahafuz program. “Giving priority to transparency is key in forthcoming Ehsaas Tahafuz. We are making sure the system is fully watertight from integrity perspective”, said Dr. Nishtar. The Ehsaas team has been working for the last year and a half to set up institutional arrangements and the technological backbone for this shock oriented safety net under the Ehsaas umbrella. Tahafuz aims to protect people from catastrophic health expenditures and is being pilot tested in one hospital, this quarter, following which it will be scaled up in the last quarter of the year 2020-21.
Poverty Alleviation Division and Ministry of National Food Security explore partnership options to serve poor
November 17, 2020 – Islamabad: Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and Ministry of National Food Security and Research came to the table to explore partnership options. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting at Ehsaas offices in Islamabad. The meeting discussed ways about how the two Federal Ministries could exploit synergies to serve people better. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Muhammad Ali Shahzada and Secretary National Food Security and Research, Ghufran Memon were also in attendance. The Ministry of National Food Security & Research is mainly responsible for policy formulation, economic coordination and planning in respect of food grain and agriculture.
Prime Minister’s COVID Relief Fund sets a precedent: transparent expenditure trail of 4.8 billion revealed
November 16, 2020 – Islamabad: The Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the Policy Committee overseeing the Prime Minister’s COVID Relief Fund to review fund utilization details. The fund was established in March 2020 to raise funds for COVID 19 affectees. The fund received generous donations from within Pakistan and overseas. 4.8 Billion accumulated in the fund of which 1.08 was donated by international donors and 3.8 billion was contributed domestically. Earlier this year, the PM had publicly announced two policies with respect to this fund, committing that these funds would be disbursed through Ehsaas Emergency Cash to assist COVID 19 job loss affectees. Secondly, a “matching funds policy” was announced which stipulated that for every rupee donated into the fund, Rs. 4 would be matched by the Government. To fulfill this promise, Rs. 19.55 Billion have been matched by the Government—in total 24.43 billion. This amount has supported 2 million families, each of which received Rs. 12,000 each as Ehsaas Emergency cash through this funding stream (out of the total of 15 million who received Ehsaas Emergency cash).
PM approves increase in Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries to 7 million
Nov 14, 2020 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan has granted approval to increase the number of beneficiary households of the Ehsaas Kafaalat program from 4.6 million to 7 million. PM’s approval came in a meeting regarding preparations for the Ehsaas Kafaalat. Addressing the meeting, the PM said that the pandemic has adversely affected the poor populations and there is a dire need for furthering the scope of the Ehsaas program. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the meeting that the COVID-19 crisis has increased the adversities of the marginalized segments worldwide and many countries have provided economic packages for the public good. She said that Pakistan is one of those countries which successfully fought against the pandemic and emergency cash assistance allocated by the government for the public welfare are being widely lauded by international organizations and the United Nations. The meeting was also attended by PM’s Finance Adviser Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and other senior officers. The Ehsaas Kafaalat is a flagship social protection program of the government that provides monthly cash stipend of Rs. 2,000 along with saving bank account to the disadvantaged women across the country.
PM announces countrywide roll out of Ehsaas’ Taleemi-wazaef; inaugurates Dar-ul-Ehsaas during visit to Turbat
November 13, 2020 – Turbat: The Prime Minister during his visit to Turbat was briefed by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar about the nation-wide rollout of Ehsaas’ Taleemi-wazaef for primary school going children under Waseela-e-Taleem Digital program. The PM joined the children and their parents to witness new enrolments of deserving children in Waseela-e-Taleem Digital. Following a briefing on the recent deep-rooted reforms introduced in Waseela e Taleem Digital under the umbrella of Ehsaas, Prime Minister oversaw details of a girl child being entered in the end-to-end digital system. At the site, he also witnessed the payment being made to the child’s mother. PM also inaugurated newly established Dar-ul-Ehsaas for the orphans and poor children of southern Balochistan where free shelter, food and education would be provided. He also met with students of Turbat University who were awarded Ehsaas undergraduate scholarships last year.
SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar joins UNDP’s Future of Development Strategy Lab hosted by UNDP
Nov 12, 2020: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the ‘Future of Development Strategy Lab on Futures and Complexity’ hosted by UNDP New York. Future of Development Lab brought together a diverse mix of experts from very different professions and walks of life to explore possible future trajectories for development. Other international experts included Aaron Maniam from Singapore, Achim Steiner from Germany, Anne Marie Slaughter from USA, Azeem Ahar from UK, Sir Geoff Mulgan from UK, Herve Berville from France, Ian Goldin from South Africa, Luiz Alberto Oliveira from Brazil, Rebecca Ennonchong from Cameroon and Yoko Akama from Japan. The discussions revolved around different perspectives on possible futures, emerging trends and issues that will affect the international agenda and the choices leaders will have to make to adapt to this endlessly dynamic COVID-19 pandemic environment. The Strategy Lab has been set up by UNDP as an informal conversation among the participants.
Dr. Sania addresses a news conference to unveil details about nationwide rollout of massively reformed Waseela-e-Taleem, under the Ehsaas umbrella
Nov 12, 2020 – Islamabad: While unveiling details about nationwide rollout of Waseela-e-Taleem, under the Ehsaas umbrella, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar addressed a news conference. She stated that PM will launch Ehsaas ‘Taleemi-Wazaef’ tomorrow in Balochistan which will aid out of school children nationwide. Pakistan has been running an Education Conditional Cash Transfer for primary school going children called Waseela-e-Taleem since 2012 in selected districts. Now, this program is being expanded nationwide, representing a major quantum change. Sharing further details of the reformed program, Dr. Nishtar said, “Over the last year and a half, a comprehensive and deep-rooted reform was designed and deployed as a result of which far reaching changes have been made in the program. First, end-to-end digitization of a number of processes, which were previously managed manually. Secondly, cost-effective changes institutional infrastructure was developed to expand this program nationwide and reliance on NGOs was eliminated. Because of this, operational cost has been reduced from 8% to 3%. Third, the stipend given to children has been modified as per Ehsaas’ new Stipend policy. Children of poorest families will now be provided conditional cash grants of Rs. 1,500 for boy child and Rs. 2,000 per quarter for girl child on attainment of 70% attendance in school. Finally, and most importantly, the program is being expanded to all districts of the country.” Full Footage here.
Ehsaas and ADB explore future collaborative options
Nov 11, 2020: SAPM Dr. Sania together with Ehsaas officials convened a consultative meeting with Asian Development Bank (ADB) team led by Shixin Chen, Vice President, ADB. The meeting featured discussions to explore options for collaboration between Ehsaas and ADB in future. Xiaohong Yang, Country Director ADB Pakistan was also present. Participants joined the meeting both physically and virtually.
Ehsaas and SBP discuss transition of Ehsaas payments to Micropayment Gateway
Nov 11, 2020: A meeting was held between Ehsaas and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to discuss possible transition of Ehsaas digital payment system to the SBP led Micropayment Gateway. The meeting was chaired by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar. From SBP, Dr. Reza Baqir, Governor came to the table along with Sima Kamil, Deputy Governor.
Ehsaas and HBL work out modalities for the next tranche of Ehsaas Kafaalat
Nov 11, 2020: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting with Habib Bank Limited (HBL) team led by President HBL Muhammad Aurangzeb. HBL is a partnering bank of Ehsaas for biometrically enabled digital payments to Kafaalat beneficiaries across Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. The meeting discussed the working modalities of the upcoming release of Ehsaas Kafaalat tranche in the next week. The tranche will be comprised of Rs. 12,000 each for Kafaalat beneficiaries covering a period of six months (July 2020- Dec 2020).
Dr. Sania Nishtar addresses National Consultative & Advocacy meeting on Trans Fat Elimination in Pakistan
Nov 11, 2020- Islamabad: At the National Consultative & Advocacy meeting on Trans Fat Elimination in Pakistan, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to address the keynote. The meeting was co-hosted by Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination and World Health Organization. Keynoting the event, SAPM Dr. Nishtar emphasized on the critical need to finalize an updated National Action Plan and achieve consensus among all key stakeholders on legislative and administrative actions required for TFA elimination in Pakistan.
BISP Board meets for the 43rd time under the chair of SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar
Nov 10, 2020 – Islamabad: The 43rd board meeting of BISP was held at the BISP headquarters under the chair of SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar. BISP is one of the 34 implementing agencies of Ehsaas. The board deliberated upon an extensive 19-item agenda including expansion of Ehsaas Nashonuma, opening of mobile wallets for Ehsaas One Woman One Account initiative, establishment of Cyber Crime Control Wing, agreement with NADRA to ensure easy payments to next of kins under Ehsaas Kafaalat, constitution of steering committees for Ehsaas Nashonuma and Ehsaas Talemi-Wazaef and accident insurance coverage for monitoring teams of Ehsaas Talemi-Wazaef. A vibrant discussion took place, deep dive analysis was carried out and many important decisions were taken in the meeting. The board meeting was attended by Yusuf Khan Secretary BISP, Muhammad Ali Shahzada Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Ghufran Memon Secretary Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination, Additional Secretary (Exp.) Finance Division, and representatives of NADRA and EAD. Amongst private sector members, Zaffar A. Khan, Qazi Azmat Isa and Khawar Mumtaz attended the meeting.
Sania Nishtar keynotes Pak-China Institute’s conference on ‘Poverty Alleviation, COVID-19, and CPEC’
November 9, 2020 -Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was a chief guest and keynote speaker at a virtual conference on ‘Poverty Alleviation, COVID-19, and CPEC’ co-hosted by Pakistan-China Institute (PCI) and Center for Chinese Legal Studies, Lahore University for Management Sciences (LUMS) as part of PCI’s ‘Friends of Silk Road’ Initiative. The conference hosted eminent speakers from Pakistan and China and a large audience consisting of students, faculty, and researchers from all over Pakistan. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation, The conference featured an insightful discussion on Pakistan’s existing Poverty Alleviation Strategy, COVID-19’s impact on Pakistan’s fight against poverty, and CPEC’s role vis-à-vis alleviating poverty in the neighbouring countries. The main purpose of the conference was to explore the Poverty Alleviation Strategy of China in an attempt to understand how Pakistan can learn from and employ China’s best practices. Dr. Sania Nishtar shared Ehsaas’ poverty alleviation strategy and termed that framing the issue of poverty with the Chinese experience is a ‘welcome and relevant initiative’.
Dr. Sania Nishtar hails advent of first ever MRCP (UK) PACES exams in Pakistan
Nov 9, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited as a chief guest at a dinner hosted by the British Council in honour of the Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians UK team for bringing first ever MRCP (UK) Clinical exams, PACES to Pakistan. Dr. Sania who herself is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London was pleased to see the highly prestigious MRCP exam starting in Pakistan. Other distinguished guests included Amir Ramzan Country Director British Council, Lt. Gen. Nigar Johar Surgeon General and Maj. Gen. Imran Fazal Director General Medicine Pakistan Army. From the Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians UK, a very senior team of examiners including Dr. Donald Farquhar International Medical Director for MRCP Exams, Prof. Charles Twort, Dr. Peter Newman, Dr. Tanzeem Raza O.B.E. and Dr. Roderick Harvey were joined by their team in Pakistan led by Prof. Aamir Ghafoor Khan Lead Examiner for PACES in Pakistan and Head of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar. In Pakistan, the Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians UK conducted the clinical exam of the MRCP UK between Nov 6-8, 2020. Pakistan is the first country in the world where these international exams have been held in an era of COVID-19.
Sania Nishtar keynotes the #SheLovesTech Pakistan 2020 National Finals
November 7, 2020: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was asked to keynote the National Finals #SheLovesTech 2020; a globally acclaimed women-centric technology start-up competition in Pakistan. CIRCLE, a revolutionary tech start-up from Pakistan, organized National Finals, now the largest in the world. Connecting with incredible women entrepreneurs leading tech start-ups, Dr. Sania stated, “Economic empowerment of women is central to the agenda of Ehsaas.” In this edition, CIRCLE hosted #SheLovesTech in 10 cities (Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad Sukkur, Multan, and Faisalabad etc) across Pakistan, in addition to AJK, while working with different NGOs, academic institutes, incubators and ecosystem partners across the country. CIRCLE also brought key incubators and stakeholders on board to execute the local rounds of the competition. CIRCLE was supported by HBL, Pakistan’s leading bank to take #SheLovesTech Pakistan and grow women in technology.
Sania convenes Ehsaas Governance Observatory meeting to track the policy compliance
November 7, 2020 – Islamabad: To monitor compliance to Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy and track progress, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting attended by the ancillary organizations of the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) namely BISP, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, Trust for Voluntary Organizations and Higher Education Commission. From PASSD, Muhammad Ali Shehzada, Secretary PASSD, Dr. Ismat Tahira, Additional Secretary PASSD along with senior officials also joined the meeting. Chairing the meeting, Dr. Sania said, “The meeting is part of regular Ehsaas reviews to assess status of compliance and progress against the Governance and Integrity Policy baseline before final one-year stock take that will be conducted in Dec 2020.” She then continued, “Implementation of the Ehsaas Governance Policy and Observatory is underway since last year. Since the roll out of the governance policy and observatory, the Ehsaas entities have shown improvements in the execution of the governance reforms and we are trying to make their systems as robust as possible. Transparency and integrity is at the heart of policy and observatory.”
SAPM Dr. Sania and Minister Omer Ayub convene a meeting on power subsidies
November 6, 2020 – Islamabad: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar and Federal Minister for Power, Omar Ayub Khan convened a meeting to work out modalities of using Ehsaas data for power subsidies. Secretary Power Division, Ali Raza Bhutta and other senior officials were also present.
Ehsaas conducts meeting with experts to discuss indexation of cash transfers
November 6, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas organized a virtual consultative meeting with experts from the World Bank to explore options around indexation of cash transfers in the Ehsaas Kafaalat programme. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. “A policy decision on the indexation of cash transfers is critical in the context of COVID-19 related economic impact”, said Dr. Sania.
Sania lauds trainees of Ehsaas Women Empowerment Centre; listens to voices of the least heard segment
November 5, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Ehsaas Women Empowerment Center (WEC) in Burma Town, Islamabad. The WEC operates under the supervision of Pakistan Bait ul Mal that is one of the four main executing agencies of Ehsaas. At the centre, Dr. Nishtar met with deserving yet talented girls and women who were enrolled in complimentary skills training courses- computer literacy, beautician, dress designing and making, and hand and machine embroidery etc. She listened to the voices, concerns and suggestions of the girls. During the visit, the SAPM was joined by Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and Managing Director Pakistan Baitul Mal. As part of major reforms brought under Ehsaas, the training courses offered by all 157 WECs in the country will be certified by National Technology Board by the end of this year. This will significantly enhance the credibility and acceptance of the women’s livelihoods skills in local economy. Every year, as many as 250 girls are graduated from each WEC to start their business or a job.
Ehsaas convenes meeting to brush up the pilot execution plan of upcoming Tahafuz
Nov 4, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas team working on the upcoming Tahafuz came to table under the chair of SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar to review and brush up the pilot execution plan of the programme. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and Additional Secretary PASSD were also present. “Extensive one-year long work has been done on Ehsaas Tahafuz, Pakistan’s first shock-oriented precision safety net. This programme is aimed at protecting people from catastrophic health expenditures and is being pilot tested in one hospital, this quarter, following which it will be upscaled in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2020-21”, said Dr. Nishtar.
Sania stocktakes Ehsaas Undergrad Scholarships in field to review the success
Nov 4, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited National University of Technology (NUTECH) for policy consultation with the faculty and students who had been awarded Ehsaas Undergraduate scholarship last year. At the venue, Dr. Nishtar interacted with students to gain insights on their educational aspirations and key problems being confronted by them. Dr. Hassan Jalil Shah, Advisor Human Resource Development Division Higher Education Commission (HEC), Rao Muhammad Azhar, Project Director Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship and Rector NUTECH University were also present on the occasion. “To make the Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship programme more responsive, the voices of students are critical” said Dr. Nishtar. Students who were awarded scholarship last year and those who had applied this year gave very valuable suggestions about the programme. Overall, 49 eligible students of NUTECH were awarded Ehsaas scholarships in the year 2019-20.
Sania oversees new enrolments of children in Waseela e Taleem
Nov 4, 2020 – Islamabad: To oversee the new enrolments of deserving children in Waseela-e-Tasleem (WeT) programme, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar along with Ehsaas team visited Islamabad Model School for Girls and Mubeen Shah Model School for Boys at Jhang Syedan in the outskirts of Islamabad. During the visit, she met with the teachers, parents and children. WeT, the education conditional cash transfer programme has been ongoing for the last 8 years. The programme has undergone a massive reform with technology, now hardwired in its design, to checkmate collusion and pilferage. Sharing details of recently introduced reforms, Dr. Nishtar stated, “All institutional arrangements have been made to expand WeT, nationwide in all districts of Pakistan. 4 million primary school going children will benefit from this next year. And, under the umbrella of Ehsaas, the stipend for girls has been increased to Rs. 2,000 per quarter whereas the stipend for boys has been increased to Rs. 1,500 per quarter.”
Sania briefs masses about an ongoing Ehsaas Survey in radio programme Rabta
November 3, 2020- Islamabad: In the Radio Pakistan’s Ehsaas special episode of programme ‘Rabta’ that is a daily national broadcast, Dr. Sania Nishtar apprised listeners about an ongoing Ehsaas Survey in the country. She said, “Ehsaas is conducting a door to door survey all over the country to collect data about the socioeconomic status of households. The survey is being done through a computer assisted approach.” She then explained, “An android-based tablet application designed for geotagged survey is being utilized to capture real-time household data for this purpose. Enumerators are going door to door and collecting information at the doorstep. Further, registration desks have so far been opened in every Tehsil of 57 Districts. These desks are facilitating those households to register themselves that were missed during the survey.” Listen here.
Dr. Sania Nishtar explores options with PIDE for street vending legislation
November 2, 2020 – Islamabad: Street Vendors, have remained an integral part of the urban economy around the world. In this context, PIDE organized a webinar in which a number of experts spoke about the context in which the street vending legislation is being developed in Pakistan. Experts included Zia Banday, Development Consultant & Initiator of Street Vendors Protection Project; Ahmed Bashir, Author of Street Vendors’ Protection Bill from Ahmed Bashir & Associates Law Firm; Umer Gilani from Law & Policy Chambers Firm; and Naveed Abbasi President, Khokha Association Islamabad. Experts and advocates talked about the need for comprehensive legislation. Vice Chancellor PIDE Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haque moderated the session. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar had been invited to keynote the webinar. Addressing the keynote, Dr. Nishtar said, “We had an initial consultation on the subject in March 2020 following which COVID-19 overtook everything but now we are resuming this dialogue. PASSD will work very closely with PIDE to bring this legislative bill for the protection of street vendors and to channel this bill in the government system.” She also termed this as a very important area for empowering the urban poor.
Turkey’s world-renowned chef and internet celebrity Burak Ozdemir visits a Panagah in Islamabad
October 31, 2020 – Islamabad: Upon his arrival in Islamabad, the Turkish Chef Burak Ozdemir visited a Panagah (shelter home) at Tarlai. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar and PM’s Focal Person on Digital Media, Dr. Arsalan Khalid were also present at the Panagah. With over 476,000 followers on Twitter and a whopping 17.2million followers on Instagram, Burak is well known for his videos on serving massive portions of Turkish dishes worldwide. Few days ago, Burak in his video message on social media had shared that he would visit Pakistan this month. Sharing his plans, the renowned chef had said that he wanted to come to Pakistan and meet the people himself. At the Panagah, demonstrating his culinary delights, the celebrity chef served meal to people present and this was his only culinary demonstration in Pakistan during the four-day visit.
Dr. Sania joins Eid Milad un Nabi celebrations with children at Darul Ehsaas Orphanage
October 30, 2020 – Islamabad: To meet and greet Eid Milad-un-Nabi to the resident orphans being supported under Ehsaas, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Dar-ul-Ehsaas Centre (Orphanage) at H-13 in Islamabad. A special Milad ceremony was organized by the children of Dar-ul-Ehsaas. Dr. Nishtar distributed gifts among the children and interacted with them over the lunch. On the occasion, Aon Abbas Buppi, Managing Director Pakistan Bait ul Mal was also present. “This is the first time in the history of the country that Ehsaas Orphans and Orphanges’ Committee has developed basic operating standards to ensure quality care and service at all orphanages in the country. These standards are in their last stages of finalization and will be implemented soon nationwide”, said Dr. Nishtar. Dar-ul-Ehsaas Centres by Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal provide quality care and education to orphans across Pakistan. There are more than 50 Dar-ul-Ehsaas Centres in the country and each centre supports hundred deserving children.
Dr. Sania celebrates Eid Milad un Nabi with labourers at Panagah
October 30, 2020 – Islamabad: In connection with Eid Milad-un-Nabi, special Milad events under the aegis of Ehsaas were organized by Pakistan Bait ul Mal in all Panagahs of the federal capital. Joining religious celebrations to pay homage to the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H), SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Panagah at Mandi More in Islamabad and spent the special day with labourers and daily wage earners. Prayers, naats and speeches all took place before the special lunch was served at the culmination of the Milad event. COVID-19 safety measures and social distancing were the hallmarks of the ceremony. This was Dr. Nishtar’s first public appearance after her recent recovery from COVID-19.
Closing Date of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship applications extended till Nov 30
October 29, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar has announced an extension in the last date to submit Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship applications for the year 2020-21 till November 30, 2020. Earlier, October 30, 2020 was the last date for the submission of online scholarship applications. However, given the COVID-19 fronted delays in admission process at several public sector universities in the country, the last date for Ehsaas scholarship applications has just been revised. The decision will facilitate maximum number of fresh undergraduate students to apply for this scholarship opportunity. Since the online application portal reopened on Sep 5, 2020 as many as 30,000 applications have been received in the system so far. The Ehsaas undergraduate Scholarships are targeted at students from low income families (less than Rs. 45,000 a month) and marginalized regions to assist them in their undergraduate studies. Eligible students can apply through an online portal: https://ehsaas.hec.gov.pk/.
Dr. Sania joins the first meeting of the Lancet–Chatham House Commission on population health post COVID-19
October 29, 2020 In her capacity as one of the Commissioners, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the first meeting of Commissioners of the Lancet – Chatham House Commission on improving population health post COVID-19. The meeting aimed to map the shared drivers of pandemic protection, population health, and environmental sustainability as the basis for developing a framework to identify key actions to drive equitable improvements in human and planetary health. Other distinguished Commissioners who came to the table were- Professor Tim Benton, Royal Institute of International Affairs Chatham House London, Dr. John Amuasi, Professor at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Ghana; David P. Fidler Senior Fellow for cybersecurity and global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and the James Louis Calamaras Professor of Law (emeritus) at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law; Amandine Garde, Professor of Law at the University of Liverpool; and James Wilsdon, Digital Science Professor of Research Policy at the University of Sheffield. The Commission is co-chaired by Professor Theresa Marteau, Director of the Behaviour and Health Research Unit in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge, Director of Studies in Behavioural and Psychological Sciences at Christ’s College, Cambridge; and Harry Rutter, Professor of global public health at the University of Bath.
Dr. Sania virtually chairs the 42nd BISP board meeting
October 23, 2020: The 42nd meeting of the BISP Board was convened at the BISP headquarters in Islamabad. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar virtually chaired the meeting. The board accelerated necessary approvals for the six month Ehsaas Kafaalat tranche to be released in this quarter. Only the time sensitive agenda was discussed in the meeting. The larger 42nd Board will be convened next month.
Dr. Sania Nishtar shares transparency measures hardwired in Ehsaas Emergency Cash at the Stanford CDDRL and Delivery Associates online panel
October 21, 2020: Dr. Sania highlighted how Pakistan leveraged transparency and rule-based execution to garner public trust in Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme at the live panel webcast hosted by Delivery Associates and the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University. The session was titled, ‘how to build public trust in government’. At the occasion, Dr. Nishtar was joined by a team of panellists- Sir Michael Barber, 1st Chair of Office for Students, regulator of HE in England and Founder, Delivery Associates; Francis Fukuyama, Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute, and Mosbacher Director, CDDRL Stanford; Audrey Jiajia Li, a Chinese nonfiction writer and broadcast journalist; and Anna Grzymala-Busse, Professor of Political Science at Stanford.
Sania addresses Gairdner Global Perspectives Panel- SDGs & GH through the Pandemic Lens
October 21, 2020: At the Gairdner Global Perspectives Panel titled, “SDGs & Global Health through COVID-19 lens”, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar shared Pakistan’s lessons from the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme and the potential of end-to-end digitization to be equally and constructively disruptive for the health sector. Other eminent speakers on the panel were- Cleopatra Mugyenyi, Director, Africa Regional Office, International Center For Research On Women; Zulfiqar Bhutta, Inaugural Robert Harding Chair in Global Child Health & Inaugural Ibn Sina Scholar in Global Child Health, Hospital for Sick Children; Co-Director, SickKids Centre for Global Child Health; Quarraisha Abdool Karim, Associate Scientific Director, CAPRISA; Professor, Clinical Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York; Professor, Public Health, Nelson Mandela Medical School; Pro Vice-Chancellor (African Health), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and Salim Abdool Karim, Director, CAPRISA; CAPRISA Professor in Global Health, Columbia University, New York; Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. The Gairdner Global Perspectives Symposium was held in partnership with International Development Research Centre, Grand Challenges Canada Centre for Global Health – Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, and SickKids Centre for Global Child Health.
SAPM Sania joins Ministers of South Asian Countries at the World Bank-IMF virtual roundtable
October 21, 2020: During the virtual roundtable, “Unleashing the South Asian Century Through Human Capital For All” hosted by World Bank Group-IMF, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar discussed how Pakistan is expanding social protection post COVID-19. The event brought together Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, Acting Minister of Finance, Afghanistan; A H M Mustafa Kamal, FCA, MP, Minister, Ministry of Finance, Bangladesh; Lyonpo Namgay Tshering, Minister of Finance, Bhutan; Ibrahim Ameer, Minister of Finance, Maldives; Dr. Yuba Raj Khatiwada, Special Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, Nepal; Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Education, Sri Lanka; and Minister of Women and Children’s Development of India. The event discussed a proposed framework for action to achieve human capital acceleration in South Asia, through an engaging discussion bringing together policymakers, civil society leaders, private sector participants, and development partners.
Dr. Sania leads panel discussion at the WEF’s Jobs Reset Summit 2020
October 21, 2020, Speaking at the Jobs Reset Summit 2020 hosted by the World Economic Forum, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar emphasized that social protection must be a right. The theme of the session was, “a new vision for social protection”. Along with Dr. Nishtar, other panellists included Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Belgium; Mike Mansfield, Program Director Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement, Aegon, Netherlands; Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, United Nations, Switzerland; and Gene Zaino, Founder and Executive Chairman, MBO Partners, USA. The session was moderated by Faisal Islam, Economics Editor from BBC News, United Kingdom. The discussions focused on challenges and opportunities for updating existing social safety nets in both low and high income countries.
Sania Nishtar keynotes a Health Services Academy event on ‘Economic aspects of COVID -19’
October 20, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sani Nishtar was invited to keynote the consultative meeting hosted by Health Services Academy Pakistan. The meeting aimed to discuss ‘Economic Aspects of COVID-19 in Pakistan’. Dr. Nishtar connected virtually to keynote the event and shared lessons from the Ehsaas Emergency Cash that was rolled out by the government amid COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Ali Hamandi Health Economist, World Bank Washington D.C; Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Professor & Co-Director, Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto; Dr. Awad Mataria Director, Universal Health Coverage, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Eastern Mediterranean; and Dr. Assad Hafeez Vice Chancellor, Health Services Academy, Islamabad also spoke at the event.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi opens Ehsaas Langar in Multan
October 18, 2020 – Multan: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi inaugurated the Ehsaas Langar (soup kitchen) in Multan that serves cooked food twice daily to 1,000 people. The Ehsaas Saylani Langar has been opened at the main bus station in Multan. Vehari Chowk is an ideal place for the Langar as labourers and daily wage earners congregate to earn daily wages. As part of the Ehsaas framework, the Ehsaas Langar has been established in a public private partnership with zero cost to the government. The partnering trust (SWIT) will manage the production and distribution of food.
Sania represents Pakistan at the World Bank’s poverty open event ‘End Poverty Day 2020: Surmounting Setbacks’
Oct 17, 2020 – Washington: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited by the World Bank Group to speak at an online poverty event, ‘End Poverty Day 2020: Surmounting Setbacks’ during the Annual Meetings to highlight current challenges to poverty reduction and the urgency of redoubling our efforts to end poverty. The event focused on a fast, broad-based response to COVID-19 to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response and health care systems. Together with Dr. Sania Nishtar, the team of distinguished panellists included the World Bank Managing Director for Operations Axel van Trotsenburg; Strive Masiyiwa, African Union Special Envoy to mobilize the private sector response to COVID; CSO leaders from FCV countries- Lamis Al-Iryani from Yemen and Orzala Nemat from Afghanistan; Dominic Raab, UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs; Sarah Colenbrander, Director of ODI’s Climate and Sustainability program and Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change & Development, Bangladesh; and Ngwashi Christabel Apholung from Cameroon. The session was moderated by Larry Madowo of the BBC.
Ehsaas celebrates World Poverty Day; event highlights social and environmental protection linkages
October 17, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas hosted a high-level virtual event to celebrate the World Poverty Day. The event brought together four executing agencies of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD)- BISP, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) and Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO) along with beneficiaries of various priority programmes of Ehsaas. The main highlight of the occasion was an engaging interaction with beneficiaries of various mainstream Ehsaas programmes and initiatives particularly Ehsaas Kafaalat, Ehsaas Interest Free Loans, Ehsaas Amdan and Ehsaas Nashonuma. This session was followed by an insightful conversation with partner NGOs of TVO. Later in the day, Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund and Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal and spent the day with Ehsaas beneficiaries. Dr. Sania sat and interacted with them to gain insights on their aspirations and key problems being confronted by them. She listened to their concerns and assured full cooperation to address their problems. “To make the Ehsaas programme more responsive, the voices of the marginalized are critical”, said Dr. Nishtar.
Sania joins the ‘Regional Conversation on Social Protection’ hosted by UNESCAP
October 15, 2020 -Bangkok: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) to speak as part of the Regional Conversation on Social Protection: “A Right for All, or a Privilege for a Few?” Along with Dr. Nishtar, the high-level dialogue featured eminent personalities from across the region including Mr. Guy Ryder, ILO Director General; H.E. Ms. Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Minister of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Fiji; H.E. Mr. Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community; Ms. Haiyani Rumondang, Director General of Industrial Relations and Worker’s Social Security, Ministry of Manpower, Indonesia; Ms. Sarah Cook, Director, Institute for Global Development, University of New South Wales; and Mr. Michael Cichon, Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Governance at UNU, Maastricht. The UNESCAP is one of the five regional commissions under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It was established in order to increase economic activity in Asia and the Far East, as well as to foster economic relations between the region and other areas of the world. The Commission is composed of 53 Member States and nine Associate members, mostly from the Asia and Pacific regions.
PM visits upgraded Panagah at G-9 Islamabad, dines with labourers
October 16, 2020 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Panagah (shelter home) at G-9 in Islamabad and appreciated the improvement in infrastructure, and living and catering standards to serve the down-and-out people with dignity. The PM also interacted with the daily wagers over the dinner and inquired about facilities being provided to them at the Panagah. “The government would never worry about the funding of such facilities, if it succeeded to win the people’s confidence regarding efficiency and transparency as it would attract the donors to join the noble initiative”, said the PM. He then continued, “The employment opportunities would grow manifold in the country consequent to the government’s ongoing economic policies.” At the occasion, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar, Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) Aon Abbas Buppi and Senator Faisal Javed were also present. “The remodelling of G-9 Panagah in the federal capital is in fact the enforcement of the improved quality standards which would later be emulated across the country”, said SAPM Dr. Nishtar.
Sania presents post COVID-19 Ehsaas strategy at an Asian intergovernmental event
October 14, 2020 – Chiang Mai: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar addressed the webinar, How can we reduce inequalities in later life as societies aged? co-organized by Asian Development Bank, HelpAge International and ESCAP. The largest regional intergovernmental platform with 53 Member States and 9 associate members, ESCAP has emerged as a strong regional think-tank offering countries sound analytical products that shed insight into the evolving economic, social and environmental dynamics of the region. The objective of the webinar, taking Asia’s population ageing into consideration, was to strengthen clarity and consensus about the priority steps governments can take to reduce inequality among older people in two dimensions: healthy longevity and income security. Alongside the presentation by Dr. David E. Bloom, Professor of Economics and Demography, Harvard University from Harvard University, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was joined by Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Senior Advisor at the Khazanah Research Institute, Malaysia. Bringing post COVID-19 Ehsaas perspective to the table, SAPM Dr. Nishtar shared steps being taken by the government of Pakistan to address the needs of the elderly during the COVID-19 crisis more broadly as part of social protection under Ehsaas.
SAPM Sania Nishtar reviews upgradation work at G-9 Panagah
October 14, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Panagah located at G-9 in Islamabad. The visit aimed to review the upgradation work at the Panagah that is in its final stages of completion under the supervision of Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal. During the visit, MD Pakistan Bait -ul-Mal briefed the SAPM about changes being made to improve living standards of G-9 Panagah. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and other senior officials of Ehsaas were also present at the occasion.
Sania outlines measures to address tokenism in policymaking at 2020 WLGH Conference
October 13, 2020 – Washington: At the 2020 Women Leaders in Global Health Conference (WLGH), SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to join the high-level plenary panel, ‘Making Policy with a Gender Lens – Spotlight on South Asia’. The panel brought together some of the most powerful women in South Asia’s public sector to explore how gender influences their work, how they have helped advance the equality agenda, and what having women at the decision-making tables means for people’s health and wellbeing across the region. Leading the panel discussion, Dr. Nishtar outlined measures to address tokenism in policymaking. She emphasized on the power of data disaggregation by gender and its use for accountability. Alongside Dr. Nishtar, the panel included Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP Speaker from Bangladesh Parliament, Suraya Dalil, Director Special Programme on Primary Health Care from World Health Organization and Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for South-East Asia from World Health Organization.
Sania addresses high-level South Asian event at World Bank-IMF Annual Meeting
October 13, 2020 – Washington: During the World Bank Group-IMF Annual Meeting, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar participated as a panellist in an event, ‘Protecting South Asia’s Poor and Vulnerable Against COVID-19 and Beyond’. The South Asian event focused on the social protection programs as a cornerstone of relief and longer-term recovery. This virtual event was a direct contribution to the central theme of the Annual Meetings of Supporting a Resilient Recovery: building resilience, improving inclusion, promoting economic growth, and sustaining businesses and jobs. At the high-level panel, Dr. Nishtar was joined by Special Economic Advisor to the PM of Nepal, Executive Director of BRAC Bangladesh, Professor of Cornell University and Indian Minister for Textiles and Minister for Women and Child Development. Sharing the scale and ambition of Ehsaas in the context of COVID-19, Dr. Nishtar highlighted the new Ehsaas post COVID-19 strategy, fast-tracked live news socio-economic registry to make it shock responsive, and acceleration of programs to address the needs of the vulnerable, particularly those in the informal sector.
Sania and CM KP Mehmood Khan agree on the roadmap to upgrade Panagah standards across KP
October 9, 2020 – Peshawar: During her visit to KP, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar met Chief Minister KP Mehmood Khan in Peshawar. The meeting discussed roadmap for upgradation of Panagahs in KP. Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Aon Abbas Bappi was also present. Prime Minister Imran Khan has given special instructions to upgrade the standards of Panagahs countrywide. Federal and KP governments agreed to collaborate on improving the standards of Panagahs and identified areas of collaboration to implement Panagah standards developed by Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal under Ehsaas. Details were discussed for federal provincial partnership and coordination to improve standards of Panagahs in KP. In the first phase, living and catering standards of existing Panagahs in KP will be improved along the lines of those formulated for Islamabad Panagahs. In this regard, MoU will be signed soon between Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal and the Government of KP. The cost sharing arrangement in this regard have also been agreed upon.
Sania reviews Ehsaas Registrations Desks in Charsadda
October 9, 2020 – Charsadda: While in KP, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Charsadda to review the Ehsaas Registration Desks. Under the umbrella of Ehsaas, the special purpose registration desks are being mobilized in all districts where phase one of the Ehsaas National Socio-economic Registry Survey has been completed. The purpose is that households whose survey has not been conducted for any reason can come forward to self-register themselves in the Ehsaas programme. Charsadda is one of the districts in KP where registration desks have been opened in every Tehsil. Dr. Sania visited the registration desks to see operations. She interacted with staff who were present and with both men and women who were lined up for registration. Dr. Sania spent a lot of time with the people especially finding out about difficulties they were facing during the registration process.
Sania reviews Ehsaas data security arrangements at NTC Headquarters
October 8, 2020- Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar along with senior officials of Ehsaas IT team visited National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) headquarters to review Ehsaas data security arrangements. Managing Director NTC, Brig. (R) Viqar Rashid Khan and NTC senior officers warmly welcomed the SAPM and Ehsaas team. Dr. Nishtar visited the National Data Center at NTC and appreciated the establishment of the Cloud based Tier-III, ISO certified National Data Center (NDC). The SAPM praised NTC’s support to Ehsaas for providing the necessary connectivity and data centre facilities for initiatives taken by Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division. Ehsaas is moving swiftly on a dynamic digital Social Ecosystem for facilitating the disadvantaged populations.
Dr. Sania keynotes international meeting hosted by Indonesian government
October 8, 2020 – Jakarta: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to keynote the “International Webinar on Integration and Digitization of G2P Programs” in Indonesia. The webinar was hosted by the Ministry of National Development Planning, Republic of Indonesia. The event was attended by Indonesian central and regional policymakers, academia and research institutes, civil society organizations, development partners, and delegates from countries that have carried out similar transformations. Keynoting the meeting, Dr. Sania Nishtar outlined that financial and digital inclusion for 7 million individuals (90% women) is one of the seven, time bound outcome-based goals of Ehsaas. “We believe savings, payments, insurance, and credit have a significant impact on individuals’ abilities to escape poverty”, she said. Further adding, she shared, “Access to formal credit can help the poor break free from a cycle of debt that perpetuates poverty; digital and financial inclusion agenda and use of mobile phones are particularly relevant in this regard.”
SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar briefs PM on Panagah upgradation and expansion plan
October 5, 2020 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran chaired the meeting to discuss the remodelling and expansion plan for Panagahs. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM on current year’s plan to upgrade Panagahs in Islamabad to one star bed and breakfast facility with meals, essentials, hygiene and security and to expand them across the country. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Additional Secretary PASSD, Managing Director Pakistan Baitul-Mal and other senior officers attended the meeting.
Pakistan National Nutrition Coordination Council meets under the chair of the Prime Minister
October 5, 2020 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the meeting of Pakistan National Nutrition Coordination Council (PNNCC). PNNCC is country’s coordination body at federal level on nutrition and all allied matters. The federal government of Pakistan has institutionalized the inter-ministerial PNNCC, chaired by the Prime Minister Imran Khan and there are 8 Cabinet Ministers in the Council. This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that the inter-ministerial PNNCC has been created to steer nutrition specific agenda in the country. Dr. Sania Nishtar SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation is the Vice-Chair and hosts the secretariat of the Council. Other Cabinet Members in the Council are: Syed Fakhar Imam Minister for National Food Security and Research, Asad Umar Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Dr. Fehmida Mirza Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination, Shafqat Mehmood Minister for Education and Professional Training, Abdul Razak Dawood Advisor to the PM on Commerce and Investment, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh Advisor to the PM on Finance and Revenue, Malik Amin Aslam Khan Advisor to the PM on Climate Change, Dr. Faisal Sultan SAPM on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Chief Secretaries of all four provinces, GB and AJK, Federal Secretaries and experts from UNICEF and SUN. To provide visibility of nutrition specific data across the country, the Ehsaas Nashonuma portal and dashboard unveiled in the meeting can be accessed here.
Pakistan one of the top ranked countries in Asia with highest response to social protection amid COVID-19: International Policy Center for Inclusive Growth
October 5, 2020: At a global e-conference hosted by the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG), Pakistan was labelled as one of the top ranked countries in Asia having the highest response to social protection amid COVID-19 pandemic. This new study was conducted by UNICEF, UN and IPC-IG to assess social protection response in Asia focusing on an extensive mapping and overview of how social protection measures were deployed by the countries in Asia and the Pacific region in the response to the COVID-19 crisis. The study reveals that Pakistan covers highest number of responses to social protection in Asia through Ehsaas Emergency Cash. “Afghanistan included many humanitarian interventions; hence Pakistan tops the list”, says Marina Andrade, researcher from IPC-IG team. Social protection.org is the key initiative of IPC-IG which is supported by Governments of Australia and Germany and is an influential forum of social protection. The country panel on Asia Pacific brought together SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar, Bapak Maliki, Director of Poverty Alleviation and Social Welfare Indonesia and H.E. Theng Pagnathun, Delegate of Royal Government of Cambodia in charge of Director General of Planning who discussed social protection responses to COVID-19 in their respective countries.
President Dr. Arif Alvi emphasizes the need for developing a centralized national database on all diseases, including breast cancer
Oct 2, 2020- Islamabad: Chairing a meeting at Aiwan e Sadar, regarding data collection of Breast Cancer in Pakistan, President Dr. Arif Alvi said, “Pakistan currently lacks a comprehensive centralized database on health issues and there is a need to make integrated data available to effectively combat diseases.” SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Dr. Faisal Sultan and MD Pakistan Bait ul Mal also attended the meeting. SAPM Dr. Sania underscored the need to rasie awareness among the people about the breast cancer.
Dr. Sania reviews progress of Ehsaas Governance Observatory
October 2, 2020 -Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting to review the progress on the Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy and Observatory that was officially approved by the Cabinet and launched in November 2019. The policy is binding on the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and its executing agencies- the BISP, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, and Trust for Voluntary Organizations. With an aim to discourage corruption and ensure rule-based control on the use of public resources and to promote efficiency, transparency, and accountability of results, Ehsaas has institutionalized this Governance Policy and Observatory as one of its 135 programs and policy initiatives. Taking stock of the progress of all four executing agencies of PASSD, Dr. Nishtar commented, “Work on the Ehsaas Governance Observatory has been ongoing for the last one year. We did a progress review today; the one year-stock take against the December 2019 baselines will be taken in December 2020. All Poverty Division agencies implementing Ehsaas are meant to comply with the Governance and Integrity Policy. The Ehsaas Governance Observatory is meant to gauge the status of compliance with the Policy. We accord high priority to integrity in governance and delivery.”
Ehsaas and PBM set key milestones for the next quarter
Oct 1, 2020- Islamabad: A meeting was held with Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) to discuss the key milestones for the next quarter under the Ehsaas framework. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. Dr. Nishtar was joined by Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Additional Secretary PASSD, Managing Director PBM and Deputy Managing Director PBM. PBM is one of the executing agencies of Ehsaas responsible for demand side social protection.
Steering Committee of Ehsaas Tahafuz shapes up the pilot roll out plan
Oct 1, 2020- Islamabad: The steering committee of Ehsaas Tahafuz came to the table to shape up the pilot roll out of the this upcoming program. The meeting was chaired by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and Additional Secretary PASSD were also present. Tahafuz is a precision safety net designed to protect the vulnerable against catastrophic shocks through one-time financial assistance.
SAPM Sania Nishtar chairs the third Ehsaas Risk Management and Assurance Committee meeting
September 30, 2020 – Islamabad: To step up and step forward with the agenda to establish the Cybercrime Wing within Ehsaas, the third Risk Management and Assurance Committee meeting was convened at Ehsaas office. The meeting was chaired by SAPM Sania Nishtar. The committee discussed the process for the establishment of Cybercrime Wing. SAPM, Sania Nishtar said, “The move has been taken to protect masses from frauds being done under the name of the Ehsaas program.” The Cybercrime Wing is being set up at BISP (one of the executing agencies of Ehsaas) with the objective of using digital technology to tighten the noose around the fraudsters who deceive Ehsaas beneficiaries.
President and CEO of Nutrition International presents their Nutrition strategy to Ehsaas
September 30, 2020 – Ottawa: President and CEO of Nutrition International, Joel Spicer together with his global and country teams came to the table with Ehsaas to discuss areas of collaboration. Joel Spicer gave virtual presentation to SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar on the strategy and work of Nutrition International across Pakistan over the past 19 years. In the meeting, Dr. Nishtar was also joined by Dr. Mandana Arabi, Vice President Global Technical Services, Ann Witteveen, Vice President, Operations and Dr. Shabina Raza, Country Director Pakistan. Nutrition International works in Pakistan to improve the health of the vulnerable, especially women and children, through better nutrition.
Deadline of Ehsaas Cash payments extended: Payments to those with biometric failure and to the families of dead to continue till Oct 30, 2020
September 30, 2020 – Islamabad: Taking to twitter, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar has announced that Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments to those with biometric failures and families of dead beneficiaries will be continuing nationwide till October 30, 2020. However, the previously defined last date for filing applications till September 30, 2020 remains unchanged. Applications are closing today for beneficiaries facing biometric issues and families of dead. Formerly, September 30, 2020 was the last date for disbursements to eligible beneficiaries under Ehsaas Emergency Cash. But for now, aiming to facilitate smooth payments, the last date of cash disbursements has been extended till the end of October 2020 as long as the application is submitted till September 30, 2020. Expediting the payment process to remaining Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries, the listing and inspection procedures are underway and customized payment responses to all eligible applicants will be sent accordingly so that emergency cash transfer operations across the country get completed within due time frame.
Dr. Sania Nishtar highlights Ehsaas nutrition approach at an event hosted by Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition and FAO
September 29, 2020 – Rome: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to speak at the online launch event for the Global Panel’s new Foresight 2.0 report: ‘Future Food Systems: For people, our planet, and prosperity’, co-hosted by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, and FAO in Italy. Being a member of the Global Panel’s High-Level Stakeholder Group who had contributed to Global Panel’s report, Dr. Nishtar shared her perspectives of the report alongside Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of the Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, WHO and Diane Holdorf, Food Director World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Speaking at the high-level panel, Dr. Nishtar stated, “Policy makers must address planetary and dietary challenges simultaneously, since they are so fundamentally interlinked. The report makes concrete recommendations on the practical steps which need to be taken in a process of transition, leading to a transformed future food system. And, food system transformation cannot be achieved without ‘pro-poor’ policies that support economic growth as well as social protection policies.” Further adding, she said, “Tackling nutrition in the country, the Government of Pakistan has institutionalized the inter-ministerial ‘Pakistan National Nutrition Coordination Council’ (PNNCC), chaired by the PM and there are 8 Cabinet Ministers in the Council. Another substantive initiative is the recent launch of Ehsaas Nashonuma that is a conditional cash transfer program pegged on addressing stunting and nutrition outcomes among children under two years of age, and pregnant and lactating mothers.” The newly launched Global Panel’s report can be accessed here.
Pakistan and Chile co-host a high-level poverty event at UNGA; PM Imran Khan along with 5 Heads of State demonstrate commitment to tackle poverty
September 24, 2020 – New York: Pakistan and Chile co-hosted a very special event today titled, ‘Poverty at a crossroad: using leadership and the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)’ at this year’s UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York to address the use of MPI and leadership to build back better as poverty reduction is currently at a crossroad. This high-level event was virtually convened on behalf of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN.org), a South-South network of senior officials from 60 national governments and 20 international institutions that champions the use of multidimensional poverty measures alongside monetary measures at both the national and global levels. The session was co-hosted by Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Pakistan and Karla Rubilar, Minister Social Development and Families, Chile. The event brought together expertise and policy influence from 6 heads of State- Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Sebastian Piñera, President of Chile, Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica, Juan Orlando Hernández, President of Honduras and KP Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal. Pakistan is emerging as a global leader in poverty alleviation. At the occasion, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan addressed the event through a video message. Ehsaas being the massive social protection and poverty alleviation programme in the history of Pakistan was showcased to create awareness and work on the poverty alleviation discourse in collaboration with leaders from around the world. Full footage here.
Pakistan’s COVID-19 response globally lauded at high-level CGD event
Sep 22, 2020 – Washington D.C.: A high-level global thinktank, Center for Global Development (CGD), hosted an international forum, ‘Coping with COVID-19: The Pakistan Experience’ that brought together Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar and Dr. Reza Baqir, Governor of the State Bank to exhibit the success of the Pakistan’s smart lockdown strategy and Corona relief package tackling COVID-19 restrictions. In this high-level panel discussion, the three panellists were virtually joined by two international experts, Dr. Kalipso Chalkidou from Global Health team at CGD and Dr. Alan Gelb who leads a workstream on the use of digital ID systems for safety nets in Pakistan and other countries. SAPM Dr. Nishtar shared the know how gained through the design and roll out of Ehsaas Emergency Cash, as well as the operational challenges encountered and how they were addressed. International experts highly lauded Pakistan’s whole of the government approach to address the socio-economic damage induced by the Corona crisis. They acknowledged the digital capabilities that were leveraged for the implementation of Ehsaas Emergency Cash which led to better outcomes than most other countries. Centred in Washington D.C. and London, CGD extends worldwide advisory support capitalized on policy and research to alleviate global poverty and make better lives.
SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar inspects the upgradation work at Peshawar More Panagah and Langar
September 21, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited the Panagah and Langar at Peshawar More, Islamabad along with Ehsaas team. The visit aimed to inspect the upgradation work of Panagah and Langar being administered by Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM). Managing Director PBM, Aon Abbas Buppi briefed Dr. Nishtar about the remodelling work underway at the facility to serve the labourers with dignity and quality. Dr. Nishtar also took round of the Panagah and Langar, and interacted with labourers. As per instructions of the Prime Minister, after the remodeling of first Panagah at Tarlai in the first week of September 2020, the prioritized living and catering standards are being implemented in all five Panagahs of Islamabad. Panagahs not only provide shelter to labourers but also meals for them.
Sania Nishtar keynotes the SCB Women in Tech event celebrating women entrepreneurs
Sep 21, 2020 – Karachi: Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan invited SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar to keynote the closing event of Women in Tech program that celebrated aspiring women entrepreneurs. The event announced names of winners of the program. Some seven women led companies won up to Rs 1.5 million in seed grants. Inspiring young women entrepreneurs, Dr. Nishtar remarked, “To ensure that women beneficiaries are not underrepresented, ambition of Ehsaas is to skew critical initiatives towards women, by ensuring that at least 50% of all beneficiaries targeted by the program across initiatives are women. To assist with this, the fifty percent and plus benefits for women are squarely embedded in all 140 Ehsaas programs, police and initiatives.” Standard Chartered had launched Women in Tech (SCWomenInTech) in Pakistan in March 2019. This program is aimed to promote the economic and social development of women in Pakistan through innovation or technology led entrepreneurship.
Dr. Sania releases an instructional video on the Ehsaas Emergency Cash – Facilitation Portal
September 17, 2020 -Islamabad: “All eligible Emergency Cash beneficiaries with biometric challenges who will apply through the new Ehsaas Facilitation Portal will receive fresh disbursement messages with date and bank branch details from 8171 service and the process is being expedited nationwide to facilitate easy payments”, explained SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar in her recently tweeted instructional video. The instructional video describes how applications can be submitted online on the portal (http://complaints.pass.gov.pk/) following three easy steps. Beneficiaries faced with biometric issues just need to provide name, CNIC number and phone number for the application. With the submission of these credentials, the applicant will get the tracking number for each application. As part of the process, beneficiaries will be contacted soon by Ehsaas on the given phone numbers to facilitate payments in the last two weeks. Payments to families of dead beneficiaries and those with biometric verification issues will continue till September 30. The video can be watched here.
Ehsaas opens portal to facilitate emergency cash beneficiaries in last 15 days
September 16, 2020 -Islamabad: Taking measures to resolve payment issues being encountered by eligible applicants of Ehsaas Emergency Cash, an online portal has been introduced under the banner of Ehsaas. Officially, emergency cash transfers under Ehsaas have sunset countrywide on Sep 15, 2020, however, disbursements to families of dead beneficiaries and those confronted with biometric verifications will go on till Sep 30, 2020. To assist with this, the new portal has been opened online to solicit applications from eligible beneficiaries in a simple three- step process. As part of the easy solution, all applicants with issues in biometric payments can now create their applications by entering name, CNIC number and contact number on the portal. With the submission of online application, the portal instantaneously auto-generates the unique reference number for each applicant. In line with rule -based procedures, applicants are being contacted by Ehsaas on the phone numbers keyed in at the time of web-applications. “All people with biometric challenges who will apply through this new application portal will receive new disbursement messages with date and bank branch details from 8171 service and the process is being expedited nationwide to facilitate easy payments”, reiterated SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar. The portal can be accessed here.
EU Heads of Missions briefed about flagship Ehsaas
September 16, 2020 -Islamabad: Heads of Missions of the European Union and Member States commended Ehsaas as the largest and most extensive social protection intervention in the country. This was expressed at the Ehsaas briefing hosted by Ambassador of European Union to Pakistan H.E. Androulla Kaminara in Islamabad. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to brief the EU diplomats about the successes, digital innovations and useful lessons from the Ehsaas programme that is comprised of more than 135 multi-sectoral policies, actions and initiatives. Outlining details of Ehsaas and particularly Ehsaas Emergency Cash, Dr. Nishtar highlighted commitment of the government towards welfare of the disadvantaged in the country. “Digital infrastructure set up over the course of the last year to implement Ehsaas was drawn upon to carry out the Rs. 203 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash within just ten days of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Leveraging digital innovations, the emergency cash program is delivering one-time cash assistance of USD 75 each to 16.9 million needy families across Pakistan which given family size, benefits more than 109 million people”, shared Dr. Nishtar. Heads of EU Missions to Pakistan showed profound interest to strengthen collaboration between Ehsaas and European Union Missions to Pakistan.
Dr. Sania Nishtar addresses global virtual event to launch ‘The Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission Report’
September 15, 2020: The Lancet Commission on Reframing Non-Communicable Diseases and Injuries (NCDI) for the Poorest Billion (Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission) hosted a global virtual event to launch the Commission’s report and spark a new movement around one of the world’s biggest and most neglected health disparities: NCDIs that kill and disable millions of people in the poorest countries. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was a panellist on session titled, “NCDI and Poverty: How Do We Change Business as Usual? In this high-level panel discussion, Dr. Nishtar was joined by Matshidiso Moeti from WHO AFRO, Lea Kilenga from Africa Sickle Cell Organization and Agnes from Binagwaho, Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission. Addressing the panel, Dr. Nishtar highlighted, “For too long, we have neglected NCDs & injuries for those in poverty. WHO needs to broaden beyond the 4×4 framework for NCDs.” The event marked the publication of the Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission report, which provides the clearest picture yet of the burden of NCDs and injuries on the world’s poorest billion and calls for urgent action to address it. The report can be accessed here.
Ehsaas shifts to accrual accounting system
September 15, 2020 – Islamabad: Under the overarching Ehsaas framework, BISP becomes the first organization in the social sector institutions of the government to adopt modern and efficient way of maintaining its financials on International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) Accrual basis. In line with the Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy that is binding on the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and its ancillary organizations, books of accounts within BISP are being shifted from legacy cash to accrual basis. Commenting on this institutional reform, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar tweeted, “Sitting under the umbrella of Ehsaas, we have successfully launched first phase of transition to accrual accounting within BISP for improving financial planning and management in accordance with best international practices.” Continuing, she said, “Adopting accrual accounting for financial reporting is intended to further the credibility and resilience of public finances under Ehsaas and helps to unlock the benefits of programme resources.”
SAPM Sania Nishtar connects with senior management of UNDP Global to explore potential synergies
September 14, 2020: To explore options for strategic collaboration around digitally centred social welfare in Pakistan, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation connected with senior management of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global. In the virtual meeting, Dr. Nishtar was joined by Head of Strategic Innovation UNDP Global, Giulio Quaggiotto, Innovation Specialist UNDP Asia Pacific Alexandru Oprunenco and Resident Rep a.i. UNDP Pakistan Aliona Niculita. The meeting discussed potential synergies between Ehsaas and UNDP on the future of governance for poverty, social safety and digital transformation.
Sania Nishtar visits Ehsaas projects in Multan over the weekend
September 12, 2020 – Multan: As disbursements of Ehsaas Emergency Cash draw close to the conclusion throughout the country by September 15, 2020, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution point at Aligarh Model School and College in Multan to gain insights from the field. In the campsite, biometrically enabled payments were being made to eligible beneficiaries through several booths operated by authorized retail agents of partnering bank. Dr. Nishtar spoke to several beneficiaries who had come to withdraw emergency cash, listened to their problems and issued instructions to Ehsaas team to facilitate easy payments at the earliest. Later, Dr. Nishtar visited the Ehsaas Langar adjacent to the main bus terminal of Multan that is in its final stages of construction to open next week. The district government of Multan collaborated with Ehsaas to provide the site for Langar. The Langar when ready, will serve cooked food twice daily to 1,000 labourers.
Sania Nishtar visits Ehsaas Nashonuma Centre and reviews Ehsaas survey operations at Rajanpur
September 11, 2020 – Rajanpur: Aiming to inspect the quality of service delivery in the field under newly launched Ehsaas Nashonuma programme, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Ehsaas Nashonuma centre at Tehsil Headquarters Hospital Jampur in district Rajanpur. She was joined by Country Director World Food Programme, Christopher Kaye and senior officials from Ehsaas. At the venue, Dr. Nishtar was briefed on various services being provided to pregnant and lactating Ehsaas beneficiaries and their children under one roof. The SAPM interacted with the staffers and beneficiary women present at the facility and watched an awareness video on addressing stunting in children that had been made in Saraiki language. Later in the day, Dr. Nishtar together with her team reviewed ongoing Ehsaas National Socio-economic Registry survey operations in the field at Jampur through a live demonstration. The survey is currently under way in all Tehsils of Rajanpur. Checking the quality of the survey exercise, she enrolled the household herself at their doorstep through an android based application.
Dr. Sania Nishtar directs the formation of Cyber Crime Wing for Ehsaas
September 8, 2020 – Islamabad: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar has approved the formation of the Cyber Crime Wing. “In order to protect the interests of Ehsaas beneficiaries, I have directed the management to expedite the establishment of the “Cyber Crime Wing” in BISP for the purpose of preventing and controlling incidents where criminal elements commit fraud using digital technology,” said Nishtar in a tweet post. Those involved in the fraud will be dealt with an iron hand, she vowed. The Cyber Crime Wing will be set up at BISP with the aim of using digital technology in cracking down on the corrupt elements who fool the masses with deception and forgery. Dr. Nishtar has directed Ehsaas management to complete the process for formation of this wing as soon as possible.
Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship portal reopens to receive online applications for academic year 2020-21
September 8, 2020 – Islamabad: The Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship portal has been reopened to receive fresh applications for the academic year 2020-21. All students with family income less than 45,000, studying in any year of an undergraduate program in any of the 119 public sector universities recognized by Higher Education Commission (HEC) are eligible to apply. Eligible students can apply through an online portal: https://ehsaas.hec.gov.pk/. The portal is open to new applications till October 30, 2020. Every year, 50,000 students from low-income families will be awarded Ehsaas scholarships for 4 to 5-year undergraduate degree programs. For the year 2019-20, scholarships worth Rs. 4.827 billion were awarded to 50,762 undergraduate students nationwide. Commenting on the paradigm shift in the scholarship policy of the government, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “This program represents three major paradigm shifts. First, this is the largest-ever needs-based scholarship program. Second, it is the largest-ever national scholarship program and third, it is focused on enhancing the earning potential of recipients.”
PM visits the remodelled Panagah at Tarlai Islamabad
September 7, 2020 – Islamabad: In line with his vision of developing Pakistan as an Islamic welfare state, PM visited the newly upgraded model Panagah at Tarlai Islamabad. Following the PM’s directives to re-model Islamabad based Panagahs last month, this is the first prototype shelter home that has been overhauled in less than a month with improved infrastructure, and catering and living standards to serve the daily wage earners and laborers with dignity and quality. In the next quarter, the prioritized service delivery standards will be replicated across the board in all 5 Panagahs of federal capital and will be expanded countrywide later. Addressing labourers being served at the Panagah, the PM stated, “The poor don’t have voice and they will never object. This is our duty to service them with quality and dignity.” At the occasion, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM about remodelled administrative structure and improved service standards at Panagah. “Leveraging on IT capabilities, the living standards have been restructured in collaboration with Pakistan Bait ul Mal featuring enhanced infrastructure for food catering and living, security protocols, standardized capacity, organized HR, eligibility criteria, effective monitoring, regulated donations and financial details.” The Prime Minister also took round of the facility and interacted with labourers and daily wagers over the dinner. Footage here.
Sania Nishtar keynotes a webinar on Digital Health in COVID-19: Sharing Experiences of COMSATS’ South Asian Member States
Sep 7, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to keynote at a webinar on, Digital Health in COVID-19: Sharing Experiences of COMSATS’ South Asian Member States. Addressing the webinar, Dr. Nishtar shared social protection experience from the Ehsaas Emergency Cash program that was rolled out nationwide to tackle socio-economic crunch induced by COVID-19 pandemic. ‘Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash not only offers a way forward during the COVID-19 crisis, but also learnings for the post COVID-19 interventions. The program has reached out nearly half the population of world’s fifth populous country’, said Dr. Nishtar. At the webinar, Dr. Nishtar was joined by High Commissioners of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
New World Bank Country Director calls on SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar
Sep 7, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was called on by Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director at Ehsaas offices in the federal capital. This was the first visit of Benhassine since he took the charge as the World Bank Country Director to Pakistan. Welcoming Benhassine, Dr. Nishtar apprised him about the flagship Ehsaas program that is aimed to reduce inequality, invest in people, and lift lagging districts. “Ehsaas is about the creation of a ‘welfare state’ by countering elite capture and leveraging 21st century tools- such as using data and technology to create precision safety nets; promoting financial inclusion and access to digital services; supporting the economic empowerment of women; focusing on the central role of human capital formation for poverty eradication, economic growth and sustainable development; and overcoming financial barriers to accessing health and post-secondary education.” The courtesy call also discussed post COVID-19 collaborations. Benhassine applauded the scale and depth of multifaceted Ehsaas programs, policies and actions.
Dr. Sania reviews Ehsaas operations in Neelam Valley, visits affected households
September 5, 2020 – Neelam Valley: Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited the Jura sector near the Line of Control in Neelam Valley to review arrangements for Ehsaas Cash disbursal to all families residing in villages around the LoC. Dr. Nishtar oversaw digital disbursement of Rs. 12,000 Ehsaas Cash handouts to vulnerable families living along the LoC. The SAPM interacted with women who came at the Jura Bazar site to collect cash grants. Under Ehsaas, the government is disbursing some Rs. 3 billion among all the families residing in 219 villages across the LoC. “All families in 219 villages across LoC in AJK are under the persistent risk of unprovoked attacks and have sacrificed their lives, livestock, and properties. So, all families in these villages have been included in the Ehsaas program”, said Dr. Nishtar. She also met with victim families in Jura Bazar who had suffered severe damage to their properties as a result of unprovoked attacks by Indian troops. Dr. Nishtar lauded measures being taken by the district administration and Pakistan Army for provision of financial assistance to poor along the LoC.
SAPM Dr. Nishtar visits newly upgraded Panagah at Tarlai to review arrangements
Sep 3, 2020 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited the newly upgraded Panagah (shelter home) at Tarlai to review arrangements. Leveraging IT infrastructure, the catering and living standards at the Panagah have significantly been improved to serve the daily wage earners with utmost dignity and safety. The upgradation work is just nearing the completion under the supervision of one of the key executing agencies of Ehsaas, Pakistan Bait ul Mal (PBM). Following the approval of Ehsaas Panagah Strategy by the Prime Minister in August 2020, this is the first Panagah in the federal capital that that has been revamped with the improvement and expansion in scope of services particularly boarding & lodging, and dining. Other Panagahs in Islamabad will be revamped soon on the same standards. During the visit, MD PBM Aon Abbas Buppi briefed SAPM Dr. Nishtar on the progress of renovation and restructuring in progress at the facility. At the Panagah, Dr. Nishtar sat with labourers being served and took dinner with them. She also interacted with labourers to get their feedback on the service delivery. The SAPM was accompanied by Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Additional Secretary PASSD and Focal Person on Panagahs at the occasion.
Dr. Sania’s article published in Project Syndicate gets coverage in 11 countries
September 2, 2020: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation has penned an op-ed titled, ‘How cash transfers prevent lockdown tragedies’ that was published in Project Syndicate on August 19, 2020. The same article has been translated in 9 languages and published in 11 countries worldwide including Thailand, Jordan, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tonga, Middle East and Pakistan. Narrating her Ehsaas Emergency Cash experience, Dr. Nishtar stated, ‘COVID-19 has decimated livelihoods worldwide, squeezing the middle class and pushing low-income households into abject poverty. Social-protection programs such as Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash offer not only a path forward during the pandemic, but also valuable lessons for the future. We are deeply humbled to have supported more than 14.69 million COVID-19 lockdown affected families to-date.’ Read op-ed here.
Radio Program Raabta: Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship portal re-opening on Sep 5 to receive fresh applications
Sep 2, 2020 -Islamabad: Participating in Radio Program Raabta, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar apprised listeners about the Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship application portal that is re-opening on Sep 5, 2020 to receive applications for the academic year 2020-21. Taking live calls of Ehsaas Emergency Cash applicants, she guided them about their eligibility and withdrawal mechanism in the emergency cash program. During the program, Dr. Nishtar was assisted by Cash Expert Ahmer Athar and MIS Expert Rana Khurram from Ehsaas team. Listen here.
Radio Program Raabta: Dr. Sania advises Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries to report Fake SMS messages on helpline: 0335-1058050/51
September 1, 2020 – Islamabad: Speaking to beneficiaries and applicants of Ehsaas Emergency Cash in a radio program, Raabta, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar shared details about the reporting process for fake SMS messages offering financial assistance in the name of Ehsaas. She advised listeners not to pay attention to such false messages that come from any number other than 8171. All Ehsaas correspondence with beneficiaries takes place only through its official SMS code service 8171. “To report fraudulent SMS complaints, Ehsaas has deployed two mobile lines for general public: 0335-1058050 and 0335-1058051. People are encouraged to report all false SMS messages relating to Ehsaas on the given numbers so that measures can be taken against criminal elements.” Listen here.
Radio Program Raabta: Govt extends date of Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments till Sep 15; Dr. Sania
August 31, 2020 – Islamabad: Interacting with listeners on national hook up radio program, Raabta, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar announced extension in the deadline for receiving the payments under Ehsaas Emergency Cash till September 15 for convenience of eligible applicants. “Relatives of the deceased and beneficiaries facing bio-metric verification issues will be able to receive their due payments up to 15 days (till September 30) after the extended closing date, Dr. Nishtar shared this while answering phone calls in live program. Earlier, the closing date for the payments was August 31 which has now been extended up to mid of September. Listen here.
Sania joins SUN Lead Group Consultation on the SUN Strategy 3.0
Aug 31, 2020 – Geneva: For the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Executive Committee to brief the SUN Lead Group on the process to develop the draft 3.0 strategy and the key shifts proposed in the draft strategy, a consultative meeting was convened virtually by SUN Secretariat. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the meeting in capacity of Lead Group Member together with Gerda Verburg, Coordinator of the SUN Movement and Assistant Secretary-General. The consultation was moderated by Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director UNICEF and Chair SUN Lead Group. Addressing the meeting, Dr. Nishtar said, “We need to sharpen the way, we communicate what SUN does, especially at the government level. This can be rallied as a starting point for funding and other actions.” The SUN 2.0 strategy (2015-2020) ends this year. A Movement-wide consultation is taking place between 4 August and 4 September 2020, collecting feedback to shape SUN’s future direction together.
Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship portal will open on Sep 5 to receive applications for year 2020-21
August 31, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship steering committee came to the table for the sixth time to review the progress for the academic sessions 2019-20 and strategize next steps for 2020-21. The meeting conferred the overall progress of the Ehsaas scholarships worth Rs. 4.827 billion being awarded to 50,762 undergraduate students (38% girls) for the year 2019-20. The steering committee also took stock of the pattern followed for scholarship distribution and disbursements to 119 public sector universities. It was decided that the Ehsaas application portal will open on Sep 5, 2020 to receive applications for the year 2020-21. The Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship project is being governed by the steering committee, co-chaired by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar and Chairman HEC Dr. Tariq Banuri. Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Nishtar stated, “Overall, 50,000 undergraduate scholarships (50% girls) will be given every year to enhance financial access to higher education for the deserving. This four-year, Rs. 24 billion scholarship programme will support 200,000 students from low income backgrounds.”
Radio Program Raabta: Payments to families of dead beneficiaries and those with biometric issues to continue for a month after Aug 31; Dr. Nishtar
August 28, 2020 – Islamabad: Speaking to applicants of Ehsaas Emergency Cash in a radio program Raabta, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar shared details about the appeal process for families of deceased beneficiaries. She informed listeners that in order to facilitate emergency cash beneficiaries with biometric issues and families of deceased beneficiaries, the Ehsaas disbursements will be continued for a month even after August 31, 2020. As part of appeal process, families of dead beneficiaries are required to send out an application for payment facilitation in the name of Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation along with death certificate and CNIC details of their dead family member along with those of eligible family member straight to Ehsaas offices at, F-Block, Pak Secretariat, Islamabad. Responding to questions of listeners on phone, she said that the scrutiny of received applications is in process as per the procedure and a formal reply to all applicants will be sent out soon. Listen here.
Governor SBP along with Deputy Governor calls on Dr. Nishtar
August 27, 2020 – Islamabad: Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Dr. Reza Baqir along with Sima Kamil, Deputy Governor SBP called on Dr. Sania Nishtar at Ehsaas offices in Islamabad. This was a courtesy call to introduce newly appointed Deputy Governor SBP to Dr. Nishtar. The meeting also discussed long term goals built into the successful design of Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme to strengthen safety net and enhance financial inclusion in the country. The Governor and the Deputy Governor richly lauded Ehsaas Emergency Cash and assured full support and cooperation to Ehsaas.
Radio Program Raabta: Dr. Sania expresses resolve to fight against fraudulent deductions on the ground
August 27, 2020 – Islamabad: Radio Pakistan held the fourth episode of the special interactive talk on ‘Ehsaas Emergency Cash in its program Raabta. Through this week, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar is the special guest in the national hook up program. In today’s Raabta, she interacted with listeners from far flung areas of the country and replied to their questions about Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments in the field. She began the program by announcing the analysis of emergency cash applicants’ data and requests received through the radio 4471 SMS feed. Responding to the complaint of Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiary against fraudsters, she assured that no one is allowed to fraudulently deduct any money from Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements to vulnerable families and all fraudsters will be dealt according to the law. Listen here.
SAPM Sania field tests mobile wallet opening to introduce cashless banking for Ehsaas beneficiaries
August 27, 2020 – Islamabad: To field test the innovative proposition of opening mobile wallets for Ehsaas beneficiaries, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar together with Secretary Yousaf Khan and other Ehsaas officials visited Islamabad Model College for Girls, Tarlai. Implementation of this special purpose proposition is in its testing stages. The test demonstration took place with Ehsaas beneficiaries at the Ehsaas Emergency Cash campsite in collaboration with partnering banks of Ehsaas- HBL and Bank AlFalah. “Through this innovative cash withdrawal facility, beneficiaries of Ehsaas Kafaalat will be able to open mobile wallets that will serve as fully functional cashless banking accounts”, said Dr. Nishtar while briefing media. At the Ehsaas campsite, she met with the partnering banks’ agents and Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries present there to review the quality of ongoing disbursal arrangements. She also listened to their concerns and gave on spot instructions to Ehsaas officials to facilitate them for easy cash transfers.
SAPM Sania Nishtar oversees the ongoing renovation at Tarlai Panagah in Islamabad
August 27, 2020 -Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar together with Secretary Yousaf Khan and other senior Ehsaas officials paid a surprise visit to Tarlai Panagah located in suburbs of the federal capital. The visit aimed to oversee the upgradation work being carried out to overhaul the Panagah. During the visit, Dr. Nishtar took round of the shelter facility and reviewed the current renovation arrangements. Under the umbrella of Ehsaas, the repair and renovation of Panagah is being managed by Pakistan Bait ul Mal that is one of the key executing agencies of Ehsaas. The ongoing upgradation is nearing the completion and the facility will be re-opened for labourers and the deserving next week.
Radio Program Raabta: Dr. Sania guides eligible applicants to collect cash before August 31 from nearest campsites and bank branches
August 26, 2020 – Islamabad: In the Radio Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash special program ‘Raabta’ that is a daily national broadcast, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania stated that transfer of cash assistance of Rs.12,000 to deserving families under Ehsaas Emergency Cash program is closing on August 31, 2020. She guided beneficiaries facing issues in payments and demonstrated the process for registered applicants to check eligibility status on the live ‘Ehsaas Emergency Cash Know Your Status Portal’. All callers who had registered themselves through 8171 and connected with Dr. Nishtar in the live program through phone were apprised of their eligibility status on the spot, by entering Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) CNIC numbers on the portal. Elaborating the disbursement mechanism, Dr. Nishtar guided eligible applicants to collect the emergency cash from the nearest Ehsaas campsites and designated bank branches. Dr. Nishtar will be connecting with the national audience every morning this week through Raabta. Listen here.
Radio program Raabta: Dr. Sania announces re-opening of Ehsaas registration desks following closure of Ehsaas Emergency Cash
August 25, 2020 -Islamabad: Connecting with listeners in radio program Raabta, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar announced that those people who could not apply for Ehsaas Emergency Cash would be able to benefit from other Ehsaas programs as per the rule based procedures through Ehsaas self-registration drive. Continuing she said, “Although Ehsaas Emergency Cash is closing on August 31, 2020 but there are many other social protection and poverty alleviation programs running nationwide under Ehsaas including Kafaalat, Langars, undergraduate scholarships, Amdan, interest free loans and many others for the deserving.” She answered several queries of listeners regarding Ehsaas in an hour long live program. Listen here.
Dr. Sania holds a meeting to firm up Ehsaas individual financial assistance policy
August 25, 2020 – Islamabad: The meeting of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) was held to firm up the individual financial assistance policy under the umbrella of Ehsaas. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation chaired the meeting. Secretary PASSD, Managing Director Pakistan Bait ul Mal (PBM) and other senior officials from Pakistan Bait ul Mal were also present. The meeting thoroughly reviewed the individual financial assistance system currently in place at the PBM and gave recommendations to make it more comprehensive and responsive. Under the Ehsaas framework, PBM is responsible for the execution of demand side social protection. The poor, widows, destitute women, orphans and disabled persons are supported through general assistance, education, medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Ehsaas and UNICEF join hands to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week 2020
August 25, 2020: This World Breastfeeding Week, Ehsaas and UNICEF joined hands to raise awareness amid COVID-19 around supporting breastfeeding for a healthier planet. Informative material was jointly designed and disseminated countrywide to educate masses about the importance of breastfeeding. World Breastfeeding Week is a global campaign to raise awareness and galvanise action on themes related to breastfeeding. The week is celebrated every year from 1-7 August. Taking to twitter, Dr. Sania Nishtar connected with wider audience and emphasized, “ breastfeeding is vital to boost young children’s immunity against diseases.”
