Karandaaz Pakistan to support BISP for economic empowerment of its beneficiaries

Islamabad | Oct 2, 2018

In light of a meeting last week between the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) and the delegation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), BISP and Karandaaz Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Islamabad today under which Karandaaz will support BISP’s efforts to catalyze economic empowerment of its beneficiaries. This will be achieved through joint efforts of Karandaaz and BISP for digital financial services (DFS) usage gender gap in Pakistan by adding a gender-intentional lens to the BISP program. Karandaaz will conduct an assessment of BISP and its various programs of government to person (G2P) payments and develop recommendations encompassing the operational, functional, and policy aspects of BISP.

The activities under this MOU shall consist of a study of BISP and all its initiatives including unconditional cash transfers, conditional cash transfers, and complementary and graduation programs to arrive at recommendations for successful schemes for ‘graduation out of poverty’. Karandaaz, under this MOU will also help BISP in identification of opportunities for development of product features and delivery mechanisms for high-impact use cases that empower women including private savings, employment opportunities, and livelihood activities.

Speaking at the occasion, Ali Sarfraz, CEO Karandaaz Pakistan said,

The economic empowerment effects of social protection programs could be expanded when they are designed through a gender intentional lens, and the transfers are delivered digitally and directly into an account owned and operated by a woman. We hope that this partnership will help BISP to implement improvements in its policies and operations that lead to an increase in its beneficiaries’ control over their personal financial decisions and enhance women’s prospects for economic empowerment.

Secretary BISP Mr. Omar Hamid Khan said,

The partnership has the potential to increase collaboration diversified fields including Graduation, MIS, NSER and other social protection initiatives. The partnership will also help us identify opportunities for policy interventions and improvement of BISP’s internal processes and systems, through digitization and re-design.

BISP is the premier safety net institution in Pakistan and running one of the largest targeted unconditional cash transfer programs focused on poor women with an immediate objective of consumption, smoothing, and cushioning the negative effects of slow economic growth. According to World Bank, social safety net programs help reduce the poverty gap by 15% around the world. The long term targets of BISP include meeting the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eradicate extreme and chronic poverty and empowerment of women.

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