48 Ehsaas Nashonuma Centres being established at 13 districts countrywide
File Photo

ISLAMABAD, Dec 10 (APP): “Ehsaas-the flagship poverty alleviation initiative of Pakistan’s government continues to deliver positive change for the people of Pakistan and has laid the foundations to become a global model for reducing poverty”.

This was a key message of a new and independent report published Thursday by Delivery Associates, a globally respected firm that works with governments across the world to achieve measurable developmental impact.

The Ehsaas report titled, ‘The Ehsaas Program: Shift from politics of patronage to politics of performance’ penned by Sir Michael Barber, Chairman and Founder of Delivery Associates was unveiled through a press conference held here on Thursday with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar and Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Shibli Faraz.

Sir Michael Barber was connecting virtually from UK to unveil the Ehsaas report stated that “Our analysis shows that Ehsaas, by focusing on accountability and impact, has laid the foundations for becoming a globally leading exemplar on how to tackle poverty”.

“I have had the honour of working with successive Pakistani governments throughout my career, and it is fantastic to see Ehsaas embedded at the heart of the current administration”, he said.

“The Ehsaas team, under the strong leadership and unwavering integrity of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Dr. Sania Nishtar, made huge progress in delivering a multi-dimensional poverty alleviation program in just a year”, he said.

“The reforms and structural changes pioneered by the team resulted in the rapid delivery of Ehsaas Emergency Cash to 12 million households against the challenging and unprecedented backdrop of COVID-19. Their work is going to be vital in the coming months and years, Sir Michael Babar said.”

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The report has reflected the four pillars of the multi-dimensional anti-poverty program-Ehsaas which include addressing elite capture and strengthening governance, safety net, human capital development and jobs and livelihoods.

The report has also mentioned the way Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan has shown his commitment to end poverty through giving full patronage to the Ehsaas program which not only addresses symptoms of poverty but its causes also, Sir Michael Babar said.

Ehsaas is a comprehensive and ambitious program which focuses on poverty alleviation as well as social security at a time.

Sir Michael Babar also mentioned that removal of 800,000 people from previous Benazir Income Support Program beneficiaries list to make sure money was actually going to the deserving people also reflect government commitment to ensure transparency.

Speaking during the press conference, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar said “This is a comprehensive and timely report from Delivery Associates, which helps us to reflect on the achievements of the Ehsaas program in its first year, while paving the way for continued success,”.

“This analysis will help us to stay focused on our goal of ending poverty in Pakistan and improved delivery for all of our beneficiaries, with the hope that Ehsaas can eventually be a model for the world”, she further added.

The report also praises the program’s use of technology and data, which underpin monitoring routines designed to ensure robust governance discipline throughout its operations.

This includes a new data dashboard, openly displayed on the Ehsaas website, which uses a traffic light system to track progress on different strands of the program, highlighting progress and improving transparency.

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The report analyses the first year of the government’s flagship program, Ehsaas. The report outlined the initial steps taken to establish the program to be transparent, multi-sectoral and results-driven as well as highlighted some of the major achievements to date.

The report among other programs, commended the Ehsaas Kafaalat which provides unconditional cash transfers to millions of the poorest women, Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships, which awards over 50,000 scholarships a year to students from disadvantaged background and Ehsaas Nashonuma, a conditional cash transfers to increase uptake of health and nutrition.

The report also mentioned an extensive process of governance reforms commenced in Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division and its implementing agencies to deliver Ehsaas.

The Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy was approved by the Cabinet on November 12, 2019 to ensure those organizations involved in delivery of welfare are effective and responsive to the needs of those who they are mandated to serve. Also, Governance observatory and multi-stakeholder monitoring were introduced.

Sir Michael Babar is one of the world’s leading education reformers, and from 2001 to 2005 was Chief Advisor on Delivery to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Delivery Associates is based in the UK and works with government leaders from over 40 countries. It works in partnership with governments, public bodies and other organisations to build measurable value for as many people as possible.

There are teams on the ground in twenty different countries around the world, with twenty-four different nationalities represented and twenty different languages spoken.