Sania keynotes PIDE webinar on ‘Financing the Social Protection’
August 24, 2020 – Islamabad: Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) organized a webinar on ‘Financing the Social Protection: Possibilities & Practices’. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to join as chief guest and keynote speaker. The webinar aimed to explore options to assess financial plans to provide social assistance to all deserving, in the wake of coronavirus. In her keynote, Dr. Nishtar shared details about Ehsaas Emergency Cash that was rolled out by the government in response to COVID-19 pandemic. She stated that the Rs. 203 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme has capitalized mainly on digital capabilities to impact lives of 16.9 million poverty-stricken families. The guest speakers included Benjamin A. Olken, an American Economist and Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Director Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, Naureen Adnan from Centre of Excellence CPEC, Safdar Sohail from SPRC, Nasir Iqbal and Shujaat Farooq from PIDE. The event was moderated by Nadeem ul Haque, Vice Chancellor PIDE.
Dr. Sania Nishtar holds a radio program Raabta to guide Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries
August 24, 2020 – Islamabad: Given the closure of Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments on August 31, 2020, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation along with representatives from Ehsaas team held the Radio Pakistan’s live program, Raabta. She responded to questions of listeners who connected with her on telephone by calling directly at 051-9206995. Educating beneficiaries, Dr. Nishtar highlighted the supplementary measures being taken under Ehsaas to facilitate payments to families of the deceased beneficiaries and those facing biometric issues. She apprised listeners that in order to facilitate emergency cash beneficiaries with biometric issues and families of deceased beneficiaries, the Ehsaas disbursements will be continued for a month after August 31, 2020. Dr. Nishtar will be reaching out the wider national audience every morning this week through radio program. Listen here.
Ehsaas newsletter highlights 15-month remarkable journey of social protection in Pakistan
August 21, 2020 – Islamabad: Celebrating its 15-month journey, Ehsaas has released a newsletter that looks back at several successful Ehsaas launches, institutional reforms and strategic partnerships under the whole-of-the government Ehsaas program. The Ehsaas Newsletter (March 2019 -August 2020) highlights 15-month journey of government’s efforts to scale up social protection in the country. Remarking the release of the newsletter, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar commented, “This newsletter is distinctive as it looks back at the ambitious journey of Ehsaas relationships and partnerships premised on tackling multidimensional poverty in Pakistan. The newly released edition of Ehsaas Newsletter also reflects the international recognitions earned by this widely praised programme.” The digital issue of Ehsaas Newsletter can be accessed Here.
SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar joins a panel discussion on temporary basic income with Head of Strategic Engagement UNDP
August 21, 2020 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was invited to join the panel discussion with George Gray Molina, Head of Strategic Engagement and Chief Economist, UNDP Latin America and Shah Muhammad Azhar, Economic Policy Analyst, UNDP Pakistan at a webinar hosted by UNDP. The panel discussed ‘Temporary Basic Income- Global Lessons & Implications for Pakistan’. Dr. Nishtar highlighted Pakistan’s social protection experience under Ehsaas Emergency Cash, real time lessons and its inter-linkages with temporary basic income.
Sania visits Panagahs in Islamabad along with experts to plan renovation
August 20, 2020 -Islamabad: Taking immediate steps to plan renovation of the shelter and basic amenities being provided to labourers and the poor at Panagahs, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar along with a team of experts visited Panagahs in Islamabad. The team inspected the two shelter facilities situated at Mandi More and G-9/4 in the federal capital. In light of findings of the team, the practical steps will be chalked out to equip Panagahs with improved standard facilities and run them in a dignified manner. At the occasion, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, and Managing Director Pakistan Baitul Mal were also present. Panagah is a free lodging and food facility for labourers launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan under the Ehsaas programme. More than 100 Panagah facilities have been built up by the Government to facilitate laborers and daily wagers who need shelter.
SAPM Sania Nishtar convenes Ehsaas Poverty Expert Committee meeting to get an overview of upcoming Tahafuz
August 19, 2020 -Islamabad: A consultative meeting of Ehsaas Poverty Expert Committee was convened at Ehsaas offices. The meeting was part of preparations for Ehsaas Tahafuz that will be launched in the coming months under the umbrella of Ehsaas. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. During the course of meeting, the poverty expert committee reviewed the groundwork and operating model for the upcoming Tahafuz. Work has been completed to develop Pakistan’s first shock-oriented precision safety net that will cover heavy medical expenditures for the deserving.
Dr. Sania Nishtar joins media briefing with Cabinet Colleagues on government’s two-year performance
August 18, 2020 -Islamabad: A team comprising six members of the federal cabinet briefed the media on the two-year performance report of the present government. The briefing to the media was given by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar, Minister Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, Adviser to the PM on Finance and Revenue Dr. Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar. Imran Khan had taken the oath as Prime Minister on August 18, 2018. Speaking to the print and electronic media about the 15-month journey of Ehsaas, Dr. Nishtar said, “During the course of the last 15 months, Ehsaas, the largest social protection and poverty alleviation programme was profiled at many international events and has been richly praised worldwide. Adding further, she said, “Ehsaas programme will be further expanded and its access to the masses will be ensured.” Footage of the press conference can be watched here. Also, a video documentary on government’s two-year performance highlighting Ehsaas can be watched here.
SAPM Sania Nishtar speaks at Harvard Pakistan Forum 2020
August 16, 2020 -Islamabad: Harvard Pakistan Forum (HPF) was held on August 13-16, 2020 virtually. The conference aimed to provide a platform for better understanding Pakistan’s socio-economic context. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to join the panel discussion on COVID-19 and Pakistan’s Domestic Economy. The panel discussed the most immediate concerns of domestic businesses, credit constraints, change in compensation policies, adapting to a world with social distancing. The discussion also focused on the segments of the labour market most prone to the economic consequences of the virus and steps, different stakeholders can take to help. Dr. Nishtar highlighted details about the digital ways adopted under Ehsaas programme to provide for basic needs of the vulnerable & mitigate against more permanent economic consequences of COVID-19. In this engaging panel discussion, Dr. Nishtar was joined by Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Omer Ahmed, CEO of Artistic Miliners, Naz Khan, Head of Strategy at KE and Shehryar Bakhsh, CEO of HKB.
Governor Sindh disburses cheques of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship among 145 engineers of tomorrow
August 14, 2020 – Karachi: On the occasion of 74th Independence Day of Pakistan, Governor Sindh Imran Ismail awarded scholarships to students of Dawood University of Engineering and Technology (DUET) Karachi under the Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship program. He distributed cheques of scholarship among 145 engineering students. Addressing the gathering of deserving yet brilliant students, Governor Sindh said, “Ehsaas program is the largest social sector program in the history of Pakistan which has no precedent. Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship program for needy and promising students is an initiative that would help them to study in the field of their choice without any financial problem.” Taking to twitter, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar thanked the Governor for hosting engineers of tomorrow at the Governor House. She noted, “50,700 students have benefited from Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships in the year 2019/20 and the call for 2020/21 will open shortly.”
Prime Minister unveils groundbreaking Ehsaas Nashonuma program
August 13, 2020 -Khyber Tribal District: Prime Minister Imran Khan launched a new program, Ehsaas Nashonuma that will tackle stunting and improve the nutrition of the poorest children in Pakistan, emphasising that there is no place for malnutrition in twenty first century Pakistan. The inaugural officially took place at Ehsaas Nashonuma Center set up in Dogra Headquarter Hospital, Khyber Tribal District. Prime Minister visited the center and interacted with the staff, and beneficiary women and their children present at the registration, anthropometry, awareness, and specialized nutritious food distribution counters at the centre. At the launch event, Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation briefed the PM about the wide-ranging services being provided under Ehsaas Nashonuma. Under the program, every quarter conditional cash-transfers will be provided to the poorest pregnant and lactating women and those with children under two years old, totalling PKR 1500 for each boy child and PKR 2000 for each girl child. Ehsaas Nashonuma is being launched in the first phase in nine districts, including Khyber, Upper Dir, Bagh, Ghizer, Hunza, Kharmang, Kharan, Badin, and Rajanpur. Thirty-three Ehsaas Nashonama centers will be established at Tehsil level health facilities to provide all the program’s services under one roof.
Dr. Sania Nishtar visits Panagah in Islamabad to plan upgradation
August 10, 2020- Islamabad: Following official approval of Panagah Strategy by the Prime Minister Imran Khan on August 9, 2020, Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Panagah (shelter home) situated at Mandi More in Islamabad. As per PM’s directives, the visit aimed to plan upgradation of facilities being provided at Panagah. Dr. Nishtar took round of the facility and interacted with staff and labourers present. During the visit, Dr. Nishtar was joined by Focal Person Panagah Naseem ur Rehman, MD Pakistan Bait ul Mal Aon Abbas Buppi and Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division Ali Raza Bhutta.
Orphanages Expert Group meets for the 13th time with SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar to review living standards
August 10, 2020- Islamabad: Orphanages Expert Group met for the 13th time with PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar to give final shape to living standards for orphanages and child care centers. The group reviewed living standards for orphanages for the first time. The standards will be formalized soon for notification and implementation. Last year, in July 2019, the 11-member committee was constituted for orphanages by Dr. Nishtar to support and protect orphans under Ehsaas. The group was tasked to develop basic standards to ensure quality service at orphanages. Members of Ehsaas Orphanages Committee are prominent operators of orphanages from all across Pakistan. This is the first time that the government is taking steps to improve boarding standards for orphanages as this aspect of public service delivery had been neglected in the past.
PM approves Panagah Strategy to expand the scope of shelter homes initiative
August 9, 2020 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved Panagah Strategy to expand the scope of his initiative Panagah (shelter homes) across the country, in line with his vision of developing Pakistan as an Islamic welfare state. In a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation presented a strategy for administrative structure of the shelter homes to improve their management and service. Approving the strategy, PM underscored the need to prioritize service delivery with quality and dignity in these shelter homes for daily wage workers who have free accommodation and meals while being away from home and can send back wages to families. SAPM on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, Focal Person on Panagahs, Naseem-ur-Rehman, Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal Aon Abbas Buppi and other senior officials also attended the meeting.
Ehsaas survey kicks off in KP; Sania herself enrols first household in Malakand
August 8, 2020 – Malakand: The official kick-off of Ehsaas Survey in KP, took place at Malakand. Ehsaas is conducting a door to door survey all over the country so that data can be gathered about the socioeconomic status of households. This has become critical after COVID 19 since livelihoods of people and their socioeconomic status has been affected. Survey is being done through a computer assisted approach. Malakand and Karak have been selected as sites where the survey will be conducted first. Since this is an end to end digital survey, training is critical. The Ehsaas survey is being conducted in close collaboration with the Provincial government of KP, Provincial Education Department of KP and the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. Today, the week-long training of master trainers ended in Malakand. The training was conducted in Government High School No.1 Thana with the help of the District Administration. Following completion of the training, data collection was tested. SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar together with her team inaugurated the roll out of survey in KP through a live demonstration of a survey sampling, done right there with a family residing in the vicinity of the school. Earlier on, she conducted an interactive session with master trainers and answered their queries. The master trainers would now head back to fields to further train the 1,000 supervisors and enumerators in KP for conducting the survey across the province.
Sania joins the 3rd meeting of Population Taskforce under the chair of President of Pakistan
August 6, 2020 -Islamabad: In her capacity as a member of the Federal Task Force on Population, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the 3rd meeting of task force under the chair of President, Dr. Arif Alvi at Aiwan-e-Sadr, Islamabad. The meeting discussed detailed targets and road map to coordinate reproductive health efforts in Pakistan. The meeting was attended by Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Noor ul Haq Qadri, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr. Faisal Sultan, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan, Caretaker Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Mir Afzal, provincial chief secretaries, Country Director Population Council Dr. Zeba Sathar, Representative UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Lina Mousa, and provincial ministers and secretaries of population welfare departments.
Sania Nishtar joins a ministerial roundtable hosted by UN Women in Bangkok
August 5, 2020 – Bangkok: Dr. Sania Nishtar joined a high-level virtual ministerial roundtable with Ministers from around the world as part of the expert panel to jointly share experiences of several countries in ensuring a gender-inclusive response to the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery measures. The roundtable discussion was hosted by Phumzle Mlambo Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. The primary goal of the discussion was to foster cross‐regional knowledge‐exchange and sharing of best practices to realize progress on SDG 5 in the midst of the COVID‐19 pandemic with a specific focus on women’s participation in the COVID‐19 response and gender‐inclusive packages. Dr. Sania Nishtar spoke in the panel on “response and recovery”. She outlined details about Pakistan’s remarkable efforts which have resulted in early disease decline as well as support for poorest families whose lives were adversely affected by COVID 19. She said that 61% of Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements were to women. More broadly, she added that Ehsaas is addressing women’s priorities through the economic response strategy. The expert panel brought together Special Assistant to Prime Minister of Pakistan on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, the Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of Tourism of the Lebanese Republic, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Director General of the Pension Department of the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
Dr. Sania inspires women entrepreneurs at the meeting of FPCCI Standing Committee on women empowerment
August 5, 2020 – Lahore: The third meeting of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) central standing committee on women empowerment and development took place in Lahore. PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar virtually joined the meeting as a keynote speaker. Motivating entrepreneurial women, Dr. Nishtar said, “Foundational to Ehsaas is the realization that it is critically important to ensure that the program is responsive to needs of women in the country, who comprise 49% of total population. The ambition of Ehsaas is to skew critical initiatives towards women, by ensuring that at least 50% of all beneficiaries targeted by the program across initiatives are women. Therefore, Ehsaas encompasses several social protection and poverty alleviation initiatives targeted towards women, including interest free loans (50% women), Amdan (60% women), undergraduate scholarships (50%) and Kafaalat (7 million women), thus opening doors to rights and opportunities.” Further, highlighting Ehsaas Emergency Cash experience, Dr. Nishtar added that 61% of Ehsaas Emergency Cash has been disbursed to women. The meeting was convened by Dr. Shehla Javed Akram, Founder President of Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lahore Division.
Ehsaas convenes consultative meetings with partner banks to explore ways to promote financial inclusion
Aug 4, 2020 – Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation convened virtual meetings with the leadership of both the partner banks, Habib Bank of Pakistan Limited and Bank Alfalah at Ehsaas offices in Islamabad. The consultative meetings explored ways to promote use of digital wallets during the Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements to promote financial inclusion, which Ehsaas regards as a key pillar of poverty graduation.
Dr. Sania represents Pakistan at the 11th Korea – SAARC Seminar convened by the Government of Korea
Aug 3, 2020 – Islamabad: At the 11th Korea – SAARC Partnership Seminar convened by the Government of Korea on the theme of public health and poverty alleviation in the time of COVID-19, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar outlined how the Government of Pakistan addressed both the COVID-19 health issue and its socio-economic fall out. Highlighting the experience of Ehsaas Emergency Cash in her keynote address via video link, Dr. Nishtar said, “We are committed to addressing rising inequality and attainment of Sustainable Development Goals in a post COVID-19 world.” Footage can be accessed here.
Sania meets and greets labourers on the second day of Eid at Ehsaas Langarkhana in Peshawar
Aug 2, 2020 -Peshawar: On the second day of Eid, Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited the Ehsaas Langarkhana (soup kitchen) in Peshawar to meet and greet labourers. Her appearance was a pleasant surprise for labourers present at the Langarkhana. She interacted with people and listened to their issues. “Sitting with labourers and seeing first-hand what Ehsaas Langar does to feed those who could not travel back to their homes to celebrate Eid with families is really touching,” said Dr. Nishtar. Ehsaas Langar in Peshawar provides cooked food to 1,200 people on daily basis. This free food facility is situated in front of the main bus terminal in Peshawar to serve labourers and daily wage earners.
Sania celebrates Eid with the destitute women and girls at Edhi Home
Aug 1, 2020 -Islamabad: Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Edhi home to celebrate the first day of Eid with the destitute women and girls. Taking advantage of the visit, Dr. Nishtar spent quality time with the homeless girls and women and listened to their heart rending stories. She thanked the Edhi Foundation for the work they do to provide social safety to such women and girls. “Organizations like Edhi Foundation are one of few social safety institutions in Pakistan that provide shelter to children and the homeless women with dignity, said Dr. Nishtar while paying tribute to services of Edhi Foundation. The Edhi Foundation provides, among many other services, shelter for the destitute, free hospitals and medical care, drug rehabilitation services, and national and international relief efforts.
Dr. Sania addresses keynote at the Ehsaas Scholarship distribution event hosted by KMU
July 30, 2020 – Peshawar: Khyber Medical University organized Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship distribution ceremony in Peshawar for medical and allied health students. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was a chief guest at the event. In her keynote address via video link, Dr. Nishtar congratulated all students who were awarded Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship. “This scholarship focuses on enhancing the earning potential of the recipients. Past scholarships were aimed at postgraduate programs. The Ehsaas scholarship funds under-graduate education, because the evidence suggests that it is the surest way to enable people to rise out of poverty, and it contributes the most to income generating potential”, she said. 341 deserving bright students studying at Khyber Medical University including girls and students from tribal districts of KP were granted merit cum need based Ehsaas scholarship. Footage can be watched here.
Ehsaas and the World Bank explore collaborative avenues to expand the scope of Ehsaas
July 30, 2020 – Islamabad: Under the leadership of Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Ehsaas and The World Bank teams came to the table to explore collaborative options. Drawing on lessons of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program, the online meeting discussed ways to expand social protection program in Pakistan under the overarching Ehsaas framework.
International development partners congratulate Dr. Sania for releasing the flagship report on Ehsaas Emergency Cash
July 30, 2020 -Islamabad: Ehsaas hosted a webinar with donors, international development partners and UN agencies to share key findings of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Report penned by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation. Convening the virtual meeting, Dr. Nishtar shared her experience around the design and implementation of Ehsaas Emergency Cash that will support 16.9 million families affected by the COVID-19 induced economic shutdown with cash handouts of Rs. 12, 000 each. Dr. Nishtar was joined by country directors and heads of International Monetary Fund, The World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and other agencies. Development partners richly praised the report and congratulated Dr. Nishtar and the entire Ehsaas team for taking the lead to reach out to multi-million deserving households in a transparent, cost-effective and fast manner. It was suggested to convene another round of cross-country experience sharing session around Ehsaas Emergency Cash.
President hosts a reception in collaboration with Ehsaas to pay tribute to services of health workers in COVID-19
July 29, 2020 – Islamabad: President Dr. Arif Alvi hosted a reception at the Presidency in Islamabad to pay tribute to the health workers and paramedical staff for their dedicated services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The reception was organized in collaboration with Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal that is an executing agency of Ehsaas program. At the event, President Dr. Alvi was joined by First Lady Samina Alvi, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar, Managing Director Pakistan Bait -ul-Mal Aon Abbas Buppi, representatives of International Rescue Committee, dozens of health workers along with family members of those who have lost their lives during the anti-COVID-19 services. President Dr. Arif Alvi termed frontline workers as heroes of nation who had offered COVID-19 related duties at hospitals across the country. Earlier, the President also distributed souvenirs among the family members of martyred health workers and Eid gifts among those serving COVID-19 related duties. Acknowledging services of health workers, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “During the pandemic, the government has played a commendable role to strengthen health sector by enhancing testing capacity from 450 per day to 80,000 per day, increasing number of laboratories from 3 to 128, training of 100,000 health workers and addition of 2,000 ICU beds.” While highlighting the Ehsaas Emergency Cash program, she added that it would benefit almost half of the country’s population.
Dr. Sania Nishtar convenes consultative meeting to give structure to Panagahs
July 29, 2020 – Islamabad: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a consultative meeting at Ehsaas offices to give structure to Panagahs (shelter homes) and expand their scope and quality countrywide. The meeting discussed the course of action for the way forward. The implementation of the same will commence next week. At the occasion, Zulfi Bukhari, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, PM’s Focal Person on Panagahs, Nassem-ur-Rehman, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, Hamza Shafqaat and Aon Abbas Buppi, Managing Director, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal were also present.
Dr. Sania joins the Cabinet Committee meeting on Utility Stores Corporation to review the utilization of subsidy amount
July 29, 2020 – Islamabad: The cabinet committee on Utility Stores Corporation met to review the utilization of the subsidy amount. The meeting was convened by Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Industries and Production and he was joined by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation. Managing Director, Utility Stores Corporation gave a detailed presentation to the committee on its current working capital and total utilization of funds for the subsidy. During the meeting, Dr. Nishtar outlined ideas to ensure enhanced transparency safeguards in utilization of subsidy amount.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to Pakistan calls on Dr. Sania Nishtar
July 29, 2020 -Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was called on by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to Pakistan, Noriko Yoshida along with her team to Ehsaas offices in Islamabad. This was just a courtesy call. The meeting discussed options to offer social protection to refugees drawing further on the Ehsaas Emergency Cash experience.
Sania discusses matters pertaining to SUN Movement with Coordinator and UN Assistant Secretary-General in Geneva
July 29, 2020 -Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation virtually connected with Gerda Verburg, Coordinator and UN Assistant Secretary-General, Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss matters pertaining to SUN Movement. The meeting discussed the next phase of the Movement, ‘SUN 3.0 from 2021 to 2025’, SUN Lead Group 2020 commitments and post COVID-19 global reimagination of the nutrition landscape.
Dr. Sania presents Ehsaas Emergency Cash Report to President Dr. Arif Alvi
July 28, 2020 -Islamabad: In a meeting that took place at Aiwan-e-Sadar in Islamabad, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar presented the Ehsaas Emergency Cash report to President, Dr. Arif Alvi. The President of Pakistan highly lauded her for authoring this comprehensive report that features lessons from the real time evaluation of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program. Dr. Nishtar thanked the President for all the applause and encouragement.
Dr. Nishtar releases an explanatory video on ‘Ehsaas Know Your Status web-portal’ to facilitate applicants of Ehsaas Emergency Cash
July 28, 2020 – Islamabad: To facilitate applicants as well as volunteers of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program enabling them to check online status of their applications, Ehsaas has introduced ‘Ehsaas Emergency Cash – Know Your Status Web-Portal’. The portal can be accessed here. Demonstrating the process for registered applicants to check eligibility status, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation has tweeted an explanatory video. All applicants who have registered themselves through 8171 can now easily check their eligibility status by entering Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) CNIC number on the portal. If eligible, they can collect their cash from the nearest Ehsaas payment centres. The video can be watched here.
Newly released edition of ‘Ehsaas Newsletter’ underscores the journey of this ground-breaking program amid COVID times
July 27, 2020 – Islamabad: Connecting with wide-ranging stakeholders, Ehsaas has released the second volume of the newsletter. This electronic newsletter looks back at the Ehsaas’ progress from Jan 01, 2020 to Jun 30, 2020. It marks the launch of a number of new social protection and poverty alleviation initiatives under the overarching Ehsaas framework. The newsletter innovatively outlines the response of the government during the period to address COVID-19 challenges in the country. Early in the year 2020, Pakistan administered nationwide COVID-19 emergency measures which adversely impacted livelihoods of labour class. To mitigate the economic hardships being experienced by many workers, the government introduced the Ehsaas Emergency Cash program within ten days of the lockdown to extend cash handouts of Rs. 12,000 to 16.9 million families in need. The newsletter provides a link to the recently launched report on Ehsaas Emergency Cash. Noting the release of the newsletter, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar commented, “The primary purpose behind the release of this newsletter is to foster transparency and share knowledge with all stakeholders and partners about major developments related to Ehsaas initiatives and programs.” The newly released issue of Ehsaas newsletter can be read here.
Dr. Sania visits newly set up Ehsaas Nashonuma Center in Khyber Tribal District to reviews arrangements
July 24, 2020 -Islamabad: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar together with her team visited the Ehsaas Nashonuma Center that has recently been set up in Khyber Tribal District at District Headquarter Hospital, Dogra. She reviewed arrangements being made at the center for the upcoming Ehsaas Nashonuma programme. At the center, Dr. Nishtar was briefed on various services for pregnant and lactating Ehsaas beneficiaries and their children under two years of age to prevent stunting. The key services included registration of beneficiaries through Ehsaas Nashonuma app, growth monitoring, immunization and treatment, awareness sessions, distribution of specialized nutritious food and biometric cash grant disbursement through ATM. Dr. Nishtar interacted with the staff and beneficiary women present at the center and sat with them to watch an awareness video on addressing stunting in children that had been made in Pashto language. Ehsaas Nashonuma is a conditional cash transfer program, specifically designed to prevent stunting in children. The Prime Minister will launch Ehsaas Nashonuma programme next month.
Ehsaas Labour Expert Groups convenes eleventh meeting in 13 months
July 23, 2020 -Islamabad: As part of ‘Mazdoor ka Ehsaas’, a meeting of the Ehsaas Labour Expert Group (LEG) was convened with federal government departments, provincial governments, international development partners, researchers, the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), labour rights groups, and representatives of workers and employers from across Pakistan. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. The meeting discussed the key recommendations of the final report furnished by the LEG along with way forward for extension of social protection services to the informal labour sector in Pakistan. The LEG report has been finalized and will be released in the public domain by the end of this week. The report recommends to bring the informal workers inside the formal network, address exploitation of labour, and enforcement of minimum wage, as pledged by the Constitution of Pakistan. Dr. Nishtar lauded the expert group for their commendable work. Since the constitution of the LEG on May 1, 2019 by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, this was the eleventh meeting of the group.
Ehsaas signs MoU with Aga Khan Foundation
July 23, 2020 -Islamabad: Ehsaas signed an MoU with Aga Khan Foundation, Pakistan for the launch of upcoming Ehsaas Nashonuma programme across Gilgit-Baltistan. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation witnessed the signing ceremony. From the Aga Khan Foundation, Iqbal Walji, Chairman Aga Khan foundation and Akhtar Iqbal, CEO were present at the occasion. Under the MoU, Aga Khan Foundation will collaborate with Ehsaas in setting up six Ehsaas Nashonuma Centres in 2 districts of Gilgit Baltistan namely Ghizer and Hunza. The Ehsaas Nashonuma Centres are part of a new community health and nutrition initiative to address stunting in children. Under the programme, Ehsaas will provide conditional cash grant and awareness sessions to pregnant and lactating Ehsaas beneficiaries and their children under two years of age for consumption of Specialized Nutrition Food (SNF).
Ehsaas and Punjab discuss ways to exploit synergy with regard to Ehsaas social protection assistance
July 23, 2020 -Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation convened a virtual meeting with Chairman Planning and Development (P&D) Punjab, Chairman Punjab Social Protection Authority and Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division on strengthening federal-provincial partnerships and exploiting synergy under overarching Ehsaas framework. The meeting discussed collaborations in the social protection and human capital development initiatives. Addressing the meeting, Dr. Nishtar commented, “It is critical to minimise duplication and double dipping with regards to government’s Ehsaas social protection assistance.”
Ehsaas and ADB deliberate poverty graduation approaches in a virtual meeting
July 23, 2020 -Islamabad: A virtual meeting of Ehsaas was held with Asian Development Bank to discuss poverty graduation approaches in context of Pakistan. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar and her team was joined by Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Pakistan, Xiaohong Yang. The meeting discussed opportunities and approaches to expedite the roll out of ADB supported poverty graduation program under Ehsaas for the poor segments of the population. Dr. Nishtar said, “Approaches to “graduation” from poverty
Ehsaas conducts a Zoom session with experts from Aga Khan University to exchange views on stunting in Pakistan
July 23, 2020 -Islamabad: A Zoom session led by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar was held with Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutta, Founding Director, Institute of Global Health at Aga Khan University, South Central Asia, East Africa and United Kingdom and his team. Mr. Bhutta presented global stunting situation along with quantitative findings of Pakistan sub-national study around stunting distribution patterns. The discussion analysed change in stunting patterns since 2011 looking at various drivers for improvement including economic growth, contributions by the social and health sectors. In her concluding words, Dr. Nishtar stated, “The sub-national results of stunting patterns are important for policy and most interesting to expand the scope of upcoming Ehsaas Nashonuma programme that is aimed to prevent stunting in children under 2 years of age.”
Ehsaas organizes a 5 day training of lead trainers to roll out NSER in KP
July 22, 2020 -Islamabad: Ehsaas organized a 5 day training of lead trainers for the roll out of Ehsaas National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) in KP. The training was held in collaboration with Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and provincial government of KP. To train the lead trainers for conducting door to door NSER survey across KP, the five day training (July 20-24, 2020) was conducted at Ehsaas offices in Islamabad. These lead trainers will further train supervisors and enumerators for conducting survey. On the third day of training, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar conducted an interactive session with participants from KP and answered their queries with regard to National Socioeconomic registry update. She said that NSER would help government to devise better social welfare and poverty alleviation policies and programs through better targeting of the poorest of the poor. Dr. Nishtar encouraged the lead trainers to perform their assigned duties with full commitment and dedication.
Cabinet appreciates first of its kind report on Ehsaas Emergency Cash authored by Dr. Sania Nishtar
Islamabad -July 21, 2020: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation presented Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme report to the Federal Cabinet. It is for the first time that a programme report has been presented with a detailed methodology of the design and insights from real time evaluation. The Prime Minister paid rich tribute to the report. Authored by the Ehsaas leader, Dr. Nishtar, the report shares the knowledge gained in designing and implementing a massive national program in real time, in a context of complexity and uncertainty, with speed. It also outlines the operational challenges encountered and the means of their mitigation. Commenting on the flagship report, Dr. Nishtar remarked, “Public accountability and transparency are the underlying motivation for this report. I believe that a culture of transparent and evidence-based decision-making is necessary to reform governance in Pakistan. Integrity, transparency and openness have to be ingrained in government institutions and processes in order for democracies to deliver for their people”. The report can be accessed here.
Federal Government expands the budget of Ehsaas Emergency Cash to Rs. 203b: SAPM Dr. Nishtar addresses a press conference
July 16, 2020 – Islamabad: Speaking at a press conference alongside Information Minister, Shibli Faraz, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said that the funding of Ehsaas Emergency Cash has been increased by the federal government from Rs. 144 billion to Rs. 203 billion. With this enhanced scope, as many as 16.9 million families, or around 109 million individuals, practically half the country will get benefit from these cash handouts. Further, Dr. Nishtar highlighted, “This is fully transparent, rule and merit based, and apolitical cash transfer program of Pakistan based on demand based assistance seeking mechanism. Sindh province gains the most from this program which shows its apolitical nature.” Terming the Ehsaas Emergency Cash as the biggest social protection program rolled out in Pakistan’s history, she said that it has been commended internationally. So far, 12.86 million Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries across the country have received one-time cash assistance of Rs.155.64 billion. Full footage of the press conference can be watched here:
Dr. Sania Nishtar chairs a webinar discussion organized by UNDP on social protection in the context of COVID-19
July 16, 2020 -Islamabad: United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Pakistan hosted a webinar on the theme of social protection as it relates to inequality in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Ehsaas Emergency Cash as the peg. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the webinar discussion. In her opening remarks, Dr. Nishtar stated, “Ehsaas Emergency Cash is the most extensive and transparent social protection operation, ever undertaken in the history of Pakistan. Given the overall success of program and its massive demand amid COVID-19, the government has expanded its target to reach 16.9 million beneficiaries with an increased budget of Rs. 203 billion. The webinar brought together rich perspectives of federal and provincial governments, international development partners, civil society and private sector around the social protection experiences. Participants highly lauded it that as compared to social protection initiatives taken in other countries, Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash program has gained international recognition for disbursing in time cash assistance in a well-organized manner and at a larger scale.
Dr. Nishtar illustrates the newly introduced Ehsaas mechanism for payments to families of deceased beneficiaries
July 14, 2020 -Islamabad: To ease out the payment process for families of deceased beneficiaries who are eligible, Ehsaas Emergency Cash has introduced a new mechanism. Illustrating the supplementary process, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar has released an instructional video on twitter. As part of the new mechanism, families of dead beneficiaries are required to send out an application in the name of Dr. Sania Nishtar with CNIC details of their dead family member along with those of eligible family member straight to Ehsaas offices at Islamabad. The video can be watched here.
Dr. Sania Nishtar briefs PM on upcoming ‘Ehsaas Nashonuma’ program
July 13, 2020 – Islamabad: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and briefed him about the upcoming ‘Ehsaas Nashonuma’ program. Nashonuma is a conditional cash transfer program, specifically designed to prevent stunting in children. Under the program, 31 Nashonuma centers will open in 9 districts in the following weeks. World Food Programme (WFP) is the implementing partner of Ehsaas for this program. The Prime Minister will launch Ehsaas Nashonuma program in next few weeks. During the briefing, the PM advised Dr. Nishtar to further expand the scope of Ehsaas program in the context of COVID-19.
Sania visits Pakistan Agriculture Research Center to explore multi-sectoral collaborations for Ehsaas
July 11, 2020 -Islamabad: “Within the government, multi-sectoral collaboration is critical for the success of Ehsaas program”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation during her visit to Pakistan Agriculture Research Center (PARC) in Islamabad. The visit aimed to explore how the potential and expertise of this prestigious institution can be tapped to build capacity and offer livelihood opportunities to Ehsaas beneficiaries. Dr. Muhammad Azeem Khan, Chairman, PARC briefed Dr. Nishtar about the land management and amelioration strategies to support farmers under agricultural research and development programs. At the occasion, Dr. Nishtar was also joined by Engineer Shamim-ul-Sibtain Shah, Director General NARC, Dr. Sarfraz Ahmad, Member National Resources Division, PARC, Director Land Resources, Dr. Shahid Massud Gul, Nasir Mehmood Cheema, Director Special Initiator, Dr. Tariq Sultan Incharge Compost Processing Unit, Dr. Amjad, CEO PATCO and other scientists.
Ehsaas Langar & Panagah App available on Google Play Store
July 9, 2020, Andriod version of ‘Ehsaas Langar and Panagah App’ is now available on Google Play Store, providing useful information about Ehsaas Langars (soup kitchens) and Panagahs (shelter homes) across the country. It enables geographic locations of welfare organizations to be mapped when they are photographed through the App, so that there is better coordination of relief efforts and no duplication. Underserved areas will also be identified through the App. The Ehsaas App can be downloaded here. Creating awareness about functions of Ehsaas Langar & Panagah App, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation tweeted an instructional video. The video can be watched here.
Ehsaas launches ‘Ehsaas Emergency Cash-Know Your Status’ web-portal to facilitate registered applicants
July 8, 2020, Ehsaas has launched ‘Know Your Status’ Portal which has been especially designed in collaboration with NADRA to offer an easy window to people registered with Ehsaas Emergency Cash to check their eligibility. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation tweeted, “All applicants who have registered themselves through 8171 or Prime Minister’s Labour Portal can now easily check their eligibility status by entering CNIC number on the portal. If eligible, they can collect their cash from the nearest Ehsaas payment centres.” The portal can be accessed here.
Dr. Sania briefs foreign diplomats on Ehsaas Emergency Cash: Pakistan’s social protection response to COVID-19
July 2, 2020 -Islamabad: Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a virtual briefing on the country’s social protection response to COVID-19, Ehsaas Emergency Cash program that brought together heads of diplomatic missions, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Country Representatives and Charge de Affairs from around 60 countries. Dean of Diplomatic Corps, H.E. Atadjan Movlamov was also present. Briefing foreign diplomats, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar who heads Ehsaas program reflected on various dimensions of the USD 1.16 billion program particularly the scale and design, speed of deployment, transparency safeguards and real-time evaluations that are hardwired in the success of Ehsaas Emergency Cash. She apprised all participants that the program has provided one time cash assistance (USD 75 each) to 12.30 million families in just 11 weeks, following rule based approach. Diplomats richly praised the Ehsaas Emergency Cash that it took lead in radically expanding social safety nets to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 in Pakistan. They offered broader collaboration to the government of Pakistan to further expand this apolitical program. Closing the briefing, Foreign Secretary, Sohail Mehmood acknowledged the success of Pakistan’s social protection program and said that another interaction will be planned very soon to share the final report of Ehsaas Emergency Cash.
Sania Nishtar joins President Buhari of Nigeria and Antonio Gutteres during launch of UN’s Poverty Eradication Alliance
July 1, 2020 – Islamabad, Pakistan: Ending poverty and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is at the heart of the government’s vision for Pakistan. This was the key message delivered by Dr. Sania Nishtar to the United Nations yesterday in a speech to the General Assembly on behalf of the Government of Pakistan. Dr. Nishtar, who is Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and head of the Ehsaas program, delivered the speech via video link as part of the virtual inauguration of the Alliance for Poverty Eradication, a new global body designed to address poverty from all possible angles, and serve as a forum for networking, information-sharing, and bridge-building. The Alliance for Poverty Eradication is a flagship initiative of the President of the UN General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, who also spoke at the event alongside UN Secretary-General António Guterres and representatives including Heads of State from over 30 countries. Dr. Nishtar was one of the opening speakers along with Secretary General Gutteres, President Buhari of Nigeria, and President of ECOSOC. Dr. Nishtar’s full speech can be watched here.
Governor Sindh Imran Ismail inaugurates Ehsaas Langar in Umerkot
June 30, 2020 – Umerkot: Governor Sindh Imran Ismail opened the Ehsaas Langar in Umerkot district of Sindh. This Langar provides cooked food to 300 people on daily basis. The facility has been set up in a public private partnership wherein government will provide on-ground facilitation with a zero cost. All production and distribution of food will be managed by the partnering organization, Saylani Welfare International Trust (SWIT). At the occasion, Governor Sindh Imran Ismail lauded the free food services in the country being provided by Ehsaas program under the leadership of SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar. Yousuf Lakhani, President, SWIT was also present at the inauguration. As part of Ehsaas framework, Langars are aimed to serve meals to poorest segments of the society particularly labour class. Ehsaas ensures that the food served at the Langar is hygienic and is provided to people in ample proportions with dignity.
Dr. Nishtar chairs the 40th board meeting of BISP
June 29, 2020 -Islamabad: The 40th meeting of the BISP board was held at BISP headquarters in Islamabad. Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Chairperson, BISP convened the board meeting. Since Dr. Nishtar took over as a board chair in November 2018, as many as 10 board meetings (>statutory requirement) have been held; agendas are prepared well by board sub-committees and Conflict of Declarations are signed by each board member at each board meeting.
Dr. Sania takes to twitter to celebrate the achievement of Ehsaas Emergency Cash payment target among 12 m beneficiaries
June 29, 2020 -Islamabad: The federal government has successfully completed the Ehsaas target of emergency cash disbursement among 12 million daily wagers with overall disbursement of Rs. 145.29 billion across the country. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar took to the twitter to celebrate the achievement of this Ehsaas milestone. In her tweet, she said, “Given the overall success of Ehsaas Emergency Cash and its massive demand amid these unprecedented times, the government has set out a new target of over 16.163 million beneficiaries. In the following tweet, she added, “Emergency Cash distribution to the deserving would continue after June 30, 2020. The payment process under Ehsaas would continue till disbursement of financial assistance to over 16 million lockdown affected people in line with the set target.”
PM announces the Rs. 3bn Ehsaas Cash Package for all families living close to the Line of Control
June 26, 2020 -Muzaffarabad: Addressing a ceremony in Muzaffarabad, the Prime Minister Imran Khan announced Ehsaas Cash Package for all 138,275 families living in 219 villages close to the Line of Control (LoC). Under the specialized cash assistance package worth Rs. 3 billion, all the resident families along the LoC have been declared entitled for the Ehsaas Emergency Cash and Ehsaas Kafaalat programs. Women of all those families would receive monthly stipend of Rs 2,000 besides an emergency cash of Rs 12,000. Speaking to the valiant families living beside the LoC, the Prime Minister stated, “I am grateful today that we have been given an opportunity to help the people living around LoC braving hardships and economic losses due to cross border firing.” The ceremony was attended by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, Ali Amin Gandapur, Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) President, Sardar Masood Khan and Prime Minister AJK, Raja Farooq Haider. PM also gave away Ehsaas Cheques to the entitled families from LoC.
Dr. Sania shares real-time evaluation of Ehsaas Emergency Cash with policymakers from Asia
June 25, 2020: UNDP Regional Innovation Hub in Bangkok organized NextGenGov online Summit – Asia Pacific with policymakers from across Asia to capitalize on sharing of experiences with regard to innovations in governance & public service delivery in the COVID-19 context. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was a speaker at a session themed, “Voices from Governance trenches: 5 bureaucrats from 5 countries”. Dr. Nishtar shared lessons from the real time evaluation of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program. Addressing the summit, she stated, “Real-time evaluation had been embedded in the roll out of the Ehsaas Emergency cash program that is the government of Pakistan’s response to the COVID-19. This was designed to provide immediate feedback from the field so that mitigating action could be taken in real time.”
SAPM Sania Nishtar and CM KP Mehmood Khan open Ehsaas Langar in Peshawar
June 24, 2020 -Peshawar: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation along with Chief Minister KP, Mehmood Khan and Chairman Saylani Welfare International Trust, Maulana Bashir Farooqui inaugurated the Ehsaas Langar in Peshawar that serves cooked food twice daily to 1,200 people. The Ehsaas Saylani Langar has been opened in front of the main bus terminal. Old Haji Camp Adda is an ideal place for Langar as labourers and daily wage earners congregate to earn daily wages. The government of KP collaborated with Ehsaas to provide the site for Langar. This whole set up has been established in a public private partnership with a zero cost to the government and the partnering trust (SWIT) will manage the production and distribution of food. Dr. Nishtar thanked CM KP, Mehmood Khan and Chief Secretary KP, Kazim Niaz for their collaboration in providing the space for Ehsaas Langar.
Dr. Sania Nishtar and CM KP Mehmood Khan review arrangements at Ehsaas payment site in Peshawar
June 24, 2020 -Peshawar: During her official visit to Peshawar, Dr. Sania Nishtar together with Chief Minister KP and Chief Secretary KP visited the Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution site at Government High School No. 1 in Peshawar to observe how the disbursements were being made to labourers, piece rate workers, daily wagers and workers who have been laid off by factories and employers owing to COVID-19 lockdown. They reviewed the payment arrangements at the site and interacted with beneficiaries. Till today, Ehsaas has disbursed Rs. 138.09 billion emergency cash among 11.404 million deserving households countrywide.
Dr. Sania pays an unannounced visit to Swabi to observe Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments
June 24, 2020 – Swabi: Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar paid a surprise visit to Ehsaas payment site in Swabi and interacted with people who had come to withdraw emergency cash. Interacting with beneficiaries, Dr. Nishtar commented, “There is a certain percentage of people who have not collected the cash handouts yet despite being eligible and we are trying to ascertain why have they not collected their payments.” She then continued, “Over the weekend, we conducted a survey and found out that many eligible beneficiaries had not received their payment messages from 8171 which is why, SMS messages were resent to all those beneficiaries. I have come here to see, if the payments have begun to all those deserving whom we have sent repeated messages to ensure that they withdraw money at the earliest”.
PM opens assistance through Ehsaas Rashan Portal, PM’s COVID Web-portal and the Ehsaas Langar and Panahgah App
June 22, 2020 – Islamabad: The Prime Minister presided over a meeting during which he was briefed about commencement of operations through the Ehsaas Rashan Portal. During this briefing, the PM COVID web-portal for donations, and the Ehsaas Langar and Panahgah App were also unveiled. Special Assistant to the PM, Dr. Sania Nishtar conducted the briefing. Federal Minister for Information, Shibli Faraz and SAPM Asim Bajwa were also present during the briefing. The PM’s focal persons on Panah Gahs, Naseem-ur-Rehman and the PM’s Focal Person for the PM Fund, Khursheed Alam also attended. Federal Secretaries and heads of organizations including Furqan Ahmed Sayed from Pepsi Co, Mohammad Ali Tabba from Lucky Cement, Atif Bajwa from Alfalah Bank, Arif Usmani from NBP, Bashir Farooqui from Saylani Welfare Trust and Quraish Mehmood from Urban Properties were also present. Inspiring other donors to come forward and support government initiatives while presiding the meeting, the PM stated, “Transparency is most critical in the use of donor funds; we are ensuring that there is visibility of every penny donated through the PM’s COVID Fund Portal.” Earlier, several donors including Pepsi Co, Lucky Cement, Bank Alfalah and Saylani Welfare International Trust committed to donate cumulatively 12 million meals to deserving beneficiaries by signing MoUs with Ehsaas. These donors have signed MOUs and non-disclosure agreements with Ehsaas and have received beneficiary data for ration disbursement in specific geographies under the Ehsaas Rashan program.
Ehsaas signs MoUs with donors to commence operations through Ehsaas Rashan Portal
June 22, 2020, Prior to the commencement of operations through Ehsaas Rashan Portal, the donor organizations including Pepsi Co, Lucky Cement, Bank Alfalah and Saylani Welfare International Trust committed to donate cumulatively 12 million meals to deserving beneficiaries by signing MoUs with Ehsaas. In a ceremony organized at Ehsaas offices in Islamabad, heads and senior officials of these four donors signed MOUs and non-disclosure agreements with Ehsaas to receive beneficiary data for ration disbursement in specific geographies under the Ehsaas Rashan program. Witnessing the signing of MoUs, Dr. Sania Nishtar remarked, “The Ehsaas Rashan program is principally a means to link private sector organizations willing to donate food rations, to government verified beneficiaries. The role of government is primarily that of onboarding credible donor organizations, verifying beneficiaries, and providing donor organizations list of verified beneficiaries to conduct targeted disbursement of ration.” The signing ceremony was followed by a briefing to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of donors that have partnered on this important initiative.
PM visits Ehsaas Emergency Cash Disbursement Centre in Larkana
June 17, 2020 – Larkana: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Disbursement Centre at Sachal Colony, Larkana. The PM, on the occasion, interacted with emergency cash assistance recipients and inquired about their financial condition, particularly in the context of COVID-19. Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM that the Ehsaas Emergency Cash of Rs. 60 billion is being distributed among a total of 5 million deserving families in the Sindh. Dr. Nishtar then continued, “In Larkana alone, around 185,000 families would be benefited from the Ehsaas Emergency Cash and 115,000 of them have already been provided the cash assistance.” “Total sum of Rs 2.2 billion would be distributed among the deserving families in Larkana and for the purpose about 36 cash distribution centres have been established in Larkana”, she added. The Prime Minister was also accompanied by Governor Sindh, Imran Ismail, Federal Minister for Privatization, Muhammad Mian Soomro, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Syed Ali Zaidii, SAPM on Information Lt. Gen. (Retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Sindh President, Haleem Adil Shaikh. Footage can be watched here.
PM apolitically decides to increase the share of Sindh in Ehsaas Emergency Cash from 22.45% to 31%
June 17, 2020- Karachi: Participating in a televised media talk led by the Prime Minister Imran Khan during the visit to Karachi, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar said that the major chunk of Rs 60 billion earmarked for Sindh under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme is being distributed among the 50 million needy families across the province. Adding further she said, “In Categories II & III of Ehsaas Emergency Cash, provincial quotas are population based. However, in Categories IV & V that is funded by PM’s COVID relief fund, all eligible applicants are being supported on PM’s directions. Therefore, deserving individuals in Sindh will gain the most from this apolitical decision as the share of the province has now been increased from 22.45% to 31%.” Further, Dr. Sania Nishtar who leads Ehsaas programme shared the final breakdown of federally-funded Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries by federating units. She said that the overall number of individuals to be supported under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme has now been increased from 12 million to 16.16 million. The media talk can be watched here.
Ehsaas Saylani Langar opens in Swat amidst COVID-19 pandemic
June 17, 2020 – Swat: Under the public private partnership, fourth Ehsaas Saylani Langar has been opened in Swat. Currently, the newly opened Langar in Swat serves packed food two times daily to around 1,500 people amid COVID-19 emergency. People are pleased with the food quality and degree of respect with which they are being served. Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation said, “This is the first Ehsaas Saylani Langar inaugurated in KP. Ehsaas strongly realizes that Corona crisis has aggravated poverty that has adversely impacted laborers and daily wagers the most. Principally, this food aid facility will help ease the food burden of urban poor across Swat district.”
PM visits Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursement centre at Lahore
June 13, 2020 – Lahore: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursement centre in Lahore and inspected the transfer of cash to the deserving people. PM also interacted with emergency cash beneficiaries and enquired about their livelihood conditions particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the PM that around 1.3 million people would be provided emergency cash assistance under PM’s COVID Fund. Chief Minister Punjab, Usman Buzdar was also present at the occasion. Footage can be watched here.
Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries cross the 10m mark in nine weeks
June 11, 2020 – Islamabad: The Ehsaas Emergency Cash program has served more than 10 million beneficiaries since nine weeks of its commencement. The program was launched on April 9, 2020, to extend immediate cash assistance of Rs. 12,000 each to Covid-19 lockdown affected families. While talking about the ongoing process of Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation said, “By the grace of Almighty Allah, we have been able to achieve 10 million mark in cash distribution. With the help of district administrations of provinces, law enforcement agencies, NADRA and partner banks, we will meet our target to serve 12 million by the end of this month.” As per provincial and regional breakdown available on the online Ehsaas disbursements portal, till today, an amount of Rs. 52.70 billion among 43.42 million beneficiaries in Punjab, Rs.36.63 billion among 30.34 million beneficiaries in Sindh and Rs.22.69 billion has been distributed among 18.45 million beneficiaries of KP. Further, an amount of Rs.2.12 billion has been disbursed among more than 0.172 million beneficiaries in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Rs. 6.5 billion among 0.497 million beneficiaries of Baluchistan, Rs. 0.88 billion among more than 70,000 beneficiaries in Gilgit-Baltistan and Rs.0.56 billion among more than 46,000 beneficiaries of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
Ehsaas comes up with supplementary payment solution to serve beneficiaries with biometric issues
June 4, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas has introduced a supplementary payment solution to facilitate beneficiaries of Ehsaas Emergency Cash who are eligible but were facing problems in withdrawing money owing to defying biometric identification. The supplementary solution has done away with the biometric verification of fingerprints from NADARA offices. Now, beneficiaries with this issue will be paid exclusively in the designated bank branches of partner banks without biometric verification. Two banks are partnering with Ehsaas for emergency cash transfers- Habib Bank Limited is serving in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan and Bank Alfalah across KP, GB and AJK. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation took to the twitter (@SaniaNishtar) and released an instructional video on the newly introduced Ehsaas solution to biometric issues. The video can be watched here.
Ehsaas commences emergency cash transfer to tribal daily wage earners across Waziristan
June 3, 2020 – Islamabad: Pakistan’s COVID-19 safety net response, Ehsaas Emergency Cash, has disbursed more than 117.49 billion Pakistani Rupees among 96.63 million vulnerable families across Pakistan. Recently, Ehsaas has commenced distribution of emergency cash to daily wage earners, pie rate workers, labourers, and small shopkeepers across North and South Waziristan areas of KP as well. These beneficiaries had applied for the cash assistance through 8171 SMS service. Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation said, “Through 8171, total 61,164 SMS were received from North Waziristan and 62,499 from South Waziristan. Now, biometrically verified payments have begun to beneficiaries in Waziristan after ascertainment of their eligibility through NADRA’s data analytics using unique national identification numbers and drawing on the wealth proxies such as travel history, taxes, billing, assets ownership data and government employment status.”
Dr. Sania presents real-time lessons of Pakistan’s COVID-19 safety net response in her keynote address at ADB’s webinar
June 2, 2020, The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) organized a webinar themed, “Casting Wider Safety Nets to Reach Asia’s Most Vulnerable: Real-time Policy Recommendations during the Covid-19 Pandemic” in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation joined the webinar as a keynote speaker. Presenting real-time lessons of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program that is government of Pakistan’s safety net response amid COVID-19 shutdown, Dr. Nishtar said, “In two months, the program has distributed more than Rs.115 billion in cash to 9.5 million families, representing the most extensive social protection intervention in the history of the country. The program’s success is driven by its comprehensive approach to implementation based on leveraging existing Ehsaas systems and strengthening social safety nets, which helped to ensure that vulnerable households were provided with immediate cash support.” The webinar was joined by government officials from various countries who were directly engaged in the design and implementation of Covid-19 fiscal safety net responses as well as development practitioners, researchers, and innovators to share their ideas about reaching the most vulnerable.
International donors widely applaud Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash transfer program amid COVID-19 pandemic
June 1, 2020, Ehsaas hosted a virtual meeting with international donors, UN Agencies & other stakeholders to apprise them with regard to Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution- update & potential way forward. The meeting discussed the program in terms of its, scale, speed of deployment and results along with transparency measures safeguarded by the government to reach out to the daily wage earners and labourers. The meeting was joined by Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Director World Bank, Xiaohong Yang, Country Director Asian Development Bank, Julien Harneis, UN Resident Coordinator, Annabel Gerry, Country Director DFID, Board members and other stakeholders. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. Briefing donors, Dr. Nishtar stated, “Within Pakistan, the Ehsaas program has taken the lead in radically expanding social safety nets to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19. The Ehsaas Emergency Cash program which was launched within just 10 days of lockdown, has been the key social protection intervention of the government to support those effected. 12 million households from across the most vulnerable groups were identified through a combination of the existing socioeconomic registry maintained by Ehsaas, and SMS registration with stringent verification processes.” Donors and other stakeholders widely applauded the case of Ehsaas Emergency Cash amid COVID-19 crisis and appreciated that the case of Pakistan provides a good insight to other countries.
Dr. Nishtar outlines process via video link for reaching out to 6 million category-4 beneficiaries through PM-COVID19 funded Ehsaas Emergency Cash
May 19, 2020 -Islamabad: Immediately following the newly launched disbursal to category-4 beneficiaries through PM-COVID19 fund by the Prime Minister, Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation tweeted an explanatory video to elaborate the entire process for identification and payments to category-4 Ehsaas beneficiaries. Explaining the process, Dr. Nishtar assured, “The existing principles, processes and data analytics that have been applied to Ehsaas Emergency Cash categories 1-3 will be fully deployed in the use of PM COVID-19 donor funds for identification of category-4 beneficiaries. Rule-based criteria will be fully adhered to. The procedure of identification will be fully apolitical and free from human interference. All disbursements will be made after biometric verification and there will be full transparency in deployment of funds.” Watch here.
PM COVID 19 Funded-Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursal commences to Job-loss affectees
May 18, 2020 – Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan has formally launched the Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements to job-loss affectees through PM COVID-19 Fund. To inaugurate the disbursal process, Prime Minister visited an Ehsaas cash distribution site at Sports Complex, Islamabad where the first batch of job-loss/livelihood-loss affectees received cash assistance of Rs. 12,000 each through Ehsaas Emergency Cash system. The Prime Minister inquired from beneficiaries about the financial impacts in the aftermath of the Covid-19 emergency. “The government has taken different decisions to continue economic activities and has opened different sectors,” he said. PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar and other senior officials also accompanied the PM. Dr. Nishtar briefed the PM about the entire Ehsaas Emergency Cash process for identification of beneficiaries and payments through PM COVID-19 Fund.
Ehsaas serves 7.512 million families in a month, distributes Rs. 91.611 billion; 163,419 category-3 beneficiaries paid out worth Rs. 1.961 billion
May 11, 2020 – Islamabad: Since last Friday May 8, 2020 Ehsaas has commenced disbursements to beneficiaries under category 3 of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash program. Till today, 163,419 category 3 beneficiaries identified through district administration have been paid out Rs. 1.961 billion. Concurrently, payments to category 2 beneficiaries, who entered the program through 8171 SMS service, are also underway. So far, 2.945 million category 2 beneficiaries have been served Ehsaas Emergency Cash worth Rs. 35.347 billion. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation remarked, “The emergency cash transfers are providing purchasing power to labour class to buy food rations and meet their needs.” Payments to category 1 that includes regular Kafaalat beneficiaries have almost been completed with Rs. 54.303 billion paid out to 4.403 million beneficiaries. Cumulatively, so far, 7.512 million deserving families under categories I, II and III of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program have collected financial assistance of Rs.12,000 each that sums up to Rs. 91.611 billion.
Disguised in Burqa, Sania visits Ehsaas Payment sites
May 8, 2020 -Islamabad: With the commencement of payments to category-3 beneficiaries on May 8, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation covered herself in Burqa and made an unannounced visit to the Ehsaas payment site at Nurpur Shahan in the outskirts of Bari Imam, Islamabad. She toured the site to get a first-hand look at the precautionary measures and biometric disbursement services being offered to Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries that fall under categories-2 and 3. While talking to the media, Dr. Nishtar commented, “This visit in disguise was intended to assess the campsite arrangements in terms of quality of services, transparency and accuracy in payment system and adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures.” She then continued, “Beneficiaries of the program are mainly the labour class whose means of income are badly affected by COVID-19 restrictions. I strongly believe that it adds value to policymaking when you go in the field and interact with people on your own to gain first-hand knowledge.” Footage here:
Dr. Sania reviews arrangements at newly opened NADRA centers in Islamabad
May 4, 2020 -Islamabad: On the approval of the federal government, National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) offices have resumed operations today countrywide to facilitate beneficiaries of Ehsaas Emergency Cash who were facing problems in withdrawing cash due to faulty biometric identification and registration of deaths of eligible family members. To get first-hand information about the facilitation being extended to Ehsaas beneficiaries by NADRA, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar reviewed arrangements at newly opened NADRA registration and facilitation center in Islamabad. Chairman NADRA, Usman Yousaf Mobin was also present during the visit. Talking to press, Dr. Nishtar announced, “Easy solutions will be provided to Ehsaas Emergency Cash recipients within 24 hours to complete biometric identifications & death registrations. Death registration fee of Rs. 50 has also been waived off to facilitate beneficiaries.”
PM launches web-portal for COVID-19 livelihood-loss-affectees
May 2, 2020 -Islamabad: The Prime Minister launched a web-portal soliciting applications from those who have lost their livelihoods as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and announced to commit the PM’s COVID-19 Relief fund to those who will qualify for aid. While opening the portal, the PM said, “I have made the decision that my COVID 19 fund will be used to give emergency cash to those who have lost their livelihoods, as a result of the COVID 19 crisis. I am opening a web-portal so that we can begin receiving applications. Those who will qualify for assistance will get Emergency Cash of Rs. 12,000. I encourage all of you to donate. For each rupee donated by the donors, 4 rupees will be committed by the Government”. Speaking to the media after the opening of the portal, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “We feel honoured that the Prime Minister has entrusted Ehsaas to utilize these funds.” She said, further adding, “To-date, Ehsaas Emergency Cash of Rs. 83 billion has been distributed among 6.8 million families in a transparent manner.” To apply for assistance, the web-portal can be accessed here.
Country Director, WFP Pakistan calls on SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar to seek Ehsaas collaborations against COVID-19 context
April 29, 2020 -Islamabad: Chris Kaye, Country Director for World Food Programme Pakistan together with his team called on Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation at Ehsaas Offices in Islamabad. The meeting discussed several potential collaborations around supporting the vulnerable families with regard to COVID-19 and post COVID-19 context. From Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Yousaf Khan, Secretary BISP was also present at the occasion.
In the interest of transparency Ehsaas launches Emergency Cash Information Portal; All applicants to get responses within 15 days: Dr. Sania
April 24, 2020 -Islamabad: To ensure transparency, Ehsaas has launched the information portal, making details of Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements available to the public. The approval for the launch of this portal had been accorded by the Prime Minister Imran Khan on April 22, 2020. While addressing a press conference along with Dr. Shahbaz Gill on the official release of information portal at Press Information Department, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “The portal transparently reflects the amount released to Ehsaas partner banks for payments to eligible families, and the number of families who have withdrawn money.” To explore real time data relating to disbursements, the portal can be accessed here. About responses to all applicants under categories 2 and 3, Dr. Nishtar announced that applicants of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program would receive the final SMS regarding payment of the amount or rejection based on their eligibility within the next 15 days. Full Footage of press conference can be watched here.
Global SUN Movement lauds the multisectoral approach of Ehsaas to tackle malnutrition amid COVID-19 emergency
April 23, 2020 -Islamabad: Through a virtual meeting, Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation connected with Gerda Verburg, Coordinator and UN Assistant Secretary-General, Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting focused on Nutrition, COVID-19 and multisectoral platforms. Dr. Nishtar briefed the multi-sectoral & multi-stakeholder approach being followed under Ehsaas to address nutrition issues in the wake of COVID-19. Verburg lauded the nutrition specific initiatives and collaborations being undertaken by Pakistan to tackle challenges posed by COVID-19 and said, “The spread of COVID-19 has unprecedented effects on nutrition globally. Pakistan’s example of bringing over 100 different actors together on Covid-19 and nutrition is very inspiring and we encourage other countries to do the same.” The SUN Movement Secretariat is based in Geneva and is responsible for liaising with SUN Countries and ensuring the catalytic spirit of the Movement is embedded in the efforts of all actors.
Dr. Sania Nishtar addresses a press conference on Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments: Rs. 68.885 billion disbursed among 5.74 families
April 23, 2020 – Islamabad: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said that Rs. 68.885 billion have been disbursed among 5.74 million deserving families under the first two categories of Ehsaas Emergency Cash program. Addressing a press conference together with Dr. Shahbaz Gill, the SAPM said that 80 per cent of the payment process under the first category of the program has been completed while payments are being speedily made for the second category (SMS beneficiaries). Dr. Sania said that around 35 million applicants were rejected after scrutiny on the basis of different parameters like wealth profiling, poverty score database, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) statistics, more than one family member applicants, etc. Also, for payments to third category of beneficiaries, lists are being finalised through the help of district administrations, she added. Full Footage here.
PM approves the launch of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Information Portal
April 22, 2020- Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved the launch of an information portal relating to Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursements. With great transparency, it will outline the amounts given to partnering banks for disbursements to beneficiaries, and the number of beneficiaries who have taken out money. Dashboards in the portal will give details about the number of beneficiaries served in each of the three categories with provincial, district and tehsil wise breakdowns. The portal will be made public to enable people to access information in real time. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation briefed the PM on this innovative portal. In two weeks, Ehsaas has distributed Rs. 65.249 billion emergency cash to 5.437 million families.
The electronic link of the portal will be made available this week.
Prime Minister visits Ehsaas cash distribution point in Rawalpindi; appreciates arrangements
April 22, 2020 -Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, which is aimed at providing financial assistance to the deserving and weaker segments of society in this testing time, is being run completely on the basis of transparency and merit. The Prime Minister expressed these views during his visit to Ehsaas Emergency Cash campsite in Rawalpindi. On the occasion, Special Assistant to PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, briefed the PM about the procedure of Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution among the deserving and the safety measures being taken in the wake of coronavirus. The Prime Minister appreciated the arrangements made for the distribution of emergency cash. The PM was also joined by Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Federal Minister for Railways during the visit.
Prime Minister opens the Ehsaas Rashan Portal
April 21, 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan opened the Ehsaas Rashan Portal to facilitate the private sector in providing food rations to the most vulnerable affected in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Through the portal, the role of government will be to facilitate match-making between donors and beneficiaries (e.g., on geographic basis) and provide data of eligible beneficiaries to donors. Appreciating the initiative, Prime Minister Imran Khan said, “Ehsaas Ration Portal will enable philanthropists, charity organizations and other non-government organizations to reach out to deserving families, besides ensuring establishment of a transparent and merit based distribution system for rashan.” Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar reiterated, “The role of the government is entirely match-making between credible donors, and eligible beneficiaries.” To facilitate the process, Ehsaas has developed a web-based portal, accessible here.
Rs. 59.718 billion disbursed under Ehsaas Emergency Cash program
April 21, 2020 – Islamabad: The disbursement of Rs. 12,000 cash handouts to daily wagers and labourers under Ehsaas Emergency Cash program is ongoing with special COVID-19 protective measures at campsites. Reflecting on the progress of the initiative, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “In 13 days, we have distributed Rs. 59.718 billion countrywide to 4.976 million deserving families as part of Ehsaas Emergency Cash. The unprecedented initiative is designed to provide cash assistance of Rs 12,000 to 12 million deserving families across the country. The government has allocated Rs. 144 billion for this purpose.”
Ehsaas Emergency Cash- Deadline for registration ends; Rs. 56.968 billion paid out to 4.747 million families in 12 days
April 20, 2020 – Islamabad: 8171 SMS service to identify category-2 and 3 beneficiaries for Ehsaas Emergency Cash program closed on April 19, 2020. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation said, “The total number of the applicants registered for seeking cash assistance under the program is 139.197 million of which 55.47 million are unique CNICs. The analysis is underway and payment messages will go to new recipients in phased-manner over next 15 days.” Currently, disbursements are being made to category 1 and 2 beneficiaries and in last 12 days, Rs. 56.968 billion has been spent under Ehsaas Emergency Cash to provide Rs. 12,000 each to 4.747 million deserving families.
Radio Program “Raabta”- Payment notifications to all applicants registered for Ehsaas Emergency Cash will go in two weeks: Dr. Sania
April 20, 2020-Islamabad: Speaking in a radio program “Raabta” that is a national broadcast, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar has said, “Till April 19 that was the deadline for SMS registration, Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program has received total 139.197 million valid SMS on 8171 including 55.474 million SMS that are unique CNICs.” Answering questions, she added, “Notifications to all applicants registered for emergency cash will be sent out in two weeks following due diligence. Dr. Nishtar advised applicants to stay at home and not to visit campsites until they receive customized notification from 8171 to collect payment. For registering complaints, she encouraged people to contact Ehsaas helpline 0800-26477.” Listen here:
Rs. 55.039 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash transferred to 4.586 million families in 11 days
April 19, 2020 – Islamabad: It has been 11 days, since Ehsaas began cash distribution to low-income households in all provinces of Pakistan including Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. So far, Ehsaas has transferred Rs.55.039 billion to 4.586 million families to cater to their financial needs in the wake of ongoing Coronavirus situation. Under the program, Rs.12,000 is being distributed to each eligible family. Talking about the SMS campaign 8171, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “ Ehsaas SMS service launched by the Prime Minister on April 1, 2020 to register Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries under categories 2 & 3 is closing today. All deserving people particularly daily wagers and laborers are encouraged to send CNIC numbers to 8171 before the campaign closes at midnight.”
Dr. Nishtar holds a surprise interaction with Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries in federal capital
April 19, 2020-Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited Ehsaas Emergency Cash campsites at Sports Complex and G-9/2 areas in the federal capital. This was part of her visits to check the quality of emergency cash distribution in the field without prior intimation. At campsites, Dr. Nishtar interacted with labourers who were turning up with payment messages from Ehsaas to collect Ehsaas Emergency Cash. Each one of them had a heart-wrenching story of being out of work for the last several weeks. Talking about her interaction with beneficiaries, Dr. Nishtar, said, “I paid surprise visits because it is important to have an eye on issues in the field to ensure that we resolve them in real time.” She also appreciated the efforts of local administration, ICT and Police for managing security of campsites. The footage can be accessed here.
Ehsaas Emergency cash worth Rs. 53.336 billion distributed to 4.444 million marginalized households in 10 days
April 18, 2020 -Islamabad: Under the Government of Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program, daily wage workers who are unable to earn a living these days due to #COVID19 crisis are being given Rs. 12,000 so that they can buy rations for next few months while they stay home to be safe. In ten days, Ehsaas has distributed Rs. 53.336 billion to 4.444 million marginalized households. Acknowledging the facilitation in emergency cash distribution being extended to Ehsaas by law and security agencies and district administrations countrywide, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “In a remarkable show of national solidarity, law & security agencies are helping the disabled; schools, gymnasiums, town halls & wedding pavilions have opened their doors to host payment camps, to serve Ehsaas Emergency Cash recipients. We are thankful to all of you for your compassion & partnership.” For now, 114.98 million SMS have been received through 8171 service while the scrutiny is on-going and the deadline for registration is Sunday April 19, 2020.
Rs. 49.685 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash paid out to over 4.14 million needy families since April 9
April 17, 2020 – Islamabad: The Ehsaas Emergency Cash program payments are underway since April 9, 2020 providing Rs. 12,000 financial assistance to 12 million deserving families. So far, Rs. 49.685 billion have been paid out under the initiative to over 4.14 million families. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “ Applying for the Ehsaas Emergency Cash is simple and people in need can check their eligibility by sending CNIC number to 8171. The registration for the emergency cash initiative would be closed on April 19 midnight.” To-date, more than 103 million applicants have already registered for the program on the Ehsaas’ designated number 8171 by text messaging their CNICs. For questions regarding registration and payments, people can call on Ehsaas helpline 0800-26477 from 9 am to 5 pm.
President Dr. Arif Alvi distributes ration packs among Railway Coolies at a ceremony organised by Ehsaas
April 16, 2020 -Islamabad: Under the umbrella of Ehsaas, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal organized a ration distribution ceremony for the coolies (loaders) of Pakistan Railways. Addressing the ceremony at Rawalpindi Railway Station, President Dr. Arif Alvi expressed hope that the Pakistani nation would successfully sail through the COVID-19 crisis as multiple challenges in the past had transformed it into a brave and steadfast nation. With the cooperation of Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, the bulky ration packs containing all basic food items, were provided by the donors. Minister for Railways, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Aun Abbas Buppi and Country Director Islamic Relief, Umair Hassan also attended the ceremony besides the railway loaders. Speaking at the event, Dr. Nishtar said, “Under Ehsaas, an Emergency Cash Program had been launched to support 12 million needy families and the ration distribution scheme would also be launched by next week”.
Ehsaas commences 8171 SMS service campaign for the deaf; Ehsaas Emergency Cash worth Rs. 44.194 billion disbursed to 3.682 families in 7 days
Ehsaas has released an informative video for the deaf about 8171 SMS service for Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme. “This is aimed to communicate details of the SMS campaign through sign language to the people with hearing impairment so that they can equally benefit from the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation. Footage can be accessed here. In 7 days, Ehsaas has disbursed Rs. 44.194 billion to 3.682 million deserving families and has commenced payments to male beneficiaries in Category 2 of Ehsaas Emergency Cash. Most of them are daily wagers without day jobs for the last one month. These beneficiaries have been enrolled in the programme through 8171 Ehsaas SMS service. During biometrically enabled payments, social distancing is strictly being implemented. As many as 93.2 million SMS have been received. The analysis is underway and the deadline for registration in the programme is April 19, 2020 midnight.
Dr. Sania Nishtar visits Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution campsite in Islamabad
April 15, 2020- Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited the cash distribution campsite at IMCG Girls College located at G-10/4, Islamabad and interacted with beneficiaries who had come to collect their payments. Each one of them had a customized message on their phone addressed to them with their names to visit the nearest payment centre on April 15, 2020 and collect emergency cash handout of Rs. 12,000. Briefing media about these Ehsaas category-2 beneficiaries in need, Dr. Nishtar stated, “Each one of these beneficiaries was either the wife of a labourer whose livelihood has been badly affected by the coronavirus crisis or is a domestic worker herself who has been laid off by the employers. Without any food, they are at the brink of running out food rations. So, this Rs. 12,000 assistance comes to them at a very critical time.” Footage here.
Ehsaas Emergency Cash payment commences to category-2 enrolled through 8171; Rs. 37.608 billion emergency cash disbursed by Ehsaas to 3.134 million families
April 15, 2020 -Islamabad: The Ehsaas Emergency Cash program has commenced disbursements to the second category of beneficiaries today. All of them have been enrolled through 8171 SMS service. They were declared eligible based on their profiling checks in the national socio-economic database as well as the wealth profiling checks. The Ehsaas Emergency Cash payment notifications will go to new Ehsaas Emergency Cash recipients registered through 8171 in a staggered manner over the next seven days. In the initial batch, women will get payments and in next batches, men will start getting payments. SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “To-date, 83.61 million SMS have been received. The analysis is underway and the deadline for registration is April 19, 2020 midnight”. By 5:30 pm today, Ehsaas has disbursed Rs. 37.608 billion emergency cash to 3.134 million deserving families.
Branchless banking retailers incentivised by the Cabinet; Ehsaas Emergency Cash SMS registration will continue till April 19: Dr. Sania
April 14, 2020: The Ehsaas Emergency Cash program has been ongoing for the last 6 days. More than 2.739 million people have received cash assistance of Rs. 12,000 each that sums up roughly to Rs. 32.87 billion until now. The registration process to receive the emergency cash of Rs. 12,000 per family distributed under this scheme is SMS driven, and this has been ongoing for the last two weeks. To-date, 78.44 million SMS requests have been received. “It is possible that several people from one family apply, hence the number of families applying may be less than this number”, said Dr. Sania. hsaas has announced that the SMS campaign will be opened till 19th of this month. Dr. Sania also explained that, “In order to incentivize branchless banking operations from operating in the current difficult environment, the Cabinet has approved waiver of advance withholding tax on commission collected under section 233 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 from branchless banking agents”. “We are striving to do all we can to make sure that bonafide branchless banking operators keep their operations open so that maximum number of people are facilitated” she said.
Dr. Sania vows stern action against fraudsters arrested
April 13, 2020 – Islamabad: As the Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution scales up countrywide, so does the resolve to fight embezzlement and fraudsters on the ground. On several complaints by the people, 36 looters have been arrested in Punjab, while 26 of them were arrested in Sindh and 10 in KP for illegally deducting money from the cash they paid to deserving people under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme. Overall 64 FIRs have been registered countrywide against these 72 fraudsters. They would be dealt according to the law. Caveating fraudsters, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation said, “No one would be allowed to illegally deduct any money from Ehsaas Emergency Cash payment to low-income families. Ehsaas is being supported by all state agencies on the ground to fight corruption. We are tracking FIRs in police stations and I want strict action against all fraudsters.” Vowing to fight corruption till her last breath, she stated, “I have also written a stern letter directing officials in Ehsaas regional offices to ensure transparency and full payments to beneficiaries.”
Rs. 25.68 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash disbursed in the last 5 days. 2.095 million low income families supported
April 13, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas continues disbursing Emergency Cash on the fifth day of its operations to benefit the deserving people from all the four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, through allocating quota as per census. Since April 9, Ehsaas has distributed Rs. 25.68 billion to 2.095 million families all over Pakistan and the programme will reach out to a total of 12 million people in next two weeks. In emergency cash distribution, social distancing is a priority & Ehsaas is striving to safeguard COVID-19 precautionary measures. Out of the planned 17,000 biometrically enabled Ehsaas cash distribution points, 9,419 have been currently been deployed countrywide. To prevent overcrowding of cash receivers, the number of cash distribution centres and counters is being increased. SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “In first phase of the programme, 4.5 million Kafaalat beneficiaries would be paid emergency cash this week while cash transfer to 7.5 million Category -2 beneficiaries being identified through 8171 SMS service will commence by the end of this week.”
Rs. 21.28 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash withdrawn in the last 4 days. 1.77 million poverty-stricken families helped: Dr. Sania Nishtar
April 12, 2020- Islamabad: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation briefed the media about on-the ground progress of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments. “It has been 4 days, since Ehsaas started one-off cash distribution of Rs. 12,000 each to the low-income households in all provinces of Pakistan including GB and AJK. As of April 12, 2020, Rs. 21.28 billion has been disbursed to 1.77 million individuals. Currently, as many as 8,995 cash payment points have been deployed out of 17,000 cash payment points to be opened countrywide to reach out to 12 million needy households”, she said. Ehsaas Emergency Cash program is the largest ever social protection and relief operation in the history of Pakistan aimed to help alleviate sufferings of low-income households, who have been distressed by the coronavirus shut down across the country. The government has deployed biometric technology along with other COVID-19 precautionary measures, to ensure the safe and transparent delivery of emergency cash to poverty-stricken families.
Dr. Sania spends time on a Sunday in the Ehsaas Emergency Call Centre
April 12, 2020: The Ehsaas Emergency Cash advertisements appeared in newspapers today and there was a sudden surge in the number of incoming calls in the Ehsaas call centre. To get better sense of what callers were asking about Ehsaas Emergency Cash, Dr. Sania Nishtar, who leads the Ehsaas program sat with call centre operators today and interacted with callers on the phone. “I wanted to hear first-hand about people’s complaints pertaining to Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution, so that we can make improvements in the program in real time”. On average 1,500 calls are being received on daily basis in the call centre and this number has increased since the advertisement appeared. Staff in the Ehsaas Call Centre is regularly briefed about the program so that they can answer questions with clarity. Dr. Sania thanked Call Centre staff for their dedication and hard work and spent a lot of time with the staff to get insights and boost their morale. For queries, the Ehsaas Call Centre can be reached out at 0800-26477.
