Category Page: Social Safety Programs

BISP Launches Nutrition drive for 1.5 Million Women

Islamabad:  BISP in collaboration with World Food Programme (WFP) conducted a training workshop on nutrition at BISP headquarters today to train its social mobilizers on nutrition. These master trainers will create awareness among 1.5 million beneficiary mothers through 50,000 BISP Beneficiary Committees (BBCs) in 32 districts across Pakistan on nutrition.

The training was attended by Minister of State and Chairperson BISP MNA Marvi Memon, Country Director WFP Mr Finbarr Curran, Deputy Country Director WFP Mr Stephen Gluning, Ms Cecilia Garzon WFP Head of Nutrition, Secretary BISP Ms Yasmeen Masood, Dr Ali Ahmad Khan WFP Policy Officer Nutrition, team leaders, cluster incharges and social mobilizers of BISP partner firms Aurat Foundation and Mott MacDonald Pakistan.

In her inaugural address, Chairperson BISP Marvi Memon said that it is beginning of a revolution as the behavioral change brought through these trainings would help in improving IQ levels, thus enhancing productivity of future generations. She added that this partnership between BISP and WFP would create a significant impact on gross root level by reducing malnourishment and stunting, as it would benefit the poorest of the country.

Country Director WFP Mr Finbarr Curran stated that this initiative would help in reaching out to the most vulnerable segment of society where malnutrition and stunting rates are alarmingly high. WFP attaches great importance to partnership with BISP- the premier social safety net and is passionate in carrying this partnership forward to improve food and nutrition security in the country.

The training comprised of three sessions. In first session Dr Ali highlighted the importance of intelligent spending on nutritional food within available budget. He emphasized that malnutrition can be curbed if mothers give their  children fresh fruit, vegetables, pulses, eggs,  meat, milk, boiled  water and mould their way of cooking as to preserve the nutrients present in food. The second session took into account mother child health and third session focused exclusively on mother health as healthy mothers are able to raise healthy children.

While explaining the role of nutrition in development, Dr Ali said that the nutritive food enhances the immunity of children that results in their better physical and mental growth. Healthy children perform better in education, are more productive and contribute to the development of society and country in a better fashion.

Chairperson BISP wished the mobilizers good luck and said that this is a great responsibility on their shoulders ,as 1.5 million women is a huge number that can register a considerable impact on the stats sheet of the country.

This training was first in the series of workshops that will be conducted in Bahawalpur, Sukkur, Sialkot, Abbotabad, Peshawar, Quetta and Gilgit within one month.

 -BISP

Indian bride calls off wedding with ‘rape-accused’ groom

BAREILLY: In a bizarre turn of events, a bride called off her wedding on the day she was to tie the knot after learning that her would-be groom is an accused in a rape case, reported Times of India. She said she did not want to spend her entire life with someone who was accused of violating a woman.

Initially, the groom’s side was taken aback but relented later. Both families, with the help of the panchayat, have now reached a settlement and are in the process of returning gifts and money.

Bhanu Pratap, 24, a resident of Bhulaniya village under Devraniya police station, claimed that the charges against him were motivated. But he failed to convince the bride to change her mind.

All the preparations were in place for the wedding at the bride’s house at Kundra village under Nawabganj police station Saturday evening. Hours before the marriage was to be solemnised, a relative tipped the bride’s side that the groom was accused of rape.

According to witnesses, the bride’s side went into a tizzy on learning about the groom. The rumour spread like wildfire that the bride had refused to go ahead with the wedding. The groom and his relatives tried their best to convince the bride’s family that the case was lodged