Executive Director of United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) David M. Beasley, Tuesday, termed the work of Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) as encouraging and extraordinary.
In a meeting with Chairperson BISP Marvi Memon here, he looked forward to cooperation between both entities and hoped that the “partnership will continue and grow, adding BISP can be their prime partner in Pakistan to reach out to the most vulnerable women in the country
Pakistan is WFP’s largest host government donor in the world and is paying US$ 50 million to the current Protracted Relief and Recovery Operations (PRRO). In her welcome remarks, the Chairperson felicitated the Executive Director on assuming the high office and hoped that with his appointment, the programme will be able to achieve its overarching objectives worldwide.
She also appreciated the role of WFP in Pakistan for being the leading humanitarian organization fighting hunger, delivering food assistance and working to improve nutrition and build resilience. She further said that BISP is empowering women in social, political and financial terms through its various programmes.
Memon hoped that WFP and Government of Pakistan can mutually support the educational endeavors of BISP beneficiaries’ children under “BISP Conditional Cash Transfers Initiative for Children Enrollment in Schools” in the WFP priority regions in Pakistan.
Marvi Memon stated that Pakistan’s economy witnessed recovery through a combination of stabilization and structural reforms which have been duly acknowledged by international financial institutions and it provided much needed fiscal space for Government to launch BISP as the largest poverty alleviation program in history of Pakistan.
It was informed that BISP has grown as a leader in establishing an innovative system for poverty based targeting in social protection service delivery. It has established National Socio-economic Registry (NSER) for selection of beneficiary families – a large data set akin to a census that is linked to computerized civic registry.
Moreover, it was shared that BISP has attained a reputation, both nationally and internationally, of being a successful programme with positive impacts on lives of vulnerable women. Oxford Policy Management (OPM) has completed impact evaluations which found positive impacts on poverty reduction, school enrolment of children, reduction of wasting among girls and increased willingness of women to vote.
It was shared that in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Vision Pakistan agenda 2025, BISP is committed to raising living standards of ultra-poor through reduced vulnerability, hunger and improved human development.
The visiting dignitary was also apprised that BISP Endowment Fund (BEF) has recently been established. The core objective of BEF is to cover BISP’s operational cost in periods of budgetary constraints besides financing of additional pro-poor schemes/initiatives as approved by Fund’s Board. It was shared that BISP would welcome a sizeable grant from the WFP.
It was shared that the Government of Pakistan has designed an exit strategy for its ‘poorest of the poor’. In this regard, BISP has recently launched Graduation models namely Business Incubation for Self Employment (BISE) and Direct Cash.
It was reflected that these graduation models have been adopted after consultation with reputed international institutions including inter-alia, MIT, Harvard and LSE. These models will be blended with Inclusive Business approach while harnessing potential of corporate sector of the country. Secretary BISP Omar Hamid Khan thanked David M. Beasley and hoped that his visit will result in extensive cooperation amongst WFP and BISP.