Ehsaas disburses Rs. 16.588 billion to 1.382 million people in 60 hours amidst COVID-19 crisis. 40 retailers arrested
April 11, 2020- Islamabad: With special instructions of the Prime Minister, the Ehsaas Emergency Cash payments have been started countrywide on Apr 9, 2020 to financially aid more than 12 million deserving families whose incomes are adversely affected by the Coronavirus lockdowns. Since the Ehsaas cash distribution began two days ago, as many as 1.382 million families all over the country have withdrawn Rs.12,000 each that cumulatively sums up to Rs. 16.588 billion. Out of the planned 17,000 biometrically enabled Ehsaas cash distribution points, 7,317 have been opened countrywide with special protective measures for COVID-19 to facilitate speedy cash payments to those in need. According to details, overall cash distributions are running smooth across the country except few cases. 40 Ehsaas Emergency Cash retailers have been arrested over swindling beneficiaries in different ways in some parts of the country particularly Sindh, South Punjab and KP. Talking about few cases reported on mismanagement and corruption, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation stated, “I have written a stern letter to Ehsaas regional officials countrywide to stringently ensure transparent operations in emergency cash disbursements. I shall not tolerate any mismanagement or embezzlement and will continue fighting corruption till my last breath.”
Prime Minister visits Ehsaas Emergency Cash payment site in Peshawar to reviews arrangements
April 10, 2020 – Peshawar: Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the Ehsaas Emergency Cash payment point in Peshawar and reviewed arrangements. He was briefed by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation about the measures being taken by the government for provision of financial assistance to poor in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The PM also oversaw Emergency Cash handout of Rs. 12, 000 each to families of daily wagers. He appreciated the provincial government of KP’s steps against Coronavirus saying in the present situation, the focus of government must also be on provision of relief to the weak and poor segments of the society. The distribution of Rs 12,000 each to the deserving families under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme had started across the country, including the KP on April 9, under a transparent digital payment mechanism. Under the programme, the government would disburse some Rs. 144 billion among the poor and deserving families across the country. Some 2.2 million poor families have been identified in the KP, who would be facilitated directly from the programme. Around 3,500 Ehsaas cash payment points have been set up across KP.
Social distancing is priority as Ehsaas commences Emergency Cash Payments
April 9, 2020 – Islamabad: Safeguarding all precautionary measures, the payment process under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program has begun to support the deserving families affected by the lockdown. The safety and security of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries arriving to collect cash assistance is the top priority of the government. With opening of as many as 17,000 digital payment points, the biometrically enabled payment operation has commenced countrywide across all provinces including GB, AJK and Islamabad Capital Territory. All these cash transfers are being made after biometric verification of each beneficiary through NADRA. Under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash framework, an immediate cash relief of Rs. 12,000 will be extended each to families of daily wage earners, whose livelihood has been badly affected by the corona-induced economic downturn. Overall, Rs. 144 billion will be disbursed to more than 12 million families during the next two and a half weeks. For now, as many as 46.38 million people have sent SMS requesting to become beneficiaries of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program. To monitor the payment operations, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited HBL Konnect outlets in Bari Imam area of Islamabad and met with spouses of piece rate workers who had gathered to collect cash handouts under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program. Footage here.
Dr. Sania interacts with laborers to ascertain how Ehsaas Emergency Cash can benefit them
April 6, 2020 – Islamabad: To ascertain how labourers and daily wagers are making use of Ehsaas Emergency Cash service 8171, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar went to F-7 Markaz in the federal capital and interacted with labourers’ congregation in the market. She talked to labourers and informed them about various aspects of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash program from generating the SMS message to comprehending the subsequent communication and then to navigate the payment system. Speaking to laborers, Dr. Nishtar assured, “We will mobilize volunteers who can go to these places of laborer’s congregations so that they can message on their behalf.” Footage here.
Radio Program – Raabta: Transfer of Ehsaas Emergency Cash assistance to deserving families would begin this week: Dr. Sania
April 6, 2020 – Islamabad: In the Radio Pakistan’s COVID-19 special program ‘Raabta’ that is a daily national broadcast, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania stated that transfer of cash assistance of Rs.12,000 to deserving families under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program would begin this week. She said deserving people should send an SMS to 8171 and so far over 34 million messages have been received through this service. Under this programme, a deserving family will get a one-time assistance of Rs.12,000 to cater daily needs for four months. Elaborating the eligibility criteria to listeners, she said there will three types of messages in response of people’s SMS like eligible, ineligible, or contact to the concerned district administration. She said those, who will get a message asking to contact the district administration, can also register themselves online at the web-portal: Listen here:
Dr. Sania Nishtar addresses a press conference with regard to Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program
April 5, 2020 -Islamabad: Addressing a press conference with Press Information Department, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation explained beneficiary identification process, SMS campaign & its process flow, district level verification procedure, wealth profiling criteria, & payment mechanism designed for Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program. She briefed the media that the payment process under the program would start this week to support the vulnerable segments of society, affected due to lockdown amid Coronavirus threat. This program will benefit the deserving people from all the four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Gilgit Baltistan. “Existing 4.5 million Kafaalat beneficiaries, who were getting regular cash transfer of 2000 rupees per month, would be given additional one thousand rupees; hence, they too would get a tranche of Rs. 12,000 covering four months. Further, higher eligibility or poverty threshold would be considered to identify 4 million beneficiaries through the national socioeconomic databases, while another 3.5 million people would come from districts”, she added. Footage here
Radio Program- Raabta: Dr. Nishtar introduces Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program SMS Service 8171 to masses
April 2, 2020 -Islamabad: Participating in Radio Programme Raabta, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar provided details about the SMS service 8171 launched to facilitate the deserving families to benefit from Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program who are facing financial problems due to Corona Virus. She added that a cash grant of Rs.12,000 will be given to the deserving families through a transparent mechanism. Special Assistant to the PM said that the deserving families desiring to benefit from the program have to send their national identity card numbers on the SMS code 8171. She also said that Ehsaas Ration Platform will be formally launched soon to connect people wanting to donate food ration to people in need. At least, thirty five thousand deserving families and over six hundred donors have so far got themselves registered on the online platform. Dr. Sania Nishtar clarified that the deserving families can simultaneously benefit from both these programs. Listen here:
PM launches Ehsaas Emergency Cash initiative worth Rs. 144 billion to support 12 million needy families affected by COVID19 crisis
April 1, 2020 – Islamabad: Prime Minister has launched Ehsaas Emergency Cash program in the context of the economic hardship being experienced by the vulnerable due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The program covers 12 million families; 12,000 per family and the total budget for this initiative is Rs. 144 billion. Speaking at the occasion, PM Imran Khan said, “The financial assistance under this program is meant to help people in need particularly labourers and daily wagers to buy rations so that their families don’t go hungry”. An SMS campaign will be the entry point to identify these beneficiaries. Through an aggressive communication campaign, citizens will be informed that they can send an SMS on 8171 to check their eligibility status. PM inaugurated the initiative by texting his CNIC number to 8171. “To address inclusion errors, special data analytics on defined parameters (Government officials, those owning cars, and those with history of multiple foreign travel) will be applied by NADRA on all categories of potential beneficiaries”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation.
Radio Program- Raabta: Dr. Sania Nishtar elaborates Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program application process for deserving families
April 1, 2020 – Islamabad: Through Radio Pakistan’s program, ‘Raabta’, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation apprised listeners that Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has launched the Rs.144 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program for poor families and daily wagers who need financial aid due to coronavirus lockdown, as many people are out of work. The Special Assistant to the PM said that those in need can send send their national identity card numbers on the SMS code 8171, which will be activated today in the evening. She guided listeners step by step on the application process for the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program to make it easier for everyone. Under this program, people will be eligible for a Rs. 12,000 cash grant to help them cope with the current financial constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown being observed. Raabta is a national hook up program aired via Radio Pakistan. Listen here:
Radio Program -Raabta: Government is determined to defeat COVID-19 and support poor segments of the society: Dr. Nishtar
March 31, 2020 – Islamabad: Interacting with listeners in Radio Pakistan’s special program, Raabta, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar elaborated the Government’s road map for people to win the war against Corona. She referred to the Prime Minister’s speech in which he had announced the emergency relief package and establishment of Corona relief tiger force, terming them the strengths that can help secure the future of the nation. Answering questions of audience, she said that this force will work in collaboration with civil administration and army to contain the spread of corona virus. Dr. Nishtar highlighted that Prime Minister Imran Khan has a firm resolve to provide possible relief to people and economy in need during this economic turndown due to Corona emergency. Listen here:
Radio Program Raabta: Dr. Nishtar gives Corona disease advice to drive social change
March 26, 2020, Raising awareness to drive social change, Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation advised masses in rural areas to avoid social gatherings/baithaks and sharing of hookah as these cultural practices may spread Corona. She was answering live questions of audience in today’s national hook up program, ‘Raabta’ on Corona virus. Further, Dr. Nishtar urged the public to strictly follow preventive measures and avoid misinformation from unofficial sources. This will help us break the chain and protect ourselves from the pandemic. Listen here
Radio Program Raabta: Dr. Nishtar discusses PM’s multi-billion rupees economic relief package to offset adverse impacts of Corona outbreak
March 25, 2020, In today’s episode of Radio Pakistan’s national hook up program, ‘Raabta’ that aims to create awareness on Corona outbreak, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation discussed the Prime Minister’s multi-billion rupees economic relief package. She informed listeners that the government has announced this massive package to offset the adverse economic impacts of COVID-19 emergency across the country particularly laborers and daily wagers. Listen here.
Radio Program Raabta: Dr. Nishtar emphasizes on importance of social distancing and self-isolation to fight against Corona emergency
March 24, 2020, Talking about the importance of social distancing and self-isolation to combat the spread of Corona Virus in Pakistan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar encouraged listeners to stay at homes and follow the precautionary measures. She reiterated that there is a public health reason for social distancing. Staying at least three feet away from other people, lessens your chances of catching COVID-19. Dr. Maj. Gen(R) Dr. Azhar Mehmood Kayani also participated in the program and created awareness about Corona Virus and heart patients. ‘Raabta’ is Radio Pakistan’s national hook up program that is broadcast live every morning to create awareness among masses on Corona virus outbreak. Listen here.
Ehsaas-Saylani Langar-on-Wheels introduced to feed the poor with safety and dignity in times of pandemic emergency
March 21, 2020 – Islamabad: Ehsaas and Saylani Welfare International Trust (SWIT) have decided to run “Ehsaas-Saylani Langar on Wheels” to deliver cooked food aid to needy people particularly labourers and daily wagers. This commenced at a busy bus station at Faizabad, the junction of twin cities Islamabad-Rawalpindi. To inaugurate the first Ehsaas mobile food unit that will distribute food two times daily, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was joined by Yousuf Lakhani, President, SWIT. Mobile vans aimed to combat hunger will discourage people from congregating at one spot for free food collection and will serve at various points in cities including public places, slums and hospitals while explicitly ensuring dignity and social distance for the safety of people. As people are at the risk of small income generating opportunities due to the pandemic emergency in the country, this food aid concept will be stretched out soon to a bigger, better and faster scale across all major cities of Pakistan as part of the Ehsaas framework. Footage can be accessed here.
Ehsaas promotes coronavirus preventive measures while running social protection operations
March 20, 2020-Islamabad: As the coronavirus spreads out and the government takes rigorous measures to slow down the spread of the pandemic, Ehsaas continues educating citizens with health protection guidelines alongside measures to ensure that their services are ongoing. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited an Ehsaas partner loans office in outskirts of the federal capital. She was accompanied by Qazi Azmat Isa, who is the CEO of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), the implementing agency of the Ehsaas initiative which provides loans through partners- Akhuwat being the largest of the 24 partners. While monitoring the Ehsaas interest free loan operations, Dr. Nishtar, advised the public not to panic but follow the precautionary measures being communicated by the government. Talking to the media, she stated, “As a social protection ministry, we are conscious that we need to continue assisting those who need our services, the most in these difficult times. Day before yesterday we decided to continue running our cash transfer operations for the Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries, as these families need financial assistance. However, on the other hand we closed our registration centres, where large number of women congregate for registration.” She said, further adding, “We have to strike a balance between safety and assistance, as the latter is the need of the hour; also we are conscious that we must continue to provide credit in these difficult times, which is the lifeline of the small entrepreneurs and therefore, we decided not to shut our loan offices”.
Radio Program Raabta: Dr. Nishtar discusses effective measures taken by government to control Corona outbreak
March 20, 2020, To create awareness about Corona virus emergency, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation reaches out to wider national audience through ‘Raabta’, a national hook up radio program broadcast every day at 10 am. Participating in today’s live program, Dr. Sania Nishtar talked about the several initiatives being taken by the government of Pakistan to combat the spread of Corona Virus in the country. She gave detailed statistics about facilities set up by the government for the general public particularly authorized health centers, quarantines and Corona test facilities. Communicating directly with listeners, she said, “War against Corona is new type of war and collective efforts by the government and citizens are the need of hour to win it. Dr. Rana Jawad Asghar, a renowned epidemiologist from Islamabad also joined the program. Listen here
Radio Program Raabta: Dr. Nishtar briefs masses on statistical developments about Corona pandemic in Pakistan
March 19, 2020, Connecting with general public through Radio Pakistan’s live national hook up program, ‘Raabta’, Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation gave valuable advice to listeners for prevention against Corona Virus. Guiding listeners, she said that the government is taking all measures to cope with the situation. Currently, 35 fully equipped isolation wards have been set up in all provinces including Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Islamabad based epidemiologist, Dr. Rana Jawad Asghar also participated in the program. Listen here
Radio Program Raabta: Dr. Nishtar guides general public on COVID-19 protection and preventive measures
March 18, 2020, To respond to Corono virus crisis, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, participated as a special guest in Radio Pakistan’s special nationally electrified programme ‘Raabta’ and reflected on measures taken by the Government to prevent the spread of Corona virus. She guided listeners about how to protect from COVID-19 by avoiding touching hands with eyes, mouth and nose, shaking hands and hugging. Further, giving Corona prevention advice to listeners, she recommended that one should keep distance of about three feet while interacting with each other and use hand sanitizers. People who are suffering from Corona Virus and those who are looking after them are required to wear mask. There is currently no vaccine to prevent Corona Virus disease 2019 (COVID-19).The best way to prevent illness is to stay at home and avoid being exposed to this virus. Listen here.
Dr. Sania Nishtar holds a new radio program every day to educate masses on Corona Virus
March 17, 2020 – Islamabad: Given the Corona Virus pandemic across Pakistan, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation will be reaching out the wider national audience every morning through Radio Pakistan’s live program, “Raabta” relating to Corona outbreak. Aiming to address the need of the hour, Dr. Nishtar together with Dr. Rana Jawad Asghar who is an expert in epidemiology, will hold new program on daily basis to educate the masses about Corona virus, its transmission, symptoms and precautionary measures. They will reply to questions of listeners who can connect with them on telephone by calling directly at 051-9206995 and 051-9215206. Talking to the people in today’s program, Dr. Nishtar highlighted the measures being taken by the Government of Pakistan to fight this epidemic and urged them to fully cooperate with government by following all required precautionary measures to defeat coronavirus. This program would also be translated and broadcast in Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi, Pushto, Balochi and Barahvi languages and can be listened everyday at 10 am through this link.
Ehsaas ensures people’s health and wellness in making Kafaalat payments amid Corona outbreak
March 17, 2020- Islamabad: Since Covid-19 outbreak has now been classified as a pandemic, Ehsaas has come up with preventive measures for Kafaalat beneficiaries to ensure their safety while trying to continue biometrically enabled Kafaalat payments in the field. Taking into consideration, the current situation wherein Corona epidemic has potentially affected several areas of Pakistan, Kafaalat registration centres mobilized by NADRA across 15 districts of Pakistan have been advised to suspend self-registration drive from March 16, 2020 till April 5, 2020. Alongside that, Ehsaas has issued precautionary protocols to stringently comply with sanitization, hygiene and social distance while making biometrically enabled payments to Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries. To ascertain the compliance of the above beneficiary safety system aimed to combat the corona outbreak, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited an HBL Konnect outlet in Islamabad and demonstrated the precautionary procedure to the women who had gathered at the point of sales to get newly released tranche of Rs. 9,000 that includes previous arrears.
Dr. Nishtar lauds civil society initiative to scale up girls education program
March 13, 2020 – Islamabad: The British High Commission and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in partnership with civil society organisation Idara-i-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) hosted a discussion and marketplace event titled, ‘Leave No Girl Behind: Scaling up What Works for Adolescent Girls in Pakistan’ in Islamabad. In her keynote address, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar lauded the civil society initiative which has a long-standing history of work to promote a second-chance-for-girls in education. Reiterating further, she stated, ‘Government is conscious of glaring gender disparities in many sectors across Pakistan. Attention to women issues particularly social protection, education, livelihoods and economic empowerment is central to Prime Minister’s multisectoral Ehsaas program. We stringently follow 50 percent plus benefits policy for women under Ehsaas to create equal opportunities for them across the board ensuring that no girl is left behind. Ehsaas Kafaalat, undergraduate scholarships, interest free loans and Amdan are specifically aimed to bring women on the pathways to socioeconomic prosperity.’
PM launches Ehsaas Data4Pakistan portal to steer evidence driven decision making in social welfare solutions
March 10, 2020-Islamabad: Prime Minister launched the Ehsaas District Development Portal titled, “Data4Pakistan” that provides open and public access to a spatial interactive portal with poverty estimates, interactive maps, indices and reports for every district in Pakistan, along with over 120 development and policy indicators. The portal currently has six rounds of district poverty and development data, covering the period 2004-18. Addressing the ceremony, the PM said, “A civilized society is known by the standard of living of its poor. This is the first step in finding the necessary ways and means to fight poverty and will help identify areas which are in most need of funds, besides finding other vital statistics about issues being faced by local people.” The portal has been developed in collaboration with the World Bank. This portal will be a very valuable resource for federal, provincial and district level policymakers, for decision making. Earlier, demonstrating the features of this ground-breaking Ehsaas initiative, Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation stated, “Data4Pakistan is one of the 134 programs and policies under Ehsaas that is aimed to leverage data and technology to create solutions for welfare.” The portal can be accessed here.
PM launches Ehsaas Kafaalat in KP to uplift disadvantaged women across the province
March 9, 2020 – Peshawar: The Prime Minister Imran Khan formally launched Ehsaas Kafaalat programme in KP at a ceremony in Mohmand Tribal district to financially and digitally empower the disadvantaged women across KP. During the ceremony, the PM distributed Ehsaas Kafaalat cards among deserving women and appreciated the Kafaalat registration and payment system that has recently been put in place under Ehsaas framework to ensure financial and digital inclusion of the marginalized women. Under the umbrella of Ehsaas, the Kafaalat programme has currently begun by enrolling deserving families in 4 districts of KP- Lakki Marwat, Mohmand Agency, Haripur and Charsadda districts and it will be expanded to all other districts by the end of year. Following on the federal launch of Ehsaas Kafaalat programme by the Prime Minister on Jan 31, 2020 in Islamabad, this was the first provincial launch of Ehsaas Kafaalat in any province. While addressing the event, the PM said, “The government is working to provide relief to the downtrodden segments of the society on the pattern of Riyasat-e-Madina.” Chief Minister, KP Mahmood Khan and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar also spoke at the occasion. Footage can be accessed here.
Dr. Sania joins women’s day celebrations at Aiwan-e-Sadar
March 8, 2020- Islamabad: To celebrate International Women’s Day 2020 and to discuss issue of women’s harassment in Pakistan, President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi hosted an event at Aiwan-e-Sadar in Islamabad. While discussing the issue of women’s harassment at the event, the president also referred to the government’s flagship social welfare programme Ehsaas and said that the government was committed to ensure social and economic betterment of womenfolk. The ceremony was attended by PM’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, PM’s Special Assistant on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza, Federal Ombudsman, Kashmala Tariq, Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui, prominent women personalities and representatives of different organizations.
Dr. Sania Nishtar spot checks Ehsaas Kafaalat Registration Desks at Haripur
March 6, 2020 – Islamabad: In a quest to draw on lessons from the field, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar paid an impromptu visit to Ehsaas Kafaalat registration desks set up by NADRA in Haripur. The visit aimed to overlook the self-registration process for deserving women in Kafaalat through on spot checking and feedback from people and officials. Despite heavy rains, the visit saw long queues of women who had gathered to get themselves registered under the Prime Minister’s Kafaalat program under Ehsaas framework. Dr. Nishtar stood with the applicant women in the queue who had arrived for Kafaalat self-registration, took round of the facility and interacted with women and officials to enquire about the current applicant care process and arrangements. Footage can be accessed here. Later, she visited Alfalah Bank’s alfa pay outlets in Haripur to check the results of newly introduced payment digital payment system for Kafaalat beneficiaries. Footage can be accessed here.
PM grants need based Ehsaas scholarships to leaders of tomorrow
March 2, 2020, Prime Minster Imran Khan granted Ehsaas undergraduate scholarships for academic year 2019-20 to the first batch of deserving students in Islamabad.Addressing the leaders of tomorrow, the Prime Minister reiterated that Pakistan’s biggest asset is the country’s youth and Ehsaas scholarships for deserving undergraduate students is another step towards the realization of the goal of a welfare state based on the pattern of state of Madina. Aiming to provide higher education opportunities for 200,000 students coming from underprivileged backgrounds, the 4-year Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship program is the largest ever need based scholarship program in the history of our country. The scholarship offers full-tuition fee and a living stipend (Rs.4,000 per month) for bright yet disadvantaged students to earn an undergraduate degree at any of the 119 public sector universities across Pakistan (including GB and AJK) recognized by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). As part of the policy, the scholarship support will be continued to awardees throughout the course of their undergraduate degree program based on their academic performance. Earlier, speaking at the award ceremony, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “ The scholarships will be awarded on transparency and merit to help the deserving students get education.”
Ehsaas scholarships to be first ever state sponsored mega initiative: Dr. Nishtar addresses press conference
Feb 28, 2020, Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar while addressing a press conference at PID said that it is for the first time in the history that such a big undergraduate scholarship programme has been initiated purely on government expenses under ‘Ehsaas’ to ensure that 50,000 deserving students access the higher education annually. She addressed a press conference along with a senior leader of PTI, Dr. Shahbaz Gill and Advisor Human Resource Development, HEC, Noor Amna Malik. Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed media that this scholarship will accommodate 200,000 students including 50 per cent girls from the low backgrounds in the four years through providing them full tuition fee as well as living stipends.
Ehsaas Rural Value Chain Building Committee brings myriad stakeholders to the table to formulate Ehsaas rural value chain framework
Feb 28, 2020, The Ehsaas Value Chain Building Committee met today for third time at the Prime Minister’s office to deliberate on strengthening rural value chains agenda, which comes under the umbrella of the pioneering Ehsaas social protection and poverty alleviation programme. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, chaired the meeting. The meeting brought experts’ perspective to the table around building value chains for rural transformation, catalyzing increased productivity, increased incomes for subsistence farmers and job creation. The meeting was an opportunity for the leadership from across eight federal government ministries and Provincial Departments of Agriculture and Livestock – to join representatives of key national and international finance, food and agriculture bodies – including the key persons from State Bank, National Bank of Pakistan, FBR, Government research entities, and representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, USAID and Japan International Cooperation Agency, TELCOS including Telenor and Jazz. In attendance were also representatives from IFAD, which is an international financial institution and specialized United Nations Agency and collaborator on this initiative.
Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships Steering Committee gathers to give final touches to scholarship program
February 27, 2020, The Steering Committee of Ehsaas undergraduate scholarships met for the fourth time to give final touches to the scholarship program for the academic year 2019-2020. The steering committee is co-chaired by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Nishtar and Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr. Tariq Banuri. The steering committee discussed and finalized the schedule for scholarship distribution to 50,000 deserving students for the year 2019-2020. For the current academic year, applications were solicited from students online via HEC’s portal-HEC being the implementing agency for this Ehsaas program. The scholarships award will soon commence and dates for this will be shortly announced. “The steering committee will ensure that scholarship program benefits maximum number of students who are in actual need”, reiterated Dr. Nishtar.
Dr. Sania Nishtar sits on the grounds of QAU to discuss Ehsaas Scholarships
February 26, 2020, Ehsaas undergraduate scholarships is one of the eight priority programs of Ehsaas. For the current academic year (2019/20), the scholarships award will begin soon and dates for this will be shortly announced. In this regard, the Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation made a surprise visit to the Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. She held a dialogue with students in the grounds of QAU. “This was a critical policy consultation, which enabled me to appreciate fully how important financial access to education is for students at an undergraduate level” she said. VC QAU, Muhammad Ali was also present at the occasion. The consultation with students wasn’t held in a fancy hotel or auditorium; there were no microphones or fancy backdrops. She sat on the floor on the grounds of QAU and interacted with students to get insights on their academic aspirations and key challenges being faced by them. She listened to students and empathized with them to understand their concerns and constraints. “I strongly believe that we cannot frame policies sitting back in offices; unless we engage with the beneficiaries of programs we run, we cannot ensure that programs are responsive” she said. The students were delighted to interact with her. Footage can be accessed here.
Ehsaas convenes big data analytics consultation with stakeholders
February 24, 2020, Ehsaas convened a consultative meeting on ‘Big Data Analytics’ with the key stakeholders at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat in Islamabad. The meeting provided an opportunity to develop a better understanding of the existing capacity within the country regarding data analytics and how it can be leveraged to design and implement, accelerated and lasting social protection and poverty alleviation initiatives under the overarching Ehsaas framework. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty and Chairperson BISP chaired the meeting. Big Data Analytics are key to Ehsaas framework as their use enables important insights from programmatic data, enhancing the accuracy of decision-making processes for various Ehsaas programs, initiatives and policy actions.
FAO and Ehsaas explore options to drive forward the progressive agriculture and nutrition agenda
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.
Ehsaas welcomes Turkish First Lady to Pakistan Bait ul Mal’s sewing machine distribution ceremony
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.
Women Empowerment at the heart of Ehsaas: Dr. Sania delivers keynote at GLWE Roundtable
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.”
Dr. Sania makes global recommendations in Geneva to reduce killer diseases
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.
Governor GB and Dr. Sania explore federal-provincial collaborations
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.
Ehsaas determined to reshaping women entrepreneurship: Dr. Sania
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.
PM Imran Khan Launches ‘Ehsaas Kafaalat Programme’ for 7 million deserving 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.
Dr. Sania inspires global women leaders in Karachi
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.
Title: Government’s bold decision to depoliticize Safety nets: Quaid’s picture to be on Ehsaas Kafaalat cards
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.
Dr. Sania inaugurates Ehsaas innovative digital payment system for poorest women in KP
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.
Pakistan Post Foundation helps deliver new flagship Ehsaas Kafalat
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.
Dr. Sania briefs CM KP on Ehsaas Kafalat
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.
Ehsaas Communications Committee Meeting discusses plan for the Ehsaas Kafalat Programme
Jan 27, 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan will be launching the Ehsaas Kafalat programme on January 31, 2020. Preparations are underway to give final touches to the launch. The Ehsaas Communications Committee meeting was an important component of the preparations. The members of the Communications Committee met to deliberate on the comprehensive communications plan for Ehsaas Kafalat Programme. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation chaired the meeting. The meeting discussed print, electronic and social media engagement plans for the forthcoming mega launch event. Kafalat is a key policy of the Ehsaas poverty alleviation programme, which is working to lift around 7 million women out of poverty and create a welfare state.
The Ehsaas Ministry releases the first ever Ehsaas Newsletter
Jan 23, 2020, Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (the Ehsaas Ministry) has released the first-ever “Ehsaas” Newsletter. Since Ehsaas’ inception last year as the country’s largest pro-poor program, it has seen incredible support from local, national and international stakeholders to deliver on the Prime Minister’s vision of creating a 21st century welfare state. The newsletter looks back at the Ehsaas program’s progress over 2019. The newsletter can be accessed here.
Biometric ATMs enabled Ehsaas digital payment system made operational
Jan 24, 2020, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation inaugurated the new biometric ATM at Habib Bank Limited branch (partner bank) in Melody Market Islamabad for the beneficiaries of Ehsaas Kifalat Programme. Prime Minister Imran Khan will be launching the Ehsaas Kifalat programme on January 31, 2020. Preparations are underway to give final touches to the launch. The Ehsaas digital payment system is an important competent of Kifalat and is a significant progress from the earlier BISP payment system in many respects. This is the first ever digital system that has been introduced to facilitate cash transfers to Kifalat women beneficiaries in a transparent manner. Procurement of the system was completed in a transparent manner last year. Two banks Habib Bank Limited (HBL) and Bank Alfalah (BA) were selected after a 10-month procurement process. The senior HBL officials were also present at the inauguration. Footage can be accessed here.
Ehsaas has multiple initiatives that can utilize digital technologies to target neediest population effectively: Dr. Sania
Jan 23, 2020, To improve digital access, Jazz, Pakistan’s leading digital company has launched Pakistan-ka-Smartphone, JazzDigit4G, which is an extremely affordable 4G handset which will be sold at a price of around PKR 1,800. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Chairperson BISP was the chief guest at the launch event who lauded a private sector company for investing in improving the country’s digital and financial inclusion landscape. Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Nishtar stated, “Ehsaas is the Government’s signature programme dedicated towards poverty alleviation in Pakistan through leveraging technology and promoting access of the vulnerable population to digital and financial inclusion.” She then continued, “Most of the digitally excluded segments are poor women, and initiatives like KaiOS which further digital inclusion can improve outcomes significantly. Ehsaas has multiple initiatives that can utilize digital technologies to target the neediest population effectively”.
JICA Mission keen to collaborate with PM’s Ehsaas Programme
January 23, 2020, A visiting Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Mission of 8 members from Tokyo led by Dr. Shigemochi Hirashima, Senior Advisor to JICA met with Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation in Islamabad. The mission aimed to explore the possibilities of collaboration between Ehsaas programme and JICA. During meeting, the deliberations focused on understanding the multisectoral Ehsaas policies, programmes and initiatives concerning poverty alleviation and rural development to explore areas of mutual cooperation and discuss JICA’s ongoing contributions in Pakistan. Secretary PASSD was also present in the meeting. The JICA mission highly commended Ehsaas that is largest ever poverty reduction programme of the Government of Pakistan. Dr. Nishtar appreciated the contributions of JICA in areas of education and health across Pakistan. She briefed the mission about Ehsaas that currently embodies 134 policies and programme areas.
Japan Communications Inc. delegation calls on Dr. Sania
Jan 23, 2020, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was called on by Japan Communications Inc. (JCI) delegation led by Fukuda Naohisa, Chairman, & Fukuda Shizue, Member Board of Directors to explore tech-based collaborative opportunities under the Ehsaas framework. The discussions revolved around promoting access of marginalized population of Pakistan to digitization & Fintech platforms.
12th CSR Summit 2020- Dr. Sania says special system to be launched in three months to ensure transparency in spending private sector donations for Ehsaas programme
Jan 22, 2020, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said that the federal government is going to launch an institutional arrangement in next three months allowing the corporate and private sectors to connect with Ehsaas Programme being the government’s flagship welfare initiative with utmost transparency and efficiency. She stated this while addressing as the chief guest at the inauguration of 12th Annual CSR Summit-2020 organized by National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) in Islamabad. Dr. Nishtar said that she had been advising the philanthropists associated with the country’s corporate sector and willing to donate for the Ehsaas programme to wait for another three months to let this special purpose vehicle be launched allowing the government to receive these donations from the private sector and spend them with utmost integrity and honesty. Further, she added that a web portal would be launched under the proposed arrangement to let the private sector know well as in what manner each of the penny of the philanthropic donations would be spent for the welfare of the individuals and for the benefit of several initiatives of the Ehsaas programme.
President appreciates the philanthropic work of Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal
Jan 22, 2020, President Dr. Arif Alvi during his visit to Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal’s (PBM) was briefed on programmess which are part of Ehsaas framework. The President appreciated the tremendous philanthropic work being done and emphasized that the efforts must be coordinated in the same direction by taking all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the loop for uplifting the marginalized strata of the society to increase the philanthropic footprint across the country. Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Adviser on Establishment, Mohammad Shehzad Arbab, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Khan and Managing Director, Aun Abbas Bappi were also present at the occasion.
BISP signs MoU with Health Department, Government of GB
Jan 22, 2020, BISP inked an MoU with Health Department, Government of Gilgit-Baltistan for the launch of Ehsaas Health & Nutrition Conditional Cash Transfer Programme across Gilgit-Baltistan. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation witnessed the signing ceremony. The project is part of Ehsaas strategy which envisages launch of a new community and health and nutrition initiative to address stunting in children. Under the programme, BISP will provide conditional cash grant to pregnant and lactating BISP beneficiaries and their children under two years of age for consumption of Specialized Nutrition Food (SNF) in 3 districts of GB namely Ghizer, Hunza and Kharmang. In rest of the districts of GB, BISP beneficiaries will be provided with a conditional cash transfer on compliance of immunization against Vaccine Preventable Diseases.
Dr. Sania addresses BISP beneficiaries at Khuli Kachehri in Karachi
Jan 18, 2020, The Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar has announced that under the Upcoming Kifalat Program, the quarterly stipend under the BISP is being increased from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 6,000. She stated this while talking to a large number of women beneficiaries of BISP at a Khuli Kachehri (open court) in Malir, Karachi. Dr. Nishtar said that the stipend was being increased as per the vision of the Prime Minister Imran Khan that the government should benefit the deserving people in the country. Furthermore, she said under the upcoming Ehsaas Kifalat programme, the increased sum of stipend would be dispensed as monthly instalments and every beneficiary would get Rs 2,000 in the first week of each month. Dr. Nishtar elaborated that every woman beneficiary of the programme would have a bank account as special arrangements have been made for evolving this banking system. She continued that women beneficiaries would be able to draw the BISP stipend while using an ATM card. The project is an income support initiative of the federal government under the Ehsaas framework.
Dr. Sania continues drawing on field visits to ensure results-driven implementation of Ehsaas
January 16, 2020, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Choa Saiden Sahah and Kallar Kahar areas in Chakwal together with Secretary, Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and senior officials from NADRA to review the quality of services and facilities being established by NADRA at the special purpose counters for self-registration of Ehsaas beneficiaries so that no deserving person is left out from the Ehsaas programme. She took round of facilities provided at the two self-registration sites, met with the staff and people present there and enquired about the current arrangements. The delegation led by SAPM also visited the BISP Tehsil offices in Choa Saiden Shah and Kallar Kahar and Basic Health Unit in Khairpur areas of Chakwal. During the visit, Dr. Nishtar also met with dwellers of slums residing in the impoverished suburbs of Chakwal. As conversations unfolded, she discussed about the status of registrations of dwelling families with NADRA database and their accessibility to channels and sources of information locally available to them so that Ehsaas could extend maximum benefits to the most deserving.
Ehsaas announces the Winner of Ehsaas Logo Contest
January 16, 2020, Ehsaas has announced, Laila Khan from Shahpur Saddar, Sargodha as the Winner of the Kifalat Logo Contest! Laila’s design will be on all informative material relating to Ehsaas Kifalat program. Earlier this month, Ehsaas had launched an online Kifalat Logo Design Contest to pick bright young minds for creative ideas. By Jan 7, 2020 that was last date of submission, Ehsaas received as many as 42 entries from all across Pakistan. The winner has been selected by the jury of experts. Ehsaas is launching a new program Kifalat by the end of this month. Under Kifalat, deserving women will get stipends, saving bank accounts, and access to interest free loans and skills training opportunities besides other benefits. Details on twitter at @SaniaNishtar.
ADB Mission calls on Dr. Sania Nishtar to explore collaborative options
Jan 15, 2020, The Asian Development Bank Mission called on Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation to explore avenues of technical collaboration under Ehsaas framework. The Mission was led by Country Director, Xaiohong Yang. ADB Mission praised the social welfare and poverty alleviation initiatives rolled out under the multisectoral Ehsaas programme and assured full cooperation to continue its support to the deprived segments of the society in Pakistan, through the Ehsaas programme. Dr. Nishtar acknowledged the support extended by ADB to Pakistan and stated that ADB has a key role in supporting women empowerment and poverty alleviation across the country.
President Hails Ehsaas Inclusive Disability Policies
Jan 8, 2020: President Arif Alvi hosted a high-level consultation with leading civil society representatives from across Pakistan to discuss how the government is expanding access to services for people with disabilities through the Ehsaas program. Also, in attendance were the First Lady of Pakistan, Mrs. Samina Alvi, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Health, Dr. Zafar Mirza, the wives of the Governors of Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, MD Pakistan Bait ul Mal, Aon Abbas Bappi, representative from WHO, civil society as well as other representatives from across the federal government. “Differently-abled people deserve our special attention as they face many hardships, not all of them as a result of their disability,” said President Arif Alvi. He emphasized that collective efforts from all segments of society in synergy with the Government are required to mainstream them in society as well as in social, economic and political decision making.” Held in the President’s House in Islamabad, the two-hour session included a presentation by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection, who explained how Ehsaas is targeting its policies to ensure that the differently abled can thrive in Pakistan.
Ehsaas and UBL explore options to improve financial access of disadvantaged
Jan 8, 2020: Ehsaas and United Bank Limited (UBL) came to the table in Islamabad to explore collaborative options for improving financial access of the disadvantaged segments of population. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation (PASSD). Secretary PASSD was also present. UBL team was led by Sima Kamil, CEO and President, UBL.
The deliberations revolved around new Ehsaas initiatives to enhance financial accessibility of the vulnerable to enable them to escape poverty. The Ehsaas Financial Inclusion is a multi-component initiative. It includes the Prime Minister’s one woman one bank account policy; bank accounts for informal workers under Mazdoor ka Ehsaas and promotion of access to credit for the bottom of the pyramid.
