Ehsaas consultative workshop discusses ‘three-pillar’ research strategy

Zubair Qureshi

A consultative workshop on the research strategy held, under the umbrella of Ehsaas on Wednesday discussed broad contours of a three-year research strategy for Ehsaas that would provide the frame-work for all research-related activities.

Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) for Poverty Alkeviation & Social Safety chaired the workshop.

Speaking to the workshop participants, Dr. Sania said, “There are three pillars of Ehsaas Research Strategy. First, use of quantitative and qualitative data for information and evidence so that quick operational decisions can be made to of Ehsaas op-erations. In this regard, regular program reviews, field observations, spot checks, and reviews of documents (such as audit reports and fiduciary risk assessments), use of data analytics, and use of busi-ness intelligence tools on automated digital informa-tion pipelines are critical for decision making. Real time evaluations of new programs also help to im-prove decision making, especially for new pro-grams.”

The second category she said, comprises of more structured impact, process and formative evalua-tions which are embedded in various programmes.

Dr. Sania then continued, “The third pillar of re-search is where Ehsaas wants to broker better part-nerships with academic institutions to outline its research priorities and to expose anonymized data and its operations in the field to create a win-win situation on both ends. By outlining research priori-ties, Ehsaas will have the opportunity to mobilize hundreds of Ph.D. and master’s level students to conduct research that is of relevance to Ehsaas. On the other hand, researchers will have access to in-formation and data which they would not have oth-erwise.”

“This would help to bridge the information evi-dence to policy and operations gap to improve Eh-saas delivery”, she concluded.

Participants included Dr. Ashfaque Hassan Khan, Dean and Principal NUST School of Social Sci-ences & Humanities; Knut Ostby, UNDP Resident Representative; Omer Bin Zia, Senior Project Offi-cer, Asian Development Bank; Dr. Ali Salman, Executive Director, Policy Research Institute of Market Economy, Dr. Aliya, Economist, Quaid-e-Azam University; and Dr. Zahid Asghar, Director School of Economics, Quaid e Azam University. Senior representatives from PIDE, Lahore School of Economics, Asian Development Bank, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Social Policy and Development Center also joined the workshop. From Ehsaas, Secretary Ismat Tahira, DG Naveed Akbar, DG Noor Rehman and DG Tariq Mehmood were also present on the occasion.

The recently established Policy and Research Unit will serve as the focal point for coordinating imple-mentation of the Ehsaas Research Strategy.