BISP takes action against Government officers who took benefit from BISP
Jan 8, 2020: BISP has taken action against 2,543 government officers/their spouses of grade-17 and above who had got themselves registered among the beneficiaries from the social safety net and received the assistance meant for the poorest of the poor. They have been excluded from the programme. The BISP has also written to the provincial chief secretaries and federal ministries whose officers had illegally enrolled themselves as BISP beneficiaries. To avoid such irregularities in future, appropriate measures had been taken under the government’s Ehsaas programmer reforms, Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and BISP Chairperson said. According to official data, the highest number of government officials receiving the BISP assistance was from Sindh. As many as 1,122 officers of Grade-17 and above from the province had been BISP beneficiaries. The second highest number came from Balochistan where 741 government officials were signed up for the poverty alleviation scheme. From Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 403 government officials availed the BISP funds, while 137 did so from Punjab. From the federal government, 62 officers received the programme funds. Additionally, one officer of the Pakistan Railways, 22 of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and 49 of Gilgit-Baltistan were also marked as undeserving recipients of the BISP.
Dr. Sania Nishtar paid unannounced visits in Islamabad to enquire about quality of Ehsaas social welfare programmes
Jan 3, 2019: Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation paid surprise visits to Islamabad based branchless banking retailer outlets of BISP’s partner commercial bank in Blue Area, F-8 and G-9 areas of Islamabad. The visit aimed to check the working of their officials while dealing with registered deserving women. Recently, BISP has introduced quarterly payments to women through biometric verification at branchless banking retailers. Dr. Nishtar sat with the women present at the outlets to collect cash grants and discussed with them the problems they were facing while receiving their compensations. This was part of her visits to enquire about the quality of Ehsaas programmes, witnessing and observing on-the-ground situation without prior intimation. The footage can be accessed here. Later, she visited Utility Store situated at G-9 in Islamabad together with Chairman and Managing Director, Utility Stores Corporation to see the quality of food and non-food items that are provided to the public and specially to the poor, at comparatively cheaper rates than the market. During her visit, she appreciated USC’s commitment in line with the Prime Minister’s directives to ensure the provision of basic commodities to the poverty-stricken families on subsidized and cheaper rates.The footage can be accessed here.
Sania Nishtar Visits Panagah At Mandi More
Jan 1, 2019: Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar who leads the Ehsaas programme paid a surprise visit to the Mandi More Panah Gah together with DC Islamabad and his team to review the facilities being provided by the government to people in need. Dr. Nishtar took round of the facility and interacted with the people staying there. She assured them that the Ehsaas would take similar steps to improve their economic conditions. The Special Assistant shared that Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed all the Cabinet Ministers to visit Panah Gahs and ensure that nobody stays shelterless and hungry in this extreme cold weather. Adding further, she said, “Ehsaas is committed to ensure that Panah Gahs serve the needy and poor across the country.” Free meal is served to 1,500 people at the Panah Gah everyday. The people, labourers and needy travelers living in the Panah Gah, were happy to find Dr. Nishtar among them. The footage can be accessed here.
New Study launched on leveraging social protection system for stunting prevention
Dec 17, 2019, A new study in Pakistan has revealed a 15 percent reduction in stunting and 33 percent reduction in wasting in children at 24 months as a result of specialized nutritious foods (SNF), cash-based transfers, and social and behavioral change communication (SBCC). The joint study by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), the Aga Khan University, and the Integrated Reproductive Maternal Newborn, Child Health & Nutrition Program (IRMNCH&NP), focused on the impact of the in-kind provisions to prevent stunting among children aged between six and 23 months in Rahimyar Khan. In her remarks, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation stated, “Child stunting is a double-edged sword and remains a major barrier to the human capital development. It is linked to a number of factors including quality of water, sanitation and agricultural incontaminations etc. Within framework of Ehsaas, this new study will guide design and implementation of all nutrition specific policies and interventions on the basis of evidence.”
Oxford University professor praises Ehsaas
Dec 16, 2019, Dr. Sabina Alkire, Professor at the Oxford University visited Pakistan from December 12-15 on the special invitation of Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant of the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and UNDP. Dr. Alkire is the Director of Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford. Dr. Alkire is a global expert in poverty measurement and has developed the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). She was in Pakistan to assist with poverty estimations for Ehsaas. “This year, Dr. Sania Nishtar’s presentation of the innovative Ehsaas Strategy at the MPPN’s UN General Assembly event fomented keen interest. The reason? It had a coherent, high-profile problem-focused approach to poverty using many kinds of tools across different sectors and provinces: legal, financial, judicial, statistical, institutional. Coordination and management are the heart of the Ehsaas approach so diverse actors together could take out the thorns perpetuating poverty”, said Dr. Alkire.
Dr. Sania inaugurates two- day women expo in Islamabad
Dec 15, 2019, Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) organized a two-day expo at Pak-China Friendship Centre on 14th and 15th December, 2019. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation inaugurated the event. The annual event was attended by the women entrepreneurs from all over Pakistan while different NGOs, banks, multinationals, mobile operators, diplomats, and government officials participated in the largest women’s exhibition in Pakistan. Dr. Nishtar met with women entrepreneurs, encouraged them and visited their stalls featuring inspirational work of women in textiles, embroidery, jewelry and pottery etc. Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Nishtar said, “Ehsaas is keen to support women entrepreneurs. We will call the second meeting of IWCCI at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat soon to find solutions to problems of women entrepreneurs”.
Ehsaas ties the knot with Facebook
December 14, 2019, In partnership with Facebook, the Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety Division launched the first-of-its-kind Design Hackathon on malnutrition at the National Incubation Centre in Islamabad. Over the course of two-days, the Design Hackathon will connect experts in malnutrition with digital marketers who, with additional support from Facebook, will help build innovative digital campaigns for social media around the challenges of malnutrition. This is the first in a series of Ehsaas – Facebook collaborative initiatives. “To fight malnutrition today, we need 21st century tools such as digital marketing techniques on social media that can reach wide audiences,” said Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, speaking today at the launch event.
New Ehsaas Poverty Index Key to Tackling Poverty
December 14, 2019, In partnership with Facebook, the Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety Division launched the first-of-its-kind Design Hackathon on malnutrition at the National Incubation Centre in Islamabad. Over the course of two-days, the Design Hackathon will connect experts in malnutrition with digital marketers who, with additional support from Facebook, will help build innovative digital campaigns for social media around the challenges of malnutrition. This is the first in a series of Ehsaas – Facebook collaborative initiatives. “To fight malnutrition today, we need 21stcentury tools such as digital marketing techniques on social media that can reach wide audiences,” said Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, speaking today at the launch event.
Dr. Sabina Alkire calls on President of Pakistan to discuss the use of MPI for poverty policy
Dec 13, 2019, Professor Dr. Sabina Alkire, Director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative together with Dr. Sania Nishtar called on honorable President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi in Islamabad. They briefed the President about a potential multidimensional poverty plus metrics for Pakistan to gauge progress and impact of Ehsaas programme. The President lauded expert inputs of Dr. Alkire for developing new Ehsaas index to tackle poverty that is currently in the pipeline. Dr. Alkire is here in Pakistan to share international experiences about the use of MPI for poverty policy. She works on a new approach to measuring poverty and well-being that goes beyond the traditional focus on income and growth. This multidimensional approach to measurement includes social goals, such as health, education, nutrition, standard of living and other valuable aspects of life.
Improving Learning Outcomes and Investing in Girls & Women Crucial to Pakistan’s Sustained Growth
December 11, 2019, A national 100-day action program to support girls’ education and women’s economic empowerment launched today at Quaid-e-Azam University, supported by the World Bank Group. The ‘Girls Learn, Women Earn’ launch concluded with a roundtable discussion on women’s participation in the labor force, led by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and Chairperson of the BISP. During her keynote address, Dr. Nishtar highlighted the multiple policies under the Ehsaas programme which are driving women’s fuller participation in both the economy and society. She highlighted, “Kifalat is the new digital and financial inclusion policy for poor women under the Ehsaas framework. In addition to stipends, eligible women will now get bank accounts and will have access to mobile phones.”
The Ehsaas Labour Expert Group’s recommendations report in the pipeline
December 10, 2019, The Ehsaas Labour Expert Group (LEG) in its tenth meeting today afforded the opportunity for all stakeholders to sit together, around one table, and flesh out avenues for ensuring that every worker in Pakistan whether they work in the formal or informal economy is provided the protection and minimum standard of living, as pledged by the Constitution of Pakistan. The expert deliberations were held around the key findings of draft report furnished by the LEG for extension of social protection services to the informal labor sector in the first phase of its working. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Chairperson of the BISP.
SDG Hackathon 2019 concludes
Dec 8, 2019, The two-and-a-half-day SDG Hackathon 2019 event brought together over 150 participants; a mix of technologists, designers, urban planners, social scientists, NGOs and CSOs, and government representatives to develop innovative solutions aimed to address five particular UN Sustainable Development Goals using technology, data and digital tools. The Women SDG Challenge Cup 2019 was held alongside the hackathon, where women entrepreneurs pitched their startups with a mission to create civic and social impact. “It has been inspiring to hear from the SDG Hackathon participants who are leveraging technology, design thinking and open-source hacking to pave the way for achieving Sustainable Development Goals,” said Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation in her closing remarks at the concluding Award Ceremony.
Pakistan: National Survey on Violence against Healthcare Workers launched
Dec 6, 2019, According to the study “Violence against Healthcare Workers: A Survey across 16 Cities of Pakistan” compiled by the International Committee of the Red Cross in collaboration with local research institutes and partners, more than one third of the health-care providers surveyed had experienced some form of violence in the last six months. Speaking at the launch ceremony of the study in Islamabad, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar underlined the grave consequences of violence in healthcare settings and its adverse effects on the delivery of health care. “It is important that we, as healthcare practitioners and as attendants work on changing behaviours towards violence against healthcare and adopt specific multi-disciplinary strategies to protect health care.”
All Pakistan Women Chambers’ Presidents call on Sania Nishtar to seek partnership under Ehsaas
Dec 3, 2019, Presidents of all Pakistan Women Chambers accompanied by leadership of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry called on Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat. The meeting took stock of key challenges and opportunities for women entrepreneurs around economic activities in the country and explored options for supporting the Women Chambers under the Ehsaas that is the multisectoral antipoverty programme of the Government.
Digital online education system through mobile phones would be introduced to facilitate the people in far flung areas: Dr. Sania
Dec 2, 2019, Honorable President Dr. Arif Alvi inaugurated the three-day conference on “Sustainable Development in a Digital Society”, organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was a keynote speaker at the inaugural session. Addressing the conference, Dr. Nishtar said that the Ehsaas is a multi-sector and multi-component programme encompassing 130 programmes and policy initiatives. She continued that on December 13, a hackathon would be held in collaboration with the Facebook to create mass awareness on the issue of malnutrition. Regarding the utilization of technology in its initiatives, she said a digital online education system through mobile phones would be introduced to facilitate the people in far flung areas, besides establishing agricultural value chains for the farmers. Moreover, she said, the prime minister had recently approved a policy under which 70 million women would be transferred cash assistance through their mobile wallet.
All Pakistan Women Chambers Summit celebrates women in business
Dec 1, 2019, Third All Pakistan Women Chambers Presidents’ Summit (APWCPS) organized by Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) began in Rawalpindi. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was a chief guest at the inauguration ceremony. Sayed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Special Assistant to the PM for Overseas Pakistanis & HRD was also present at the occasion. The summit brought together presidents of women chambers and large number of women entrepreneurs from all across the country. Dr. Nishtar invited Presidents of all Women Chambers in town to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat for a consultation on exploring collaborations under Ehsaas for ensuring effective participation of women in our economy.
Graduates urged to face challenges with courage and perseverance
Nov 30, 2019, Three hundred and fifty graduates celebrated the completion of their programmes at the Aga Khan University’s convocation ceremony where they were urged to remember the importance of courage, perseverance and agility in the years to come. The chief guest at the event, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Pakistan’s Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty alleviation, spoke to the graduating class about integrity, or staying true to one’s moral principles. “The crux of my experience leads me to believe that in order to make lasting and sustainable change you have to root your actions in integrity.”
Graduation ceremony at PAF finishing School held
Nov 30, 2019, Graduation ceremony of the 47th batch of PAF Finishing School was held at the Officers’ Mess, PAF Complex here on Friday. Dr. Sania Nishtar, special assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety was the chief guest at the occasion. The chief guest awarded certificates to the graduating students. Dr. Nishtar congratulated the students on successful completion of their personality development programme at this unique institution of the country. She also praised the standard of training at this premier institution and lauded the efforts of the faculty members in grooming the womenfolk of our society.
HRH Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan and Sania Nishtar Commit to addressing malnutrition in the 1000 days window
Nov 29, 2019, HRH Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan met with Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation in Islamabad to discuss current projects aimed at fighting malnutrition in Pakistan. HRH Princess Sarah is a Special Advisor to the World Food Programme (WFP) on Mother and Child Nutrition, campaigns globally to bring attention to the criticality of good nutrition in the first 1,000 days from conception to a child’s second birthday. Tackling malnutrition is also a core focus of Ehsaas, the government’s pioneering poverty alleviation programme. The meeting was part of a high-level mission by Princess Sarah to Pakistan hosted by the World Food Programme. Addressing the meeting, HRH Princess Sarah lauded the Government of Pakistan’s commitment to address malnutrition across Pakistan. She reiterated that malnutrition has long lasting consequences for families and countries.
Prime Minister launches flagship Ehsaas financial inclusion initiatives
Nov 26, 2019, Millions of people in Pakistan will finally have access to financial services, thanks to the Ehsaas Financial Inclusion Initiatives launched today by the Prime Minister Imran Khan. Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands attended the launch in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA). Her Majesty Queen Maxima spoke passionately about the need to promote financial inclusion as a tool to empower women and achieve social goals. At the launch, Prime Minister praised the new Ehsaas financial inclusion initiatives and noted the significant impact these will have on the ability of the poorest to escape poverty. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation presented an overview of Ehsaas Financial Inclusion Initiatives. The Ehsaas Financial Inclusion is a multi-component initiative. It includes the Prime Minister’s “one woman one bank account policy”; bank accounts for informal workers under Mazdoor ka Ehsaas; promotion of access to credit for the bottom of the pyramid. Details of Ehsaas Financial Inclusion Initiatives can be accessed here.
Ehsaas holds bilateral meeting with Queen Maxima on financial inclusion
Nov 26, 2019, Earlier today, Ehsaas held a bilateral meeting with a delegation led by Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. The conversation aimed to reinforce collaboration on Financial inclusion in Pakistan under Ehsaas programme. The meeting was hosted by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation who leads Ehsaas programme. During the meeting Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and Secretary BISP were also present. Queen Máxima is visiting Pakistan in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA).
Prime Minister to launch flagship Ehsaas financial initiatives
Nov 25, 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan will tomorrow launch the Ehsaas, ‘Financial Inclusion Initiatives’ in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. Queen Máxima is visiting Pakistan in her capacity as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA). “We look forward to welcoming Queen Maxima to Pakistan who has worked for ten years as the UNSGSA to give people safe and affordable access to the financial services they need to protect themselves against hardship and invest in their futures. With access to a broad range of financial tools – savings, credit, insurance, payments and more, families can move out of poverty, small businesses can expand, farmers can thrive, and societies and economies can grow stronger and more inclusive. The Ehsaas’ financial inclusion initiatives drive access to financial services for the poorest and most marginalized,” said Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation.
KP Cabinet briefed about Ehsaas
November 21, 2019, KP Cabinet in its 25th meeting was briefed on the Ehsaas programme. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was in the provincial capital for the briefing. Chief Minister KP, Mahmood Khan chaired the meeting. The aim of the meeting was to inform the KP Cabinet about the Ehsaas framework and begin to identify areas for coordination and collaboration. Dr. Nishtar outlined details of Ehsaas programme and particularly stressed on areas which are relevant to federal – provincial partnerships. Members of the Cabinet took keen interest in the ‘Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy’. This was the fourth provincial briefing that Dr. Nishtar has led on Ehsaas, following briefings in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab.
Ehsaas to partner with Facebook on malnutrition ‘Hackathon’
November 20, 2019, The Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety Division (PASSD) has announced it will partner with Facebook and Invest2Innovate to host a first-of-its-kind ‘Design Hackathon’ on malnutrition at the National Incubation Centre, Islamabad on 14th – 15th December. “Ehsaas is bringing together the brightest talent in digital marketing and technology to tackle malnutrition across the country and improve millions of lives”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation. “Social media is an important channel through which educate and inform the public, and we are excited to see the results of this pioneering Design Hackathon.” Interested digital agencies, health startups, NGOs and individuals with applicable skills who are committed to social justice and poverty alleviation in Pakistan are encouraged to apply. To apply, please click here.
TVO Board meets after six years
Nov 18, 2019, The Board of Directors of Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO) has been constituted after six years and held its first meeting today. The TVO was created as an indigenous grantmaking organization in 1990 following an agreement between the Governments of Pakistan and the USA to establish a Special Development Fund, TVO was set up to tap the potential of NGOs. However, for the last six years, its Board had not been constituted, as a result of which, its operations were stalled. Earlier this year, the process of recruiting the Board was initialized in a transparent manner. TVO has been revitalized under Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division because it is envisaged to be one of the executing agencies which will execute the programmes under Ehsaas policy action number thirty-six that aims to serve the marginalized. Today, Dr. Sania Nishtar addressed the TVO Board to communicate to them, the Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy of the Government.
Roll out of Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy and Observatory begins
Nov 15, 2019, Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) today began the implementation of the Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy, which was formally approved by the Cabinet and launched earlier this week. The purpose of the policy is to build systems that strongly discourage corruption, and to promote efficiency, transparency and accountability for results and compliance with the rules. Dr. Sania Nishtar convened a meeting attended by the Principal Accounting Officers and ancillary organizations of the PASSD namely BISP, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, and Trust for Voluntary Organizations. The meeting discussed a roadmap for implementation of the new policy and addressed questions around making it as robust as possible.
Development partners, UN agencies and international organizations join forces for Ehsaas
Nov 15, 2019, Eminent intergovernmental agencies and international organizations have joined forces to support the roll-out of the Ehsaas poverty alleviation programme. The Ehsaas Development Partnership Group brought together 45 country heads and representatives from 25 development partners, UN agencies and international organizations working across Pakistan. Meeting today for the first time in Islamabad, the group discussed the terms of reference of their newly established group, the main objective of which is to provide integrated, coherent and aligned technical support and strategic advice to Government of Pakistan for the implementation of Ehsaas strategy. “Ehsaas aims to lift millions of people in Pakistan out of poverty, creating a welfare state in our country for the first time”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, who chaired the first meeting of the group.
Ehsaas leader champions women in the economy
Nov 14, 2019, Texas, USA – Pakistan will thrive as more women participate in the economy. That was the message behind a keynote speech delivered by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation at the U.S.-Pakistan Women in the Economy Symposium today. Hosted by the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University in coordination with the US-Pakistan Women’s Council, the roundtable was focused on ambitious ideas to propel women in the economy forward. Dr. Nishtar joined the meeting, which took place in College Station, Texas, via video-link. During her speech she highlighted the multiple policies under the Ehsaas programme which are driving women’s fuller participation in both the economy and society.
New Innovative Financing Key to Tackling Extreme Poverty
Nov 12, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Chairperson BISP was the keynote speaker at the roundtable on innovative financing for social impact. The roundtable was jointly organized by Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP) and Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit in Islamabad. The event was attended by members of the Ehsaas programme committee who are developing innovative financing mechanisms through bilateral and multilateral collaboration with the corporate sector, philanthropists, INGOs, and UN agencies. Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Nishtar stated: “It is imperative that Pakistan begin to adopt innovative financing models for the Ehsaas programme, so that it can maximize social impact and fulfill its mission to lift millions of people out of poverty. With a more strategic, collaborative and outcome focused approach to philanthropy and social investing, we can ensure that resources are deployed as effectively as possible to address key social challenges.”
Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Observatory and Policy Aims to Tackle Corruption
Nov 12, 2019, The Cabinet today approved the proposal of “Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Observatory” and “Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy”. Speaking to the press, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation said, “The policy is binding on the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and its ancillary organizations, namely, the Benazir Income Support Programme, Bait-ul-Mal, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, and Trust for Voluntary Organizations and the observatory is meant to ensure tracking of compliance, and, since the key issue with policies is their implementation, that is why, the observatory and the policy have been launched together”. The purpose of the policy is to build systems that strongly discourage corruption, and to promote efficiency, transparency and accountability for results and compliance with rules. These measures are meant to make organizations involved in delivery of welfare, effective and responsive to the needs of those who they are meant to serve, and to ensure rule-based control on the use of public resources.
PM’s Inter-Ministerial Pakistan National Nutrition Coordination Council (PNNCC) convenes its maiden meeting under Ehsaas
Nov 8, 2019, The Pakistan National Nutrition Coordination Council (PNNCC) held its maiden meeting in Islamabad today. The creation of the council has been hailed internationally, since the Prime Minister chairs the council with six ministers as its members reflecting both a multisectoral construct as well as high political commitment to address malnutrition. The first meeting was convened by the Vice Chair of the council, Dr. Sania Nishtar and was attended by Dr. Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Systems, Regulations and Coordination and other members of the council. The discussion during the first meeting brought the light to myriad nutrition stakeholders working in a fragmented manner with no coordination and significant overlap and duplication. The council has been created to overcome that in coherence. The members of the council decided that mapping of nutrition stakeholders in digital observatory style documentation should be developed as a starting point.
PM announces 200,000 need based undergraduate scholarships under Ehsaas to uplift the unprivileged
November 4, 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan has today launched the Ehsaas Scholarships Programme for undergraduate students from low-income backgrounds. Ehsaas has 134 policies, programmes and initiatives and this scheme, which is primarily aimed at enhancing access to higher education is key to building a new Pakistan that works for everyone. The Rs.20 billion need-based scheme is a key initiative of BISP and Higher Education Commission (HEC) under which 50,000 scholarships per year will be awarded to undergraduate students (50 percent girls) from underprivileged families and areas over the next four years. Past scholarship schemes focused on post-graduate degree programmes. However, the new Ehsaas initiative represents a major educational policy change with the focus on undergraduate degrees because they contribute the most to furthering income generation potential. Speaking at the event, the Prime Minister said, “This initiative will drive the country’s talented youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve academic excellence. People have no idea what a big change this programme will bring. Due to unemployment, the talented and intelligent youth of the country were developing intolerance and a tendency towards negative practices; however, this scholarship programme will help deserving students divert their energies towards positivity”. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Chairperson BISP also spoke at the event. “Undergraduate Scholarships Programme is one of the best opportunities for students who cannot bear their academic expenses. It is an important element of the Ehsaas framework that aims to foster human capital development and shared prosperity through investing in education of the most deserving and needy, particularly girls”.
WB President visits BISP HQs
Nov 1, 2019, David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group during his visit to Pakistan visited headquarters of BISP. David Malpass was leading a delegation consisting of two regional vice presidents and other high-ranking officials from the Bank. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Chairperson BISP Dr. Sania Nishtar together with Dr. Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination welcomed the World Bank’s President and his delegation and briefed them on the importance attached by the government to the uplift of the marginalized segments of the society and the positive contribution Ehsaas is making to address poverty and inequality in Pakistan. Dr. Nishtar informed the delegation on government’s multi-sectoral Ehsaas Program and stated that despite limited fiscal space, social protection has been placed high on the government’s agenda and significantly increased resources have been allocated for social protection. Dr. Nishtar also informed Malpass about on new payment model of Kifalat program, which will promote financial inclusion of women through one woman one bank account. During the briefing, Malpass was also apprised of the governance reforms undertaken at BISP to bring transparency and efficiency in operations. Dr. Nishtar also described the mother and child health and nutrition initiative of BISP, recently approved by the BISP Board. David Malpass also had an interactive session with the BISP beneficiaries who, as a part of BISP’s collaboration efforts with the private sector, had improved their livelihood potential and had started their small businesses. He heard the stories of the beneficiaries and asked them questions about the use they made of the cash transfers from the government and the ways in which they embarked on the journey of self-reliance.
High-level conference focuses on transforming poverty in Pakistan
October 30, 2019, Today the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) held its 3rd International Conference on Research and Learning, entitled ‘Beyond Action, Towards Transformation’. The conference focused on developing further dimensions in knowledge and assessed how PPAF’s interventions poor have transformed the lives and communities of the poor. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, Dr. Sania Nishtar was a keynote speaker at the inaugural session of the conference. Addressing the audience on the occasion, she said, “I would like to congratulate PPAF on putting together the 3rd International Conference on Research and Learning which will help us navigate the impact of the Graduation Programme on a national scale. Through the Poverty Graduation Programme we aim to make the beneficiaries independent and self-reliant by providing the vulnerable segments of society with livelihoods and social protection. The government is committed to creating greater social and economic equality. Under the ambit of Ehsaas we envision to empower millions across Pakistan by laying greater emphasis on asset transfer.” Other notable speakers at the conference included Hubert Boirard, Country Programme Manager for Pakistan at the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Dr Imran Rasul, Professor of Economics at University College London, Mr. Ijaz Nabi, Mr. Rehan Rafay Jamil, Ms. Ruven Menikdiwela, Country Representative for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Pakistan and many others.
Vice Chancellors Welcome Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Scheme
Oct 26, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation has termed the Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Scheme as highly transformational, as it is the largest ever need-based scholarship programme to promote human capital investment. The formal launch of the Scheme by the Prime Minister is planned for next week. She was telephonically addressing the 26th Vice Chancellors Committee Meeting convened by Dr. Muhammad Ali, Chair of the VCs Committee to brief them about the Government’s upcoming Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Scheme. The heads of public universities across the country attended the meeting, majority of them joined through video link from their campuses. She said that the Prime Minister Imran Khan is keen that this Scheme should benefit maximum number of students across the country, and that the Government will allocate more resources for it in the coming years. Dr. Tariq Banuri, Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) gave a detailed briefing to the Vice Chancellors on the newly conceptualized scholarship scheme, entitled Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Scheme.
Project Steering Committee formulates policy guidelines of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships Scheme
Oct 25, 2019, The project steering committee met today to finalize policy guidelines for the final launch of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Scheme planned for next week. The meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Dr. Tariq Banuri, Chairman, HEC. Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Additional Secretary Finance, Executive Director HEC, DG – HEC and Convener VCs Committee also came to the table. The Scheme will award Ehsaas scholarships to low-income students enrolled in four and five-year undergraduate programmes. All students from low-income families studying in undergraduate programs in public sector universities are eligible to apply. Selection will be based on need-cum-merit, i.e., on the basis of the student’s GPA and family income (below a maximum threshold). The scholarship covers tuition fee and a living stipend. Fifty per cent of the scholarships will be awarded to female students, while students with special needs as well as those from remote and disadvantaged areas will also be encouraged to apply.
The multisectoral Ehsaas Value Chain Building Committee meets for the first time
Oct 24, 2019, Eight federal ministries and 4 provincial ministries were at the table when the multisectoral Ehsaas Value Chain Building Committee met for the first time at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat. Poverty in rural areas is deeply linked to agriculture and Pakistan is being faced with unique agriculture challenges particularly small landholdings, subsistence farming, exploitation by extractive Aarhtis (middlemen) and stress selling. Unless private sector investment is made in building rural value chains, it will be difficult to break away from the rural poverty cycle. Ehsaas’ multisectoral Ehsaas Value Chain Building Committee’s diverse perspectives will help to shape a value chain building policy to address these challenges. The Ehsaas Value Chain Building Committee was convened by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation.
The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition lauds the constitution of Inter-ministerial Nutrition Taskforce under Ehsaas
Oct 22, 2019, The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, which is funded by the UK Department for International Development, invited Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation to join the Global Panel’s High Level Stakeholder Group (HLSG) meeting in Windsor, UK. Dr. Nishtar attended the meeting through video conferencing. The main objective of the meeting was to seek the critique of members on the Global Panel’s second foresight report on positioning food systems to deliver healthy and sustainable diets. Virtually addressing the meeting as a panel member, Dr. Nishtar elaborated the multisectoral approach of the government of Pakistan under the Ehsaas framework to address nutrition. “Tackling malnutrition is embedded in the strategy of Ehsaas,” she stated.
Senate Standing Committee discusses BISP – USC collaboration
October 21, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to the meeting of the standing committee on Industries and Production. The standing committee was discussing performance issues of Utility Stores Corporation (USC) along with ways of reforming this organization. Several options came into discussion including tax exemptions, subsidies and low mark up on bank loans. One of the options discussed was routing BISP cash stipends to women beneficiaries through Utility Stores Corporation. The members of the standing committee strongly emphasized on the latter. They said that if BISP routes its cash transfers to women through USC and give rations instead of cash, then USC will become viable. Chairperson BISP, Dr. Nishtar explained that the government had taken the decision to transform the existing cash out operations of BISP into the Ehsaas Kifalat programme through which women will have access to bank accounts and mobile phones under the ‘one woman one bank account initiative’. ‘It was not possible to change the policy course, and in any case, it does not make any logical sense to make change in policy course in order to salvage another organization which should focus on overcoming its performance constraints’, she elaborated.
Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal and PPAF sign MoU to exploit synergy within Ehsaas for women empowerment
Oct 18, 2019, Under overarching Ehsaas framework, two of the executing agencies of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD)- Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), signed an MoU in Islamabad to capitalize on impactful synergies. This partnership based on collaboration and leveraging is primarily aimed at women’s economic empowerment and their uplifting in society. As part of the MoU- 25,000 women trained by Women Empowerment Centres (WECs) of PBM will be provided with interest free loans by PPAF, enabling them to become economically sustainable. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Shaista Sohail, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division witnessed the signing ceremony as Aon Abbas Bappi, Managing Director, PBM and Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO, PPAF inked the MoU. Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Nishtar termed the new collaboration within Ehsaas, as a great initiative and hoped that it will benefit deserving women to graduate out of poverty.
Dr Sania receives D.Sc from Kings College London
Oct 16, 2019, Kings College, London has conferred the prestigious Doctorate of Science Honoris Causa on Dr. Sania Nishtar on October 16, in London. Dr. Sania Nishtar is a Kings alumna, and already has a Ph.D from Kings College.
This honour was conferred upon her for her work and contribution in global health and development. She is the only Pakistani woman with both a Ph.D and a D.Sc. According to the Rt. Hon the Lord Geidt, Chairman of Kings College, London “honorary degrees are conferred by Kings on persons of conspicuous merit and the highest distinction. Honorary Graduands have no formal duties as such, but may of course contribute to the life of the University by sharing experiences and expertise or engaging socially” Dr. Nishtar received her degree in person in London. Talking to the press she said “she is deeply humbled”.
Governor Sindh presents Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Nishtar at 11th Annual Ladies Fund Women’s Awards 2019
Oct 12, 2019, To acknowledge the contributions of women in various fields, Dawood Global Foundation held an award ceremony, 11th Annual Ladies Fund Women’s Awards for Pakistan 2019, at the Governor House in Karachi. Honorable Governor Sindh, Imran Ismail was the chief guest at the event. He presented lifetime achievement award to Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation. Dr. Nishtar also chairs the Benazir Income Support Program and the United Nations International Institute for Global Health’s Advisory Committee. Hundreds of the inspiring women attended the ceremony where people had gathered to celebrate the strength and empowerment of women and acknowledge their achievements of various categories.
Dr. Sania calls on Governor Sindh to explore Ehsaas collaborations
Oct 12, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation who was on a one -day visit to Karachi called on honourable Governor Sindh, Imran Ismail at Governor House in Karachi. Both agreed to explore collaboration around what Ehsaas can offer to Sindh and how can it partner with federal government and private sectors. The Governor termed Ehsaas as a key step of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to eliminate poverty.
BISP to massively revamp financial inclusion, education, nutrition and emergency relief packages under Ehsaas
Oct 10, 2019, Under the framework of Ehsaas, the Board of BISP approved the increase in the stipend amount for girls from Rs. 750 to Rs. 1,000 and the provision of emergency relief to the residents of villages along the Line of Control. The Board also approved the plan to extend the Conditional Cash Transfer programme for education to another 50 districts around the country to bring out of school children within the education system. The Board meeting was held here which was attended by Secretary BISP, Zafar Khan, Atif Bajwa, Khawar Mumtaz, Ashfaq Hassan Khan, Qazi Azmat Isa and representatives of various government departments. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Chairperson BISP Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the Board on the governance and transparency improvement measures introduced in the Programme. She termed the signing of the banking contracts as a step towards transparent payment mechanism and evidence that the present government continues to bring about significant governance improvements for creating a welfare state modeled on Riasat-e-Madina. In order to address stunting and malnutrition, already emphasized in Ehsaas, a pilot project to provide specialized nutritious food packets to poor mothers and their children was also approved. The project will be launched in one district of each province along with GB, AJK and merged districts of KP.
Dr. Sania Nishtar terms the new payment system a step towards good governance
Oct 10, 2019, BISP has signed a historic memorandum of understanding with Habib Bank Limited and Bank Alfalah Limited on a strategic partnership that will enable financial inclusion of millions of women as envisioned in Ehsaas programme under the one-woman-one-bank-account initiative. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection and Chairperson BISP, Dr. Sania Nishtar said that a series of policy initiatives and measures are being taken to turn BISP into a model of good governance. She said that the new biometric based payment solution developed by BISP through an open and consultative process was a great step to ensure good governance, transparency and efficiency in the payment mechanism for beneficiaries. Hiring of the new financial institutions through a transparent and open competitive bidding process was a significant development for improved service delivery and fraud prevention, she added. A competitive procurement process completed in eight months was carried out in most transparent manner with representation from all relevant ministries and organizations.
Dr. Sania engages with daily wage labourers in Islamabad
Oct 9, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation paid a surprise visit to Peshawar More, Islamabad to meet with daily wage labourers. She sat with the labourers and listened to their problems. Labourers informed Dr. Nishtar that those from low income backgrounds who apply for Government of Pakistan class-4 jobs over and over again have to pay PKR 500 with each application which is a massive cost for them. Speaking to the labourers, Dr. Nishtar said that most useful lessons for policy come through engagement on ground and she will relay their voice in the cabinet to address their concern.
Regular Ehsaas Communications Committee takes place at the PM Secretariat
Oct 9, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation chaired the regular Ehsaas Communications Committee meeting held at the PM Secretariat on Oct 9, 2019. During the meeting, the communications plan for the upcoming Ehsaas undergraduate scholarships scheme and the World Poverty Day was set up in a consultative manner. In addition, the committee focused on exploring ways to communicate more effectively to target those who could benefit from the government’s Ehsaas’ interventions, precisely those that are marginalized and the hardest to reach out. Secretary PASSD, Principal Information Officer, PIDPASSD and communications and media representatives from various stakeholders including MoIB, PID, Associated Press of Pakistan, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, PEMRA, PTV News, ATV, Provincial Social Welfare Department – Punjab, BISP, Pakistan Bait ul Mal and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund joined the meeting. Ehsaas Communications Committee is due to meet every Wednesday under the leadership of Dr. Nishtar.
The steering committee carrying out the Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships scheme came together for the second time in this month
Oct 8, 2019, The steering committee carrying out the forthcoming Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships scheme met for the second time in this month to set up modalities of the combined working. In the month of October 2019, the ‘Ehsaas’ Undergraduate Scholarship scheme, a collaborative project of the BISP and Higher Education Commission (HEC) will be launched. With the help of this scheme, the deserving students from marginalized families who qualify for the scheme will be able to access undergraduate education. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation.
Federal Government to run social protection programmes under public private partnership: Dr. Sania speaks to media at the press conference
Oct 7, 2019, Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar says the government has decided to run social protection programmes under public private partnership. Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, she said social welfare programmes will be expanded through public private partnership model. Dr. Sania Nishtar said a Langar was opened in Islamabad today in collaboration with Saylani Welfare International Trust to provide free food to the needy. This langar scheme will be stretched out countrywide with 112 langar schemes under Ehsaas to be set up over 2 years period. These schemes will feed millions of deserving people. She said under the MoU signed with Saylani Trust, quality of food will be ensured. Further Dr. Sania outlined that once, clear Ehsaas Langar policy, brand book, one window app and governance framework are in place, the Langar scheme will ensure philanthropy by private sector reaches out deserving. The full press conference can be accessed here.
Ehsaas welcomes ADB’s $200 Million Additional Funding for Ongoing Social Protection Development Project in Pakistan
Oct 7, 2019, The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $200 million loan as additional financing to help support the Government of Pakistan’s flagship social protection programme, Ehsaas under which BISP supports more than 5 million eligible families across the country through over $3.6 billion in total cash transfers disbursed so far. BISP is one of the largest executing agencies of Ehsaas which is primarily funded by the Government of Pakistan and it supports Ehsaas through cash transfers, poverty graduation programs, and a targeted social safety net. The ADB-financed Social Protection Development Project, has enabled the enrollment of over 855,000 women beneficiaries to BISP, or about 15% of the eligible beneficiaries. The $200 million additional financing for this project will continue to support cash transfers as well as help BISP implement institutional strengthening measures. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Chairperson BISP stated, ‘Ehsaas welcomes ADB’s funding to Pakistan that will help the Government in implementing the social protection and poverty alleviation initiatives which foster human capital development’.
PM launches ‘Ehsaas Langar Scheme’ under a public private partnership
Oct 7, 2019, The Prime Minister launched the ‘Ehsaas Langar Scheme’ today in Islamabad. Under an agreement with the Saylani Welfare Trust, Ehsaas will open 112 Langars nationwide over a 2-year period in the public private partnership. The Langars are meant to serve meals to the poorest and most vulnerable segments of the society, especially daily wage laborers. The first Langar was opened in Islamabad today, where at least 600 people will be provided free meals daily. The Ehsaas scheme will now be extended countrywide with as many as 112 Langar schemes being set up over the period of two years to feed millions of people lacking food. Talking to the people being served with food at the Langar site, the Prime Minister said, “Ehsaas Langar is a real step towards the creation of welfare state modelled on Riyasat e Madina. The Langar is aimed at feeding the poor and improving the lives of marginalized. This is our government’s top priority that nobody should sleep hungry in Pakistan’. Addressing all present at the occasion, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation thanked the Prime Minister for his supervision and guidance in making Langar scheme a reality. She then continued, ‘the recent Langar scheme is a continuation of our religious and cultural legacy as well and it will not only provide relief to those in need but will also add value to the lives of daily laborers and those earning low incomes’.
Dr. Sania Nishtar represents Federal Government in Mirpur
October 2, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation was invited by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to represent the Federal Government at the event that took place in Mirpur to distribute cheques amongst the next of kin and legal heirs of the deceased due to earthquake last week. Chairman NDMA, SAPM on Information, Firdaus Ashiq Awan and members of the local administration were also present on the occasion. Speaking to the affectees, Dr. Nishtar extended her heartfelt condolences to them and said that Government of Pakistan will never leave them alone in these hard times. Later, Dr. Nishtar together with Lt. Gen. Muhammad Afzal, Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) paid a visit to the earthquake affected areas of Mirpur to inquire after the affecters. She expressed her grief over the loss of human lives and went to village Sahang Kikri to inquire after the affected families. ‘I can deeply feel the pain of the people who suffered losses and extend my greatest sympathies to them’, she added. Sympathizing the affectees, she assured them that the rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the earthquake-hit areas is the top priority of the government of Pakistan.
Ehsaas teams up with Saylani Welfare International Trust to feed the needy
Oct 2, 2019, Fully determined to reduce the burden of hunger for the poor, the Government of Pakistan’s multisectoral poverty alleviation programme, ‘Ehsaas’ is partnering with Saylani Welfare International Trust (SWIT) to open ‘Ehsaas Langar’ (soup kitchen) shortly in Islamabad. This joint initiative will later be extended countrywide to other cities as well to feed the poor and needy, in particular in Karachi, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Quetta and Peshawar. To mutually articulate the policy and operational modalities for launching and expanding Ehsaas Langar, Dr. Sania Nishtar had invited the leadership of SWIT at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat in Islamabad yesterday. It was discussed that once the overarching policy and operational modalities have been finalized by the end of this week, it will be followed by memorandum of action that will be inked between Ehsaas and SWIT. During the course of meeting, the preliminary scale, breadth and diversity of the joint initiative were also framed out by both the parties. It was agreed that further deliberations will take place soon to build up on the agreed areas of collaboration including identification of Langar sites in different areas of Pakistan.
Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships to be launched this month
Oct 1, 2019, One of the important Ehsaas initiatives, the Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships scheme is to be launched soon. Ehsaas has over 130 policies and programmes and this is one of them. The Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships scheme is a key initiative of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and Higher Education Commission (HEC). A memorandum of agreement has already been signed on September 20, 2019 and today the project steering committee met, to firm up modalities of the joint working. The meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Dr. Tariq Banuri, Chairman, HEC. Talking about the initiative, Dr. Nishtar said, “the Prime Minister has instructed that the undergraduate scheme should be launched as soon as possible. The Government realizes that deprivation to education is the highest contributor in Pakistan’s national multi-dimensional poverty index. Therefore, Ehsaas wishes to pay special attention to the education of undergraduate students especially women and girls from underprivileged families and areas’. Through this initiative, students qualifying for the project will have access to undergraduate education regardless of income, gender, or location. The number of scholarships will be determined based on the budget envelope.
Dr. Sania highlights economic reform agenda of Pakistan at Islamabad Literature Festival 2019
Sep 29, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation together with Dr. Hafeez A. Pasha, a renowned Pakistani economist, Jochen Hippler and Muhammad Ziauddin led an informative session on ‘Economic Reform agenda of Pakistan’ at 6th Islamabad Literature Festival 2019. During the session, Dr. Nishtar threw light on several economic challenges being faced by Pakistan. The session was organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) is a private, German non-profit organization committed to the values of Social Democracy. She highly applauded the Islamabad Literature Festival and appreciated the manner in which it had succeeded in emphasizing Pakistani literature and culture.
Dr. Sania Nishtar presents Ehsaas at 74th session of the UN General Assembly
Sep 26, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar joined President of Costa Rica, Dr. Sabina Alkire & other ministers at the multidimensional poverty peer network meeting during 74th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 74). Dr. Nishtar shared about how Ehsaas is using both income as well as multidimensional poverty index (MPI) metrics for policy design and targeting. She also highlighted 4 data-related aspects in Ehsaas framework including 1) evidence gathering on the local drivers of poverty for policy action; 2) launching of district development portal; 3) the national strategy for the development of statistics; and 4) the national socio-economic registry 2019. It was emphasized that since rigorous data is needed for good policies, the government of Pakistan uses district level disaggregations of the National MPI for policy design and targeting.
Ehsaas showcased at the SDG Action Zone 2019
Sep 26, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation together with Bill Gates, Co-chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation joined a lightning talk at the SDG Action Zone 2019 in New York. During the talk, Dr. Nishtar explained about what Ehsaas entails, its components, progress underway, its priorities, & partnership approach, challenges & opportunities and what success entails. Bill Gates outlined how digital & financial inclusion can be a force multiplier to address poverty. The SDG Action Zone has shown keen interest in partnering for poverty alleviation in Pakistan with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The SDG Action Zone is a space inside the United Nations grounds during General Assembly week (UNGA) where different actors can engage around the UN-high-level meetings and events in a meaningful and visible way.
PM convenes high-level meeting with Malaysian and Turkish leaders to discuss environmental stewardship as means of poverty alleviation
Sep 26, 2019, During 74th session of UN General Assembly in New York, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation joined Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohammad and ministers from Turkey and Malaysia to discuss the imperative of environmental stewardship for addressing poverty. During the meeting, it was emphasized to build synergies between climate action and the drive against poverty.
MoU focusing on poverty alleviation signed with Bill Gates Foundation
Sep 25,2019, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Pakistan for its Ehsaas initiative on poverty alleviation. Prime Minister Imran Khan and Bill Gates, co-chair of the B&MGF, witnessed the signing ceremony as Special Assistant to PM on Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar and president of Global Development at B&MGF, Dr. Chris Elias inked the MoU. The B&MGF will assist the Pakistan government with a range of activities, including accelerating stunting reduction programmes, supporting financial inclusion initiatives and investing in public health systems to improve health and reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality. The foundation plans to spend about $200 million in Pakistan in 2020.
SUN Movement lead group lauds Ehsaas Nutrition Plan
Sep 25, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation shared Ehsaas Nutrition Plan at the SUN Movement lead group meeting in New York. The government of Pakistan’s resolve to use all government sectors to fight malnutrition was highly lauded. It was also urged that it is the hardest part of Ehsaas but also be the one that’s most rewarding in relation to human capital development.
Dr. Sania Nishtar represents Pakistan at WHO High level Summit
Sep 24, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar Pakistan at the WHO High level Summit on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in New York. She outlined details about the multi-pronged approach to UHC under Ehsaas. Further, she urged that beyond Bismarck and Beveridge, we need financing innovations to achieve financial risk protection in mixed health systems.
Dr. Nishtar champions women in business at launch of US-Pakistan Women’s Council mentoring campaign
24 September, 2019, Accelerating women’s economic empowerment is good for business and good for Pakistan, this is the message behind the launch of a new mentoring campaign by the US-Pakistan Women’s Council today. Attending the launch was honoured guest Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection. Dr. Nishtar elaborated on the myriad ways in which Ehsaas, Pakistan’s new equality centered initiative is mainstreaming the role of women in the economic sphere, through financial inclusion amongst other measures, creating livelihoods and jobs. The programme is called the Pakistan Million Women Mentors Initiative and it aims to connect a million women and girls in Pakistan with mentors over the next three years. “Women’s empowerment is absolutely critical to ending poverty and is a key principle of the Ehsaas. When women join the work force it benefits everyone in the country, and I am glad to support the US-Pakistan Women’s Council and the Pakistan Million Women Mentors Initiative,” said Dr. Nishtar following the event. “By connecting young women and girls from Pakistan with leaders in industry we can give them many more opportunities to thrive as the businesswomen and leaders of tomorrow.” Attending the event were dozens of talented Pakistani exchange students, who took part in a speed-mentoring event to launch the mentoring initiative.
IMF appreciates ongoing efforts of the government to protect the most vulnerables
Sep 19, 2019, During her meeting with IMF team, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Chairperson BISP apprised them about how the IMF’s Fund can help the ongoing efforts of the government of Pakistan to protect the most vulnerables. She informed the IMF team that the government has substantially increased the social protection spending under Ehsaas framework. ‘The Ehsaas’ poverty reduction strategy isarticulated in four pillars and it currently embodies 115 policy actions, which may be expanded as the process of consultations on the program, further widens. Thefour pillars include: addressing elite capture and making the government system work to create equality; safety nets for disadvantaged segments of the population;jobs and livelihoods; and human capital development’, she added. IMF team appreciated the multisectoral approach of the government of Pakistan under Ehsaas.
Landmark Ehsaas Strategy document unveiled for feedback
Sep 16, 2019, The Ehsaas strategy has been released to the public for feedback today at pass.gov.pk. The strategy elaborates on the Prime Minister’s vision of a welfare state. This is a landmark document because of the quality, clarity and comprehensiveness of the Strategy presented. It is the first time in the history of the country that a strategy document of the government has been shared with government departments and the public at the same time. “By putting the strategy out for public consultation, we are introducing a new culture of openness and transparency that will enable the government to work in collaboration with the best and brightest brains in the country” Sania Nishtar tweeted @SaniaNishtar while releasing the strategy, seeking inputs on email@example.com. The Strategy document is on the website of the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division. According to the new strategy document, it “outlines the Government’s vision, which is the bedrock on which Ehsaas has been built; the Principles, which drive Ehsaas; the context in which it has been shaped; the Theory of Change, which underpins its conceptualization; and the four pillars under which its goals, pillars, objectives, policies, programs and initiatives are organized. The Strategy document also outlines details about the manner in which 21st century tools and approaches are envisaged to build a welfare state.”
Punjab Cabinet welcomes Ehsaas Programme to forge the Federal -Punjab partnership
September 11, 2019, Chief Minister Punjab, Sardar Usman Buzdar chaired the Punjab Cabinet meeting today in Lahore. Dr. Sania Nishtar Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection was invited to brief the Punjab Cabinet about the Federal Government’s Ehsaas program. This is the third provincial briefing on Ehsaas, following briefings in Sindh and Balochistan in the last ten days. All Provincial Ministers of Punjab, the Advisors to the Chief Minister Punjab, the Chief Secretary Cabinet Punjab, the Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Punjab, the Secretaries from the Government of Punjab Finance Department, Information and Culture and Law Department, Chairman Planning and Development Board Punjab, the Senior Member Board of Revenue Punjab and Inspector General of Punjab Police were also present at the occasion together with Federal Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division. Dr. Nishtar emphasized the commitment of the Prime Minister of Pakistan towards welfare of the disadvantaged, and reiterated that Ehsaas is one of the important vehicles through which this would be achieved. The Cabinet expressed keen interest to strengthen existing collaboration between Federal Ehsaas and Punjab.
Dr. Sania Unites Health Leaders Around Action on Biggest Killers and Impoverishing Diseases
Sep 9, 2019, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) thanked Dr Sania Nishtar today for her outstanding work in leading the WHO Independent High-level Global Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs). The announcement came at the final meeting of the Commission held on 9 September 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Commission, is co-chaired by President Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay; President Sauli Niinistö of Finland; President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka; Minister Veronika Skvortsova of Russia and Dr. Sania Nishtar, federal minister, government of Pakistan. Prominent global health leaders are on the commission, which was established in October 2017. The commission’s aim was to identify innovative ways to curb the world’s biggest causes of death and extend life expectancy for millions of people. “We need leaders to unite and take action to tackle the biggest killers of people. NCDs are the leading cause of medical impoverishment. They lead to catastrophic health expenditures and many who can’t afford forego healthcare” said Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection. “Progress is possible and if we don’t take action we’re going to see already fragile health systems across the world collapse.”
Dr. Sania Nishtar congratulates awardees of ‘Champions of Change Awards’ for women from KP
Sep 4, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited by Women Chamber of Commerce and Industries Peshawar and GIZ Pakistan to congratulate winners of ‘Champions of Change Awards’ for Women from KP. Speaking to awardees at the occasion, she reiterated that Government of Pakistan’s Ehsaas programme is centered on socio-economic empowerment of women. The first lady of Pakistan, Ms. Samina Alvi and Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting were also present at the occasion.
Weekly Ehsaas Implementation Committee Meeting
Sep 4, 2019, Weekly Ehsaas Implementation Committee meeting was held today with BISP, Pakistan Bait ul Mal, PPAF, Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Centre for Rural Economy. These meetings have now been institutionalized under Ehsaas guide safety net institutions engaged in execution of Ehsaas programme to work together in a well-coordinated way.
Ehsaas extends hand of collaboration to Balochistan
Sep 1-2, 2019, The Balochistan Cabinet was briefed today about the Ehsaas Program of the federal government. The Cabinet Meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan. The briefing was given by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation who was on a two-day visit to Quetta to raise awareness about Ehsaas and forge partnership with the provincial government. The Cabinet took keen interest in Ehsaas programme and had several questions about the new national socio-economic registry survey which is underway to identify the poor. Dr. Nishtar briefed the Cabinet about Prime Minister’s priority programme ‘One Window Ehsaas’ and outlined many initiatives including Kifalat, Tahafuz, National Poverty Graduation Initiative, and online free resources that will be extended to provinces. She emphasized that the new programme will benefit all provinces. Earlier in the day, Dr. Nishtar met with CM Balochistan who briefed him about the innovations in PSDP process that Balochistan had spearheaded and the new instruments of social protection. Dr. Nishtar appreciated the initiative and vision of the CM. Both agreed to explore collaboration in the area of Balochistan’s Awami Endowment Fund and ‘Ehsaas Tahafuz’, as well as in the area of provincial finance commission which is Ehsaas policy area number 8 (PM’s Ehsaas Policy Statement dated March 27, 2019). Dr. Nishtar also called on Governor Balochistan, Amanullah Yaseenzai in Quetta on Sunday. She briefed the Governor about Ehsaas programme and its upcoming strategy. “The Ehsaas’ premise is primarily grounded in the importance of fostering federal provincial cooperation, strengthening institutions, transparency and good governance”, Dr. Nishtar added. Honorable Governor Balochistan, lauded the federal government’s efforts to benefit and uplift marginalized and deprived segments of the society through Ehsaas framework.
Balochistan Stakeholders Meeting on Ehsaas
Sep 1, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar conducted stakeholder meeting with local dignitaries and civil society from Balochistan. Dr. Nishtar gave them a comprehensive presentation on Ehsaas framework that is whole of the government programme aimed to reduce inequality, invest in people, and lift lagging districts. The stakeholders from Balochistan were apprised that Ehsaas currently embodies 134 policy actions whose implementation is the responsibility of 34 federal ministries, divisions and agencies in close coordination with provincial governments. These policy actions may be expanded as the process of consultations on the program, further widens. Dr. Nishtar mainly talked about Prime Minister’s vision on which Ehsaas has been based. “The Government envisages Pakistan to be a ‘welfare state’ based on the principles of Islamic ideology similar to those put in place by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Madina. Our commitment is to form a welfare state where rule of law, meritocracy, transparency and accountability in governance are guaranteed, where equal opportunity exists for all and where social welfare is provided to all those who need it”, Dr. Nishtar added. Further, she said that Prime Minister of Pakistan in each of the cabinet meetings lays special emphasis on welfare of the marginalized and asks each of the cabinet members about measures that have been done by their Ministries for the welfare of people.
Sania Nishtar visits BISP offices in Quetta and Pishin
Sep 1, 2019, During her visit to Quetta, Dr. Sania Nishtar visited the regional office of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) in Quetta and district office in Pishin to oversee the provincial progress and operations of BISP in Balochistan. She also met with the beneficiaries and guided them about the revamped BISP process and reform to make transactions more transparent. She shared that her focus is to build a strong system and to have preventive measures in place so there are no loopholes for corruption and other wrongdoings across safety net programmes. She will be conducting more visits to Balochistan in future. “When we make policies sitting in offices, there is a chance that we’re not getting it right. It adds significance in the policy-making when you go in the field and meet people on your own”, she added.
Sania Nishtar visits Saylani Welfare International Trust in Quetta
Sep 1, 2019, On Sunday evening in Quetta, Dr. Sania Nishtar together with Shaista Sohail, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, paid a visit to Saylani Welfare International Trust in Quetta to explore options to collaborate under ‘Ehsaas’.’ Saylani Langar’ (soup kitchen) that runs thrice daily to feed thousands of poor and distressed is an exemplary engine. They have built transparent and accountable systems for scale. Ehsaas looks forward to exploring avenues of cooperation. Saylani Welfare Trust provides the charity services in areas including food, education, medical and social welfare free of cost to the marginalized people.
Sania Nishtar visits provincial capitals for Ehsaas partnerships
Aug 31, 2019, Addressing a session hosted by Governor Sindh and presided over by President Dr. Arif Alvi at the Governor House in Karachi, Dr. Nishtar apprised Sindh Cabinet members and parliamentarians about the government of Pakistan’s flagship programme ‘Ehsaas’. Nasir Ali Shah, Sindh Cabinet Minister, Mustafa Wahab, advisor to the PM, Waseem Akhtar, Mayor Karachi, and Naheed Shah, Chair of the Planning Development Department of Sindh were present at the meeting. She gave a detailed presentation on Ehsaas. Prominent members of the philanthropic community were also present. During her presentation, Dr. Nishtar elaborated on what Ehsaas can offer to Sindh, and how it can partner with Government and Non-governmental sector; she invited all public and private representatives from Sindh to work together with Ehsaas programme for the uplifting of people. She stressed that Ehsaas is a nation-wide program. It offers many things to the provinces—the Ehsaas one window programmes (Kifalat, Tahafuz, National Poverty Graduation Initiative, online free resources) will all be nation-wide. The New Socio Economic Survey currently being carried out of BISP is also country wide. And, the Solutions Innovation Challenge which Ehsaas will be launching for livelihood creation and social protection will also impact the entire country. Later in the Governor House, Dr. Nishtar held a detailed meeting with members of the press and responded to their questions about Ehsaas programme, clarifying the scale, breadth and diversity of Ehsaas.
Dr. Sania Nishtar visits Saylani Welfare International Trust in Karachi to explore avenues of partnership under Ehsaas
Aug 31, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar together with Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Shaista Sohail visited the Saylani Welfare International Trust, which is a Pakistani charity focusing on social welfare of the poor and distressed. Here, she spent a long time inspecting each of Saylani’s departments. She took keen interest in the food distribution system of Saylani Trust. “We will be discussing ways of opening ‘Joint Langars’, beginning in the city of Islamabad”, said Dr. Nishtar. Saylani Welfare Trust endeavors to provide the quality services in areas including food, education, medical and social welfare free of cost to the marginalized people. With over 60 different sectors, they primarily feed thousands of hungry people each day, hundreds more are given the hope of life through medical health care, many are educated to become leaders of tomorrow and several are given the opportunity to stand on their feet financially. Their physical presence extends throughout Pakistan with a vast network of 125 branches operating in major cities including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad and Faisalabad.
Third Ehsaas Communications Committee Meeting takes place at PM Secretariat
The third Ehsaas Communications Committee meeting took place today at PM Secretariat. Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation chaired the meeting. During the course of meeting, the communications plan for the upcoming Ehsaas strategy was discussed in detail with Secretary PASSD, Secretary MOIB, Additional Secretary PASSD and communications and media representatives from various stakeholders including Press Information Department, Associated Press of Pakistan, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, PEMRA, PTV News, ATV, Provincial Social Welfare Department – KP, Provincial Social Welfare Department – Punjab, Benazir Income Support Programme, Pakistan Bait ul Mal and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund. Ehsaas Communications Committee is due to meet every Wednesday under the leadership of Dr. Nishtar.
Dr. Sania virtually addresses opening plenary of 19th WPA World Congress of Psychiatry in Lisbon
Aug 22, 2019, In her capacity as a Co-chair of the WHO’s High-Level Commission (HCL) on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to join the opening plenary of 19th WPA World Congress of Psychiatry in Lisbon, Portugal. The World Congress was convened between Aug 21-24, 2019 to discuss how psychiatry can impact some of the most important social challenges facing communities across the globe. Virtually addressing the amazing gathering of 4,000 psychiatric community and mental health experts from 119 countries across the globe, Dr. Nishtar said that WHO’s HCL on NCDs strongly believes that mental health and NCDs are inextricably linked. They share common determinants each of which predisposes and exacerbate one other. She continued, ‘It is a dilemma that people with severe mental illness die 10-20 years early because of NCDs such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and unmanaged cancer. This is mainly because of their vulnerability to higher NCD risks such as physical inactivity, smoking, unhealthy diet and harmful use of alcohol’. The full footage of Dr. Nishtar’s address can be accessed here
Dr. Sania Nishtar launches the first Women in Global Health Chapter in South Asia
Aug 20, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Federal Minister and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, launched the first Women in Global Health (WGH) Chapter in South Asia in an inauguration ceremony at the federal capital. During the launch she stated that women are 70 percent of global health workforce. But they hold only 25 percent of senior and leadership roles. The percentage is even less in Pakistan and there is a recognized need for introducing gender sensitive workplace policies for attracting and retaining female health workforce in the labor market. Dr. Nishtar also revealed that government is introducing a number of initiatives under the Ehsaas that are aimed at promoting gender mainstreaming and empowering women.
PM Imran launches health plan for people with disabilities
Aug 17, 2019, In line with his vision of universal health coverage, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday launched Sehat Sahulat Programme for persons with disabilities and their families in Pakistan and said his government’s vision was based on the principles of lifting the conditions of the downtrodden and weaker segments of society. Special Assistant to the PM on Health, Dr. Zafar Mirza and Special Assistant to the PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar were also present at the launch ceremony. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sania Nishtar announced 5 of the priority goals of Ehsaas, which are part of the Ehsaas Strategy. These include: Safety net for at least 10 million families, Livelihood opportunities for 5 million individuals (50% women); financial access to healthcare through Insaf card for 10 million families; scholarships and education incentives for more than 5 million students (more than 50% girls); and through the Kifalat program, financial inclusion and access to mobile phones for 6 million women and 500 digital hubs for them to access internet. These goals will be explained in the Ehsaas strategy, which will be released soon. Dr. Sania also elaborated on the other disability related policies in the Ehsaas framework.
Sania visits welfare homes on Eid day
Aug 12, 2019, On Eid day, Dr Sania Nishtar visited the Government of Punjab’s Child Protection home in Rawalpindi and the Edhi home in Islamabad. During both visits she interacted with resident children and women and social welfare workers firsthand over several hours and was briefed about the activities of both welfare homes. Their heartbreaking stories provided rich insights for Ehsaas policy actions on social safety of vulnerables particularly women & children.
Ehsaas Communications Committee to meet every week
Aug 9, 2019, The first meeting of Ehsaas Communications Committee was held in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat to discuss the communications strategic planning process, identify communications needs and priorities for Ehsaas Program and define key respective areas of execution for different organizations involved in the implementation of Ehsaas Program under the umbrella of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD). Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation chaired the meeting. In its first meeting, participants discussed the key elements of the Ehsaas communications strategy that is in its final stages of being developed. “The core objective of the strategy is to apprise potential beneficiaries about ways of accessing benefits”, Dr. Nishtar emphasized.
Dr. Nishtar joins Strategic Leadership Retreat for Ethiopian women Ministers
Aug 4-5, 2019, Dr. Nishtar joined Strategic Leadership Retreat for Ethiopian women Ministers as part of the expert adjunct faculty along with distinguished women leaders from around the world. Ethiopian President H.E. Sahle-Work Zewdie and first African woman president from Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf also joined the Leadership Retreat and motivated Women Ministers.The retreat was organized in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.The primary goal of the Leadership Retreat was to equip the new cohort of 10 Ethiopian women Ministers with tools to help them navigate effectively in a historically patriarchal political system, and to achieve their priority policy goals. The retreat was organized in three main parts: Legacy, Leadership and Delivery.Dr. Nishtar helped, led and informed discussions throughout the retreat. She mentored the Ethiopian Ministers along with other women leaders from around the world to map personal plans for their tenure in office.
Dr. Sania Nishtar’s Dialogue with Youth from Newly Merged Districts of North Waziristan, South Waziristan and Khyber
Aug 1, 2019, The Prime Minister’s Special Assistant( Federal Minister) for Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation/Chairperson BISP, Dr. Sania Nishtar held an intensive dialogue with youth from the newly merged districts of North Waziristan, South Waziristan and Khyber to discuss development issues and poverty alleviation, and youth’s participation in these efforts , at the Human Resource Center of Sarhad Rural Support Programme at Peshawar.Dr. Nishtar said that Ehsaas would like to learn from the grass root experience of the youth for poverty alleviation.
SAPM speaks at 5th CPA Pakistan 2019 Asia Regional Conference in Islamabad
July 30, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar was a keynote speaker at the 5th CPA Pakistan 2019 Asia Regional Conference held in Islamabad. Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Nishtar stated that Ehsaas is biggest pro-poor & whole-of-government multisectoral program, not only for poor but for poverty-stricken areas as well. The conference was attended by Speaker of Ugandan Parliament and incumbent President, Member of British Parliament Lord Purvis of Tweed Jeremy Purvis, Member Malaysian Parliament Dr. Noraini Binti Ahmad, Chairperson CPA Executive Committee Emilia Lifaka, Secretary General CPA Akbar Khan, Speaker Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly Fida Muhammad Nashad, Speaker Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly Shah Ghulam Qadir and other national and international personalities of prominence, members of parliament and observers.
Multisectoral collaborations under Ehsaas
July 29, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, was a keynote speaker at the inaugural session of the 4-day training program, ‘accelerating progress towards health related SDGs in Pakistan under the 2030 Agenda’, organized by WHO in collaboration with Imperial College London and Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Pakistan. Dr. Nausheen Hamid, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Dr. Shabnam Sarfraz, Member- Social Sector and Devolution were also present at the occasion along with WHO representatives. In her keynote address, Dr. Nishtar stated that Ehsaas is the most widely ranging, multisectoral -the whole of government program with multiple end points centered at equality and equity. It has four pillars and currently embodies 115 policy actions. Under the Ehsaas framework, multisectoral collaboration is a policy priority which is one of the unique illustrations of how multisectoral objectives can holistically drive the program towards equality.
The Ehsaas Labour Expert Group meets for the 8th time in three months
July 25, 2019, Under the framework of the Ehsaas, the Labour Expert Group was constituted in May 2019 to develop recommendations to bring informal workers in social safety nets. Since its constitution, the group has met eight times and has put together an unprecedented effort. At the recent meeting, the phase of presentations by experts of Labour Expert Group has been concluded. At the conclusion, Dr. Sania Nisht constituted a writing committee to furnish a report on urgent basis so that practical steps can be taken to commence registration of informal workers.
BISP implementation research platform will be established soon under Ehsaas
July 24, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired a research meeting at the Marriott today where findings of research conducted by Oxford Policy Management Group (OPM) were presented. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sani Nishtar said that “BISP was undergoing a multi-pronged process of reform and that the process was heavily being guided by evidence. She said that the reforms embodied creation of a new payment system, a new national census level Socio-Economic Survey, a new communications strategy and new program windows, especially configuring BISP’s operations around Kifalat and Tahafuz”.
PASSD Ehsaas Implementation Group agrees on future road map
July 23, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar today chaired the first meeting of the Ehsaas Implementation Group. Representatives from all ancillary organizations of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) agreed a future road map with a special focus ongovernance and cross-organizational collaboration. Dr. Nishtar stressed the importance of efficiency, stating that “To avoid duplication among the implementing organizations, an online portal would be set up to provide one comprehensiveplatform of all social safety and poverty alleviation interventions being carried out under Ehsaas.”BISP is being mandated to run cash transfers, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal’s role is to be responsible for demand side social protection whereas the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation has the responsibility for poverty graduation.
Dr. Nishtar visits Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF)
July 19, 2019, As the present government’s fight against poverty picks pace, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation had detailed deliberations with the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund’s senior team at the latter’s offices to discuss its plan of action in reducing poverty under the Government of Pakistan’s flagship Ehsaas Programme. The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) is the lead implementing agency for the government’s National Poverty Graduation Initiative – NPGI, launched two weeks earlier by the Prime Minister, under “Ehsaas Programme; and NPGI is an important component of Pillar II of Ehsaas. The programme aims to provide the vulnerable segments of society livelihoods and social protection.
Dr .Nishtar meets with top business leaders to discuss Ehsaas partnerships
July 17, 2019, At a meeting with a high-powered delegation of the U.S.-Pakistan Business Council, Dr. Sania Nishtar today briefed delegates on the importance of public-private partnerships in the Ehsaas Program. Dr Mehmood Khan, Chairman of the Council, led the delegation of over a dozen leading businesspeople.
Ehsaas joins with private firms to eliminate Viral Hepatitis
July 17, 2019, Today, Gilead Sciences announced that it had partnered with 12 companies in Pakistan as part of the Corporate Coalition for Viral Hepatitis Elimination in Pakistan (CCVHEP). The announcement was made at a press conference attended by Dr. Sania Nishtar and senior officials from the Ministry of National Health Services. The coalition is led by a partnership between Gilead Sciences and Pakistani partner Ferozsons, with the founding members.In her keynote address, Dr. Nishtar stated that within the government system, Ehsaas is Prime Minister’s flagship program on social protection and poverty alleviation. This is first whole of government program in which implementation of 115 policy actions will be the responsibility of 28 federal ministries, agencies and divisions.
Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy
July 14, 2019, The Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) of the Ehsaas Program has today adopted a comprehensive set of policy parameters aimed at ensuring that money reaches those in need by promoting transparency and accountability across all its projects. Commenting on the announcement, Dr Sania Nishtar said, “The primary goal of the new set of policies is to limit opportunities for corruption, while promoting efficiency, transparency and accountability for results.” It has been made mandatory for all ancillary organizations of PASSD to convene board meetings and board committee meetings regularly. Read More:
World Economic Forum
July 11, 2019, On a visit to Pakistan, President of the World Economic Forum (WEF) BørgeBrende said that Pakistan overcame problems of power blackouts and security, and should now focus on skill acceleration, required to cater to the needs of young people, who make up 60 percent of the population. Dr. Sania Nishtar was a keynote speaker at the meeting and praised the role that WEF was playing to connect thought leaders in Pakistan. She appreciated Mr. Brende for visiting Pakistan at a very opportune time when Pakistan is moving forward with transformative development agenda as the Prime Minister’s top priority. She elaborated on Ehsaas, as one such transformative agenda.
World Population Day marked by Pakistan poverty lead
July 11, World Population Day was marked today at an event in Islamabad. Speakers included Dr. Sania Nishtar, State Minister of Health, Dr. Zafar Mirza and UNFPA representatives. Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Mirza said the governmentis striving hard to make reproductive health and family planning services available to every household in the country under the broad-based approach. Dr. Nishtar said the Prime Minister has strongly hinged the entire agenda of the Ehsaas Program on women’s economic empowerment, which is critical for better population outcomes.
Ehsaas calls for ‘thought partnerships’ on poverty alleviation
July 10, 2019, The President of Pakistan and Dr. Sania Nishtar were both special guests at a seminar today held by the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad. The day-long event was titled ‘Poverty Alleviation in Pakistan: Learning from Success Stories’ and brought together intellectual and academic leaders from across the country.Dr. Nishtar said that knowledge and thought partnerships’ are very crucial for results-based implementation of Ehsaas framework and that there is no need to reinvent the wheel when the capacity already exists within the government and state system. Hence, Ehsaas wishes to draw on these prevailing knowledge competences, she said.
Provincial and Regional governments collaborate on Ehsaas strategy
July 8, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation in a drive towards the inclusive implementation of Ehsaas Program at the National level held a series of consultative meetings with Prime Minister AJK, Raja Farooq Haider Khan, CM KP Mehmood Khan & CM Gilgit Baltistan (GB), Hafiz Hafeez ur Rehman, Chief Secretary Sindh and Secretary Finance, Government of Balochistan. These officials were present in the capital for the first steering committee meeting of Ehsaas, Chaired by the Prime Minister, Imran Khan. The objective for these interactions was to create national harmony and building consensus in implementation of Ehsaas Program.
Prime Minister launches groundbreaking National Poverty Graduation Initiative
July 5, 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan today launched the National Poverty Graduation Initiative.Part of the Ehsaas Program to help the poor uplift their living standard, this new initiativerecognisesthe urgent need to provide better opportunities for our youth, who make up the largest segment of society.Speaking at a ceremony here, the prime minister said that every ministry in the country will have a role to play. “Sixty percent of Pakistan’s population is under the age of 30. This is the future and they will elevate the status of our country. They must be provided education, hospitals and opportunities,” he added.
Dr. Nishtar joins Akhuwat’s IFL Cheque Distribution Ceremony
July 5, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited as a chief guest at Interest Free Loan Cheque Distribution Ceremony organized by Akhuwat Foundation at a local mosque in Islamabad. This ceremony was part of the PM’s National Poverty Graduation Initiative under which 82,121 people received loans worth 3.02 billion PKR today. Overall, 391 ceremonies were held today in 76 districts across Pakistan. Under the initiative, as many as 80,000 interest free loans will be given to the deserving every month for the next 4 years. At the occasion, Dr. Amjad Saqib, CEO/Founder Akhuwat Foundation, Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO, PPAF and Shaista Sohail, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) were also present.
Around 80,000 interest free loans will be monthly disbursed nationwide under the Ehsaas National Poverty Graduation Initiative, Dr. Nishtar talks to media at the Press Conference
July 6, 2019, Dr. Nishtar briefed the media about the National Poverty Graduation Initiative (NPGI) under the government’s flagship Poverty Alleviation Program ‘Ehsaas’. She said that the program will provide relief to the masses through interest-free loans, vocational and skills trainings, and asset transfers.Government of Pakistan has launched the poverty graduation initiative as a part of the Ehsaas strategy and aims to graduate the poorest households out of poverty to set them on a course of economic and social prosperity. Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) is the leading implementing agency for NPGI. During the next four years, every month around 80,000 interest free loans will be disbursed nationwide. The range of the interest free loans is Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 75,000. As many as 3.8 million interest free loans will be provided to 2.28 million households. In total, 14.7 million people will benefit from this component. Interest free loans are accessible through 1,110 existing loan centers operated by partnering organizations. View the full footage:
Dr. Nishtar briefs Prime Minister on new poverty-fighting scheme
July 3, 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan was given a briefing today about the planned launch of the National Poverty Graduation Initiative. Scheduled for launch on Friday, July 5th, the initiative aims to give loans and training to the poorest Pakistanis to enable them to start businesses and gain skills which will help end the cycle of poverty. The initiative will impact 16.28 million people over a four-year period.
Dr Nishtar inspires next generation of Pakistani graduates at LUMS
July 2, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, was the chief guest and keynote speaker at the ceremony, which saw a record 1,034 students graduate at the Lahore University of Management Studies (LUMS) Convocation 2019. Drawing on personal experience gained throughout her illustrious career, Dr. Nishtar inspired the graduates,“You are the academic dream of this country. You are the ones who will be picked up by companies, the corporate sector and government within the next three months. It is essential you develop the attributes, which will allow you to succeed in life.”
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and BISP Chairperson Sania Nishtar has gone undercover to overlook operations at various BISP Centres.
June 2019, Dr. Nishtar stood in queue with women waiting to receive money allocated by the government under the programme to BISP card holders. She directed the staffers at the centres not to make women stand in long queues to avail the facility. She also wants better internet facilities. Dr. Nishtar sat with waiting applicants on the ground and heard their complaints and assured a swift response and resolution to their troubles. Dr. Nishtar also guided them about the process. She further added that these surprise visits help her with policy-making and she will be conducting more visits in future. She concluded that her focus is to build a strong system and to have preventive measures in place so there are no loopholes for corruption and other wrongdoings.
Dr. Nishtar and Bill Gates discuss ending poverty in Pakistan
June 16, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar and Bill Gates, founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation met today to discuss pressing health and development needs in Pakistan.The Gates Foundation is a major supporter of global health and development around the world. In Pakistan, much of the foundation’s work to-date has been focused on eradicating polio, new vaccines introduction and immunization strengthening.In the meeting, Dr Sania Nishtar and Bill Gates discussed key foundation partnerships in Pakistan including the polio eradication program, routine immunization and improving access to digital financial services for the poor.
June 16, 2019, Regional security and stability were the key topics of the CICA summit in Tajikistan today, at which Dr Sania Nishtar led the Pakistani delegation. Represented at the summit were 27 member states, which cover over 90% of the Asian continent. Dr. Nishtar engaged with world leaders including Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin to discuss regional cooperation and opportunities. CICA, whose secretariat is located in Kazakhstan, seeks to strengthen contacts and ties with the UN, regional and international organizations to support its efforts to strengthen peace, security and economic development in Asia.
Differently abled persons to be provided health coverage, free assistive decices through Ehsaas
June 8, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the media about the Ehsaas measures that the government plans to implement in order to facilitate differently abled people across the country. Under the Ehsasprogramme, which was launched in March this year, the government will provide SehatInsaf cards to differently-abled people who are registered with the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) so that they can get free medical treatment from hospitals that are registered under the health cards, Nishtar announced. Furthermore, government hospitals have been directed to issue certificates to differently-abled people as per United Nations classifications so that free assistive devices, such as canes, wheelchairs etc., can be provided accordingly. View the full footage:
Social protection budget to be doubled
June 2, 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar today gave a passionate explanation of the Ehsaas Program to the media. Explaining how important it is to end poverty and bring marginalised groups and regions into the mainstream, Dr. Nishtar said the program was developed on the principles of the State of Medina. She highlighted a number of policies that will be introduced under the program, including mobile phones and bank accounts for poor women and interest free loans to enable people to start their own businesses. Dr Nishtar confirmed that the amount allocated in the budget for social protection will be doubled in the next budget. View full footage:
Prime Minister confirms upcoming launch of Ehsaas Qarz I Hasna Scheme
May 28, 2019, Speaking from his office in Islamabad, Prime Minister Imran Khan today confirmed the upcoming rollout of the Ehsaas Qarz I Hasna Scheme. Chairing a meeting to review progress on the Ehsaas Program, the Prime Minister spoke passionately about the forthcoming policy that will distribute over 80,000 loans to women and young people across the country, enabling them to start their own businesses and freeing them from the cycle of poverty. Dr. Nishtar also updated the Prime Minister on the current status of the Ehsaas Program.
Gender equality is front and center of Oxfam Pakistan’s new campaign launched by Dr. Nishtar
May 24, 2019, Today, Dr. Sania Nishtar was the special guest of Oxfam Pakistan at the launch of its new campaign on women’s empowerment. Funded in large part by the Canadian government, the Women’s Voice and Leadership campaign aims to promote gender equality and protect human rights by supporting the capacity and activities of local and regional women’s organizations. Dr Nishtar spoke alongside Canadian High Commissioner Wendy Gilmore and Khawar Mumtaz, a renowned Pakistani academic and women’s rights activist.
Dr Nishtar gains inspiration from visit to Anjuman Faiz ul Islam, Pakistan’s Leading Charitable Organization
May 20, 2019, To commemorate World Orphans Day 2019, Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Anjuman Faiz ul Islam, one of the country’s leading charitable organizations. Known for their work supporting orphans and young people living in poverty, Anjuman Faiz ul Islam was founded in 1943 and has helped thousands of vulnerable young children over the last seven decades. Speaking after the visit, Dr Nishtar said she was “truly moved” by the experience. She went on to say she “learnt many policy lessons” that will help guide the national roll out of the Ehsaas Program, which will include specific measures to help orphans and street children across the country.
Dr. Sania Nishtar steps down from executive responsibilities at Heartfile
May 14, 2019, Following her appointment as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation with the status of Federal Minister, Dr. Sania has stepped down from all her executive roles in Heartfile. She will continue to be on the board of Heartfile.
Special assistant for social protection and poverty alleviation appointment
May 14, 2019: Dr. Sania Nishtar has been appointed as a special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan for social protection and poverty alleviation in addition to the chairing Benazir Income Support Program (BISP ) and Ehsaas program.
Report on the Future of Healthcare launched
May 9, 2019: Dr. Sania Nishtar, along with Dr. Andre Goy chaired the World Economic Forum Global Future Council (GFC) on the Future of Health and Healthcare over a two year period (2016-2018). GFC comprises expert stakeholders representing the public and private healthcare sectors. For the 2016-2018 mandate, members of the GFC worked together to provide insights on how the evolution of global health and healthcare will affect us all in the decades to come, including through the implementation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Report which was launched this week can be accessed here
Keynote Brenner/Dirks lecture at the international conference on Nephrology
April 12, 2019: The international conference on Nephology was held in Melbourne. At its opening ceremony, Dr. Sania Nishtar delivered the Brenner/Dirks lecture on global health and non-communicable diseases. She spoke about the risking burden of NCDs and the three-pronged response needed to bridge a public health gap. The text of her speech can be accessed here.
Third Meeting of the High-Level Commission on NCDs
April 2-3, 2019: Third Meeting of the WHO High-Level Commission on NCDs was held in Geneva on April 2nd and 3rd. The Commission worked in three sub-groups and deliberated on the way forward for its second phase. The commission’s second report is expected to be released in October 31, 2019, which is when the Commission will sunset. Dr Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting of the Commission.
Global Consultation on Agriculture and Food Systems
March 28, 2019: The Benazir Income Support Program and the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food systems for Nutrition co-hosed a joint high-level dialogue on food systems in Islamabad on March 28. An outcome of the event is a statement of intent in which ministers, experts and other stakeholders agreed on specific, actionable policy options within their spheres of influence to support the provision of safe, affordable, accessible and healthy diets. The statement of intent is available at glopan.org/Pakistan-nutrition-statement.The meeting was chaired by Dr. Sania Nishtar. Speakers included Tom Arnold and Prof Sandy Thomas, Director, Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition.
Launch of the Ehsaas program by the Prime Minister
March 27, 2019: The largest ever poverty-eradication focused program in Pakistan, called Ehsaas (feeling for the poor) was launched on March 27. At the launch event at the convention center in Islamabad, Dr. Sania Nishtar, who has designed the program, gave an overview of the program, following which Prime Minister Imran Khan formally announced the program and outlined his commitment to its policy goals. In order to facilitate Pakistan’s transition towards a welfare state, the Government is striving to play a more effective role in eliminating disparities between the have and have-nots. This strategic framework, therefore, aims to target poverty, vulnerability, malnutrition, and deprivation so that the fundamental rights of all citizens can be ensured. Ehsaas will reach out to all those now excluded, with a special emphasis on those parts of the country where development is lagging and where poverty is higher.The launching ceremony can be watched here
PACC meetings and process
January-March, 2019: Following the notification of the Poverty Alleviation Coordination Council, on January 9, 2019 by the Government of Pakistan, Dr. Sania Nishtar convened more than 23 Stakeholder consultations in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat over a two month duration to develop a plan for addressing the issue of ‘inequality’ and poor ‘human capital development’ in the country. Some details about these consultations were posed on twitter #PovertyCouncilPak
Meeting of the Advisory Board of the UNU IIGH
March 18, 2019: Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting of the Advisory Board of the United Nations’ Institute of Global Health Advisory Committee meeting in Kuala Lumper on March 18. The institute is currently in the early stage of implementing a new strategic plan, the development of which has been shepherded by the Advisory Committee. At this meeting, the advisory committee took stock of progress and next steps.
NCD Commission stakeholder hearing
March 4-5, 2019: Dr. Sania Nishtar attended a stakeholder hearing of working group 3 of the High-Level Commission on NCDs in New York on March 4-5. The meeting was convened by the World Economic Forum, and the Governments of USA and Kenya.
Hosting the high-level consultation on Nutrition
February 27, 2019: Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired a high-level international consultation convened by the Benazir Income Support Program, which was convened to solicit input to develop a new strategy for the government of Pakistan to address the double burden of malnutrition in Pakistan. The consultation was well attended by national and international experts.
Prince Mahidol Award Conference
February 1, 2019: Dr. Sania Nishtar attended the Prime Prince Mahidol Award Conference and joined the plenary panel on “The Political Economy of the Determinants of NCDs”. The plenary session was intended to set the stage for several parallel sessions that followed that day. The purpose was to discuss thestrategies for tackling major NCD risk factors (unhealthy diets, tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity and environmental pollution) and the underlying determinants, focusing on the implementation of the cost-effective interventions to achieve SDG3.4 and other NCD-related targets; to share and learn from national, regional and global experiences in addressing the main risk factors of NCDs and their social, economic, commercial and political determinants and to discuss how to translate these experiences to other contexts; and to identify knowledge gaps and strategies to address them.
Annual meeting of the Economic Forum, Davos
January 23, 2019: At the 2019 Annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Dr Sania Nishtar joined a plenary panel alongwith Bill Gates, Tedros Adanhom, DG WHO, the Chair of GAVI’s board and Executive Director of the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria to discuss financial innovation in global health. The panel discussion can be accessed here
January 9, 2019: Dr. Sania Nishtar has been appointed as the Chair of the Poverty Alleviation Coordination Council by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The Council has a wide-ranging mandate, ranging from coordination of the fragmented social safety net arrangements in the country and planning to catalyzing research and policy support to various entities.
Dr. Sania Nishtar’s statement about BISP
Dec 2018, After a month in office as Chairperson BISP, Dr. Sania Nishtar has issued a statement about her priorities, which emphasize the importance of reform, building institutional systems for integrity, effectiveness and transparency and the move towards digital precision safety nets. The statement can be accessed here.
Keynote Speech at the Raffles Dialogue
November 28, 2018: Dr. Sania Nishtar delivered a Keynote Speech at the Third Raffles Dialogue in Singaporeon the Future of Human Well-Being and Security. She outlined the nature of global challenges and prospects for quantum change. She paid rich tribute to Singapore: “a country on top of the world’s human capital rankings, with the lowermost child mortality, a country that has eradiated extreme poverty and made massive strides to counter NCDs, the global leader in the disability transition and champion of the whole of government approach”. She said that in order to address global challenges “what we need to change are institutional behaviours—and to change behaviours we must change is the design of institutions and the incentive structures”. She further added“I believe you [Singapore] are well positioned to facilitate development of new rules of the game, and more broadly respect for international rules and the multilateral system”. The text of her speech can be accessed here
Keynote Speech at the Ministerial Conference on Diabetes
November 26, 2018: Delivering the keynote speech at the ministerial conference on diabetes in her capacity as Co-Chair of WHO High-level Commission on Non-Communicable Diseases, Dr. Sania Nishtar termed diabetes as “the biggest epidemic of the 21st century”. The meeting was hosted by the government of Singapore. The keynote speech session was attended by the Deputy Prime MinisterShanmugaratnam, Minister of Health of Singapore, Gan Kim Young, and 11 health ministers of the Asia Pacific region. In her keynote speech she emphasized that “NCDs are forcing us to think very differently. They compel us to think about how to organize a new international response, and who to engage; NCDs are carving out a place in a future health ecosystem and are flagging important normative implications in this regard; and they are driving the needle on health at a very different level, domestically”. The text of the speech can be accessed here. On The same day Dr. Nishtar appeared in an interview with Singapore minister of Health Dr. Amy Khor in the program Singapore Tonight, exchanging views on diabetes epidemic. The Interview can be watched here
Global Agenda Council on the Future of Healthcare
November 11-12, 2018: The annual meeting of the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum, the global gathering of thinks tanks was held in Dubai this week. Dr Sania Nishtar has been a member of the health and wellbeing-related Global Agenda Councils since their initiation 11 years ago and also attended this year’s meetings. Council members leverage networks to cross-pollinate thinking in pursuit of a systemic approaches to solutions. The Council on the Future of Health and Healthcare is comprised of expert stakeholders representing the public and private healthcare sectors and working together to provide insights on how the evolution of global Health and Healthcare will affect us all in the decades to come including through the implementation of the Fourth industrial revolution. Dr. Nishtar was chair of the Council from 2016-2018 and has now handed over the chairing role to Helen Clark.
Global Coordination Mechanism on NCDs
November 6, 2018: The Global Coordination Mechanism on NCDs’ General Meeting of its participants was held in Geneva from 5 to 6 November 2018 and was hosted by the Government of Switzerland. Dr. Sania Nishtar was the closing speaker. In her speech she emphasized that “the future of health and societies appears to have a deep interplay with NCDs—but transformations are happening both outside of the health sector and largely in the private sector”. She further added that “The future of health can be about the future of NCDs, but many governance imperatives are emerging, in relation to norms and standards and ethical, patient safety, regulatory and human resource capacity issues. There is a need to explore how we will overcome the financial access barriers which will deepen and ensure access to medicines for all”. Her speech can be viewed here
Second meeting of the IAB on Global Health of the government of Germany
November 5, 2018: The International Advisory Board (IAB) on Global Health of the Federal Government of Germany held its second meeting in Berlin on November 5-6. Dr Sania Nishtar participated in her capacity as a member of the IAB. The IAB is providing inputs towards the process of development of Germany’s Global Health Strategy and, as part of that process, was briefed at the German Ministry of health and the ministry of Education and Research. The Board also met the Federal Minister of Health, Jens Spahn.
World Oncology Forum Task Force
November 1, 2018: The first meeting of the of the World Oncology Forum Task Force was held in Villa Veronesi in Milan from November 1-3. Since Dr. Sania Nishtar was unable to participate in person, she delivered her opening address via a virtual link. She outlined how cancer and management of cancer was at the heart of most of the innovations in therapeutics today and what this was heralding for healthcare patters and health systems. She outlined the imperative for the establishment of new norms, capacities and regulatory systems. The World Oncology Forum has previously been very visible in relation to Cancer advocacy—their best-known campaigns appeals include: “Stop Cancer now!”“Treat the treatable” “Prevent the preventable” and “From Research to Policy”.
Dr. Sania Nishtar invited to chair the board of BISP, Pakistan acclaimed safety net institution
October 30, 2018: According to a press release issued by the Government of Pakistan, Dr. Sania Nishtar has bee invited to chair the board of BISP, Pakistan acclaimed safety net institution. Following her acceptance, she has been appointed today. the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) is the Government of Pakistan’s National Cash Transfer Programme and its premier safety net institution, which currently runs a targeted USD 1.15 billion national-level cash transfer program for 5.5 million poor and marginalized women. The immediate objective of the Programme consumption smoothing and cushioning the negative effects of slow economic growth.Its long-term objectives are to meet the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eradicate extreme and chronic poverty and empowerment of women.The Programmewas established through an Act of Parliament and works under the executive patronage of Prime Minister.
The Global Conference on Primary Health Care
October 26, 2918: The Global Conference on Primary Health Care was convened in Kazakhstan on the occasion of the 40thP anniversary of the Declaration of Alma Atafrom 25-26 October 2018. The conference was hosted by the Government of Kazakhstan, in joint coordination with the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, at the Palace of Independence in Astana. The conference aimed to renew political commitment to placing primary health care (PHC) at the heart of achieving universal health coverage (UHC) and the Sustainable Development Agenda. Charing and moderating the session on NCDs at the event, Dr. Sania Nishtar said “there can be no UHC without attention to NCDs—the world’s biggest killers”. Several country representatives also spoke on the panel, including Anda Caska, Minister of Health of Latvia, Deputy Minister Pinovich of Belarus and representatives of Cuba and the host country.
Keynote address at the opening of Precision Public Health Asia, 2018
October 19, 2018: Dr Sania Nishtar was the keynote presenter at a symposium hosted by Western Australia—Precision Public Health Asia (PPH Asia 2018). With the theme ‘Discover, Share, Identify and Influence’, PPH Asia 2018 brought together a core group of visionaries and innovators to explore the current state of precision public health and consider the impact recent technological advancements are having to improve health outcomes. Her video-relayed presentation can viewed below. The event was hosted by the University of Western Australia and the Department of Health of Western Australia.
Keynote address at the opening of the symposium in Liverpool
October 9, 2018: Dr. Sania Nishtar was the keynote speaker at the symposium “Engaging with Private Providers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries” during the fifth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR) in Liverpool, UK. HSR is a 2-yearly conference organized by Health Systems Global—a consortium of international organizations and many other leading actors in global health. Dr. Sania talked about the importance of strengthening quality of care, effective regulation, and the imperative of harnessing the outreach of informal health providers.
Keynote address at the Policy Forum on Hypertension and Cardiometabolic Risk in Colombo
October 2, 2018: Organizers of the multi-country south Asian trial (Control of Blood Pressure & Risk Attenuation trial [COBRA]) recently held a ‘Policy Forum on Hypertension and Cardiometabolic Risk’ in Colombo. The trial is undergoing in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka and is supported by the Welcome Trust. Dr. Sania Nishtar, delivered the keynote address. She underscored the need for Universal Health Coverage to include hypertension and diabetes care for all segments of the population “Countries are crying out desperately for help. This is evidenced by data from WHO’s Country Cooperation Strategies in more than 150 countries. We could end up undermining the economic viability of Universal Health Coverage if plans failed to address the world’s leading killer”, she said.
Keynote address at the World Cancer Congress
October 2, 2018: The World Cancer Congress (WCC) is a major event in the global cancer control agenda. It is arecognized international conference “which encourages effective knowledge transfer and best practices exchange amongst 3,500 cancer control and public health experts from 150 countries”. It aims to strengthen the participants’ action and impact on national, regional and international scales through a multidisciplinary program that features the latest successful interventions in cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Dr. Sania Nishtar was the keynote speaker at the opening plenary of the conference; her talk, delivered through a video link can be accessed below.
Event hosted by the High-Level commission on NCDs at the at the United Nations
27 September 2018: The High-Level commission on NCDs hosted an event at the United Nations in New York on September 27. Co-chairs of the commission, Dr. Tabare Vasquez, President of Uruguay and Dr. Sania Nishtar co-chaired the meeting. The status of progress of the commission and its scope of work for its next phase were discussed by the co-chairs and other commissioners who were present.
Third high level summit on NCDs at the United Nations General Assembly
27 September 2018: Dr. Sania Nishtar delivered an impassioned address at the 3rd High-Level Meeting on NCDs at then United Nations. She outlined the importance of many developments by the private sector, which are paving the way for health systems to become more choric care centric and reiterated the need for stepping up public roles—norm setting, bolstering regulatory capacity and the need to address financial access barriers. Her co-panelists at the session included President Edgar Lungu of Zambia, The Honorable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, and Zoleka Mandela. The text of Sania Nishtar’s speech can be accessed here.
Keynote speech at the United Nations on Childhood Obesity
26 September 2018, 6 pm: Dr. Nishtar ended the day by delivering the closing keynote back at the United Nations event on Addressing Childhood Obesity. In her remarks, Dr. Nishtar underscored the importance of data-driven solutions. Without data, we cannot ensure that our policies benefit the who need it most. By expanding and standardizing data collection, we can begin to tackle childhood obesity.The text of Sania Nishtar’s talk can be accessed here. The event was organized by the Government of Portugal and was chaired by Adalberto Campos Fernandes, Minister of Health of Portugal and Fernando Araujo, Secretary of State for health of Portugal. James Chau moderated the event. Dr. Sania Nishtar has previously served as the Chair of the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood obesity, the recommendations of which are currently being implemented, globally.
Panels by Devex and the World Economic Forum
26 September 2018, 11 am: Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the Devex/World Economic Forum discussion on the importance of early detection and diagnosis. By highlighting the remarkable potential, the technologies and innovations pose for the NCD world, Dr. Nishtar highlighted the imperative that these benefits be equitably distributed to those most in need.Dr. Nishtar continued and participated in the Sustainable Development Impact Summit, discussing the role of public-private partnerships in addressing the burden of NCDs.
SUN Lead Group meeting
26 September 2018, 8 am: In the week of the 73rd UNGA, Dr. Sania Nishtar started the day at the SUN Group meeting. Dr. Nishtar stressed the importance of networking out of silos, creating platforms for shared experience, and strong governance in order to address malnutrition in all its forms. “To make meaningful change, we must institutionalize this at the country level”, she said.
Keynote address at the UNGA side event organized by Access Accelerated
September 25, 2018, 6 pm: On September 25th, Dr. Sania Nishtar made the fourth keynote speech of the day on sessions associated with the 73rd United Nations General Assembly. She finished the day giving both the opening keynote and speaking on the panel organized by Access Accelerated and the World Bank on Collaborating to Overcome Barriers to Decisive Global and Local Action on NCDs. “With a clear strategy, dedicated funding, and institutional partnerships, we can work together to translate words into actions. It is important that this agenda by set by those on the ground”, she said.
Keynote address at theHigh-Level side event on Food Systems
25 September 2018, 4 pm: Dr. Sania Nishtar delivered the closing keynote for EAT’s high-level event on “Food Systems Approaches to the Prevention of NCDs” at the United Nations headquarters in New York.The meeting was hosted by the Governments of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Indonesia, C40, EAT, WHO, the SUN Movement and the Nordic Council of Ministers.Dr. Nishtar highlighted the dual burden of malnutrition—both over- and under-nutrition—as contributors to NCDs. By partnering with public and private organizations, we can use a myriad of interventions and regulations to ensure that food promotes health rather than disease.The of Sania Nishtar’sstatement can be accessed here.
Opening keynote at the NCD care continuum event on the sidelines of UNGA
25 September 2018, 10 am: Dr. Sania Nishtar kicked-off the Teva-Intel-IAPO multi-sectorial talk with her keynote distillation of the NCD burden as borne by individual patients. Although patients may bear sixteen or more chronic diseases, they often do not fit the “classic” image of a non-communicable disease patient. “People do not come neatly packaged into silos; neither should our solutions”, she said.
Keynote address at the event organized by Partners in Health, Harvard University
25 September 2018, 9 am: Dr. Sania Nishtar gave a keynote address at the opening session of an event organized by NCD Synergies Project at Partners in Health, the Program in Global NCDs and Social Change at Harvard Medical School, and the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust in support of The Lancet Commission on Reframing NCDs and injuries for the Poorest Billion. This meeting was held in New York on the sidelines of the 73rd UNGA. Sania outlined how the global community can better address the burden borne by the world’s poorest and neediest due to NCDs and injuries. Dr. Nishtar pushed for an evolution beyond the traditional 4×4 approach to NCDs, impressing the importance of systems-level interventions to meet the real-world needs on the ground.
Keynote speech at the launch of the DEFEAT NCD partnership
September 24, 2018: Dr Sania Nishtar was the closing keynote speaker at the launch of the Defeat-NCD Partnership, a new global public-private partnership established to progress sustained actions against non-communicable diseases towards achieving SDG 3 by 2030. The launch took place at the United Nations General Assembly. Other speakers included Ulla Tornaes, Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Denmark; Dr The Honorable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis; Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, CEO of Novo Nordisk; Grete Faremo, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UNOPS; and Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Commentary in JAMA
August 31, 2018: Donald Berwick and Sania Nishtar publish a commentary today, in JAMA titled “Crossing the Global Health Care Quality Chasm: A Key Component of Universal Health Coverage: the commentary can be accessed here
Keynote speech at the EMRO ministerial meeting on Universal Health Coverage
September 3, 2018: Dr Sania Nishtar gave the keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the ministerial meeting on Universal Health Coverage for the Eastern Mediterranean region in Salalah, Oman on September 3. She talked about the importance of integrating non-communicable diseases into universal health coverage plans and emphasized that it would be a tragic missed opportunity if countries failed to address the world’s leading killers whilst they planned to cover their populations for health.
Crossing the Global Quality Chasm: Improving Healthcare Worldwide
August 29, 2018: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) of the United States released it report “Crossing the Global Quality Chasm: Improving Healthcare Worldwide”, today. The report and details about its launch can be accessed here. Co-chairs of the NASEM Committee which was responsible for producing this report, Donald Berwick and Sania Nishtar concluded by stating that the “the global status of healthcare quality is shockingly poor & worrisome”
Second meeting of the high-level commission on NCDs
August 23, 2018: Dr Sania Nishtar chaired the second face to face meeting of the high level commission on NCDs in Geneva where plans for the second phase of the commission’s work were drawn up. These will be posted online shortly for public consultation.
NCD experts meeting in Moscow
July 25, 2018: The World Health Organization hosted a meeting on NCDs in Moscow from July 23-25. The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Health of Russia and its objective was to review plans underway in preparation for the 3rd High Level Summit on NCDs on September 27, 2018. Co-chairs of the high-level commission on NCDS Dr. Veronica Skortsova, Minister of health of Russia and Dr. Sania Nishtar met with the WHO NCDs directors to explore how to exploit synergy in relation to the work of the Commission.
Keynote address at the NCDs workshop in Chennai
July 14, 2018: Dr. Sania Nishtar gave the keynote address at the NCDs event in Chennai organized by the Public Health Foundation of India, DIWWAAAS and HRIDAY. The event focused on Girls, Women and Diabetes and was held on July 14-15, 2018. The aim of the workshop was to share and learn about the challenges and potential solutions on diabetes prevention and control especially employing a gender lens, within the overall ambit of prevention and control of Non-Communicable Diseases.
NCDs event at the United Nations’ General Assembly
July 5, 2018: President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, invited Dr Sania Nishtar to speak in the opening segment of the interactive hearing organised as part of the preparatory process of the third UN high-level meeting on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. The interactive hearing was held on Thursday, 5 July 2018 at the UN Headquarters in New York. The text of the speech can be accessed here.
Advisory Board of the Government of Germany’s on Global Health
Dr. Sania Nishtar joins the International Advisory Board of the Federal Government of Germany’s on Global Health and attended its first meeting in Berlin from July 1-3. This board advises on current challenges and trends in global health and makes suggestions how Germany could further develop its engagement in the international community as the leading government, globally to promote global health.
EAT Stockholm food forum
June 11, 2018: Dr. Sania Nishtar and Johan Rockström gave the State of the Union address at the opening of the 5th EAT EAT Stockholm Food Forum in Stockholm. The address can be viewed here and press coverage about the event can be accessed here.
Launch of the report of the commission on NCDs
June 1, 2018: The report of the High-Level Commission on NCDs, was released in Geneva on June 1, 2018. The Report was released by co-chairs of the Commission, President Tabare Vasquez, President of Uruguay and Dr. Sania Nishtar, President of Heartfile. The Report was handed over to Director General of WHO, Dr. Tedros. The Report was published in The Lancet on the same day. The WHO monograph can be accessed and the event webcast can be viewed here.
Dr. Sania Nishtar at the 71st World Health Assembly sessions
May 25, 2018: Dr. Sania Nishtar spoke at several sessions accompanying the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva this week. She was the opening speaker for both the Scaling up Nutrition side events on the 22nd and the 23rd of May. She was a panelist on a session on NCDs alongside President Michele Bachelet organized by the NCD alliance and in addition also spoke on a panel organized by the government of Netherlands, Colombia, and Norwary. In these sessions she spoke alongside the Ministers of Health of Jamaica, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, DR Congo, and Norway and other health experts. Dr. Sania also chaired a meeting of the High-Level Commission on NCDs this week at the Palais de Nations. She keynoted the breakfast townhall event of NCD Child and also gave opening remarks at the G4 Surgical Alliance event this week.
BMJ blog on NCDs and UHC
May 22, 2017: SaniaNishtar’scommentary explaining how to integrate Non-communicable diseases with Universal Health Coverage has been published on the British Medical Journal blog and can be accessed here: “Opportunities exist to negotiate policy space for NCDs in each health systems’ six building blocks, and therefore in UHC plans”, she says.
Sania Nishtar: Acting with intent
May 16, 2018: The British Medical Journal has published Sania Nishtar’s interview in BMJ Confidential, an informal space in which they quiz doctors about their hopes, fears, worst mistakes, biggest inspirations, and numerous other matters. The interviewcan be accessed here
Sania Nishtar Chairs the National Academy of Sciences meeting in Washington
May 16, 2018: the fourth and the final in-person meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s committee on “Improving the Quality of Healthcare,Globally” was held in Washington on May 14 and 15. Dr Sania Nishtar and Dr. Donald Berwick, Committee co-chairs, chaired the meeting. The committee is expected to publish its report in September 2018.
Gender parity in global health
May 8, 2018: Dr Sania Nishtar and Helen Clark write about the importance of gender parity in global health in a Project Syndicate comment which can be accessed here:
Sania Nishtar Chairs meeting of the High-Level Commission on NCDs
May 7, 2018: The third meeting of the WHO High Level Commission on NCDs and (the first one that was held in person) was held in Geneva on May 7, 2018 at the WHO headquarters. A large number of commissioners were present at the meeting. Deliberations focused on the first report of the Commission, which is meant to be released on June 1, 2018.
May 1, 2018: the Oped titled More provinces? by Sania Nishtar, published in The News can be accessed here.
Fight Against Cervical Cancer
April 17, 2018: Dr Sania Nishtar’s Op-ed in Gulf News titled “Fight against cervical cancer picks momentum” can be accessed here.
April 13, 2018: the Oped titled The E-voting Challenge by Sania Nishtar, published in The News can be accessed here.
NCD Financing Meeting in Copenhagen
April 9, 2018: the WHO Global Dialogue on Partnerships for Sustainable Financing of Noncommunicable Disease Prevention and Control was held in Copenhagen from 9-11 April. Dr. Sania Nishtar spoke at the closing plenary about the need for a three pronged approach to NCDs—domestic integration of NCDs into exiting systems, need for long term domestic foresight and catalytic role of the international system.Her speech can be viewed here.
Chief Guest at the Launch of a study on the volume of illicit Cigarette Brands in Pakistan
April 4, 2018: The Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) and the Human Development Foundation (HDF) launched the “Study to Assess the Volume of Illicit Cigarette Brands in Pakistan” The study was carried out under the technical guidance of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Knowledge Hub, Economics of Tobacco Control Project and assessed the volume of sale of illicit cigarette brands in ten cities and their adjoining rural areas across Pakistan. Dr. Sania Nishtar was the chief guest at the event. Read More.
Pakistan: how to tap the silver lining
April 3, 2018: Dr. Sania Nishtar was a featured speaker at the Center for Peace, Security and Developmental Studies Institute Seminar on “Pakistan: how to tap the silver lining” where she spoke about the importance of transparency and governance reform.
Op-Ed on Universal Health Coverage on World Health Day 2018
April 7, 2018: Project Syndicate, one of the world’s opinion pages, publishes Dr. Sania Nishtar’s Op-Ed outlining how corruption impedes Universal Health Coverage on World Health Day 2018. Read here
Oped on the Future of Government
March 17, 2018: Dr. Sania writes about the importance of human capital development for national growth and progress. Read more.
Op-Ed with Helen Clark on International Women’s Day
March 8, 2018: In an Op-Ed in The NEWs International Sania Nishtar and Helen Clark are aiming to inspire a Women’s health movement. Read here
Op-Ed with Lord Nigel Crisp at the launching of Nursing Now
March 1, 2018: Lord Nigel Crisp, co-chairs of UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health and an advocate for Nursing Now and Dr Sania Nishtar write about how important it is to accord attention to the potential of nurses in this Oped. Read here.
Oped on the importance of human capital development
February 21, 2018: Dr. Sania writes about the importance of human capital development for national growth and progress. Read the oped here.
Chief Guest at the Third Amateur Ladies Golf Championship
March 18, 2018: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to be the Chief Guest at the Third Pakistan Golf Association Amateur Ladies Golf Championship in Islamabad. She gave away trophies and in her keynote speech she said “golf has taught me many things in life. The importance of visioning, problem solving, practice, persistence, graciousness and respect”. She said it is critical for women to have equal participation in physical activity and sport, since that is a double-edged advantage both for women’s empowerment as well as has health benefits. Dr. Sania awarded the trophy to the winning team from Thailand.
Chief Guest at the AIOU International Conference on Environment and Health
March 21, 2018: It is now well established that most of the determinants of health lie outside of thecontrol of the healthcare system—these also includemany environmentaldeterminants” said Dr. Sania Nishtar at the opening of the International Conference on Environment and Health at the Allama Iqbal Open University here in Islamabad. Dr. Sania, who was invited to be the chief guest at the opening of the conference paid tribute to the organizers of the meeting for taking health “out of the silo” for the discourse at the conference.
Keynote Speech at the Human Development Forum
February 13, 2018: Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited as chief of honor in the Punjab Human Development Forum, Pakistan. During her speech Dr. Sania Nishtar stated that Human capital will be the single most important determinant of economic stability of any country. The event took place in Lahore.
Keynote Speech at the Foundation University
February 2, 2018: Dr. Sania Nishtar speak as a keynote speaker at the 1st Interdisciplinary Conference on the theme of “Action Plan for Physical Rehabilitation- RoadMap for Pakistan”. Foundation International University in Islamabad organized the conference.
Prince Mahidol Award Conference 2018
February 1, 2018: Dr. Sania Nishtar participated as a panelist in one of the key session “Making the World Safe from the Threats of Emerging Infectious Diseases” at PRINCE MAHIDOL AWARD CONFERENCE commenced during 29 January to 3 February 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Keynote speech at the SUN nutrition event
January 30,2018: Dr. Sania Nishtar gave the Key Note Speech at SUNAR National Nutrition Research Conference 2018. The event was organized SUN Academia & Research Network Pakistan in Islamabad.
World Economic Forum at DAVOS
January 23-26, 2018: The 48thAnnual Meetingof World economic forum, was kicked off under the theme, ‘’creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World’’, with the aim of identifying ways for humanity to work collectively once more in the face of urgent global and regional challenges.Dr. Sania Nishtar boldly expressed her views as a panelist in the important sessions “South Asia Outlook” & “Asia Game Changers” held on 24th January. The former session can be viewed here.
WHO NCDs Commission Meeting
January 16-17, 2018: Regional and Geneva-based NCD Directors and WHO Independent High-Level Commission on NCDs Co-chair Dr. Sania Nishtar gathered in Geneva for WHO Internal Planning Meeting to discuss the progress and next steps for WHO Independent High-Level Commission on NCDs.
Keynote speech at the Air University LIFECON conference
January 15, 2018: Dr. Sania Nishtar in her Key Note Speech at LIFECON 2018 highlighted the importance of multidisciplinary & Interdisciplinary Approach in Health Sciences. Air University Islamabad organized the conference.
Second meeting of the National Academies Global Study on the Quality of Healthcare in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
December 18-19, 2017: Dr Sania Nishtar co-chaired—along with Don Berwick—the second committee meeting of the Global Study on the Quality of Healthcare in Low- and Middle-Income Countries on December 18-19 in Nairobi. The study has been organized by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
The Universal Health Coverage Forum in Tokyo
December 15, 2017:The high-level forum on universal health coverage, was held in Tokyo from December 12-15. The Forum was jointly organized by the Government of Japan, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UHC2030; it concluded with the adoption of the Tokyo Declaration All Together to Accelerate Progress towards UHC. Dr. Sania Nishtar was one of the 400 invitees to the Universal Health Coverage Forum and moderated the plenary at the High-Level segment of the Forum, footage from which can be accessed here.
Keynote speech at the NCDA Forum in Sharjah
December 9, 2017 Dr. Sania Nishtar gave the keynote address at the NCD Forum in Sharjah on December 9. Th video of the keynote can be accessed here.
Keynote speech at the 8th Public Health Conference, Pakistan
December 6, 2017: Dr. Sania Nishtar was the keynote speaker at the 8th public health conference in Islamabad and spoke about the future of healthcare.
Heartfile Financing session at the 8th Public Health Conference
December 6, 2017: Heartfile held a special session on Heartfile Health Financing at8th Public Health Conference held at the Health Services Academy in Islamabad. Heartfile Health Financing Stakeholders—donors, doctors, and operational staff—deliberated at the event about scale up modalities.
Rethinking the Global System for Health in Agenda 2030
November 20, 2017: Sania Nishtar joined Helen Clark and others at University College London for a Chatham house style event hosted by Kent Buse and Sarah Hawkes to brainstorm about the future of Health
Keynote speech at ICTD 2017
November 18, 2017: Dr. Sania Nishtar was the keynote speaker at the Information Technology for Development Conference in Lahore on November 18, 2017. Her talk was focused on the application of ICTD for improvinghealth outcomes and the manner in which ICT breakthroughs are creating new opportunities.
World Diabetes Day
November 14, 2017: Read Dr. Sania Nishtar’sOped “Diabetes is a serious women’s issue” in Diabetes Voice on the occasion of World Diabetes Day https://goo.gl/sPkQiT
World Economic Forum, Global Agenda Council
November 12: The World Economic Forum’s Network of Global Future Councils—the world’s foremost interdisciplinary knowledge network dedicated to promoting innovative thinking on the future—met in Dubai on November 11-12, 2017. This initiative comprises 35 Councils, which focus on challenges that are global in nature. The uture of Health and Healthcare is one of the Future Councils and is co-chaired by Dr. Sania Nishtar, along with Dr. Andre Goy. Both the co-chairs convened a meeting of their council in Madinat Jumeriah conference centre over the two days.
keynote speech at the Harvard Symposium on women in the workforce
October 23, 2017: On Monday, October 23,2017, the Harvard Global Health Institute and the Women and HealthInitiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, hosted a symposium on gender and the global health workforce to kick off the first-ever celebration of Harvard Worldwide Week in Boston. Dr. Sania Nishtar was the keynote speaker at the symposium. The text of her speech can be accessed here.
Dr. Sania Nishtar and President Tabaré Vázquez named NCD Commission co-chairs
October 20, 2017: President Dr. Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay and Dr. Sania Nishtar have been named as co-chairs of the newly established WHO Independent High-Level Commission on NCDs. Both the co-chairs met on the sidelines of the Global Conference on NCDs to discuss initial modalities of the commission.
WHO Global Conference on NCDs in Uruguay
October 20, 2017: The WHO Global Conference on NCDs was recently held in Montevideo, Uruguay from 18-20 October 2017. The conference aimed to highlight the critical links between reducing premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases, promoting mental health and well-being and enhancing policy coherence across areas that impact the governance, prevention, management and surveillance of NCDs. Dr. Sania Nishtar was one of the speakers in the final plenary on “The Way Forward” and spoke about the imperative innovative approaches to accelerate the response to NCDs in view of the upcoming high-level summit on NCDs in 2018.
The National Academies Global Study on the Quality of Healthcare in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
October 18, 2017: In light of the call in the Sustainable Development Goals for achieving Universal Health Coverage, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has convened a Committee on Improving Global Quality of Healthcare. The committee will be co-chaired by Don Berwick, former United States Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Dr. Sania Nishtar. Updates about the public component of the committee can be accessed here
Vision talk at Stanford Women Leaders Conference
October 12, 2017: The inaugural Women Leaders in Global Health conference was held at Stanford University on Oct. 12. The conference was attended by over 400 women and men – representing more than 250 organizations and from 68 countries – and watched live by another 400 viewers joining in from homes and workplaces around the world. Dr. Sania Nishtar gave one of the two Vision Talks at the Conference in an interview format. She was interviewed by Susan Chira, gender editor of New York Times. Footage of the event can be viewed here https://t.co/ZKHMwMWxqG
Twin opeds on addressing corruption
October 4, 2017
Dr. Sania Nishtar publishes two opeds in The News International describing the ramifications, costs and dynamics of corruption in general and underscores the importance of some of the evidence based measures relevant to pakistan to address them. These articles can be accessed here:
The Corruption Imperative https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/231091-The-corruption-imperative?src=ilaw
The Road to anti-corruption https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/234424-Road-to-anti-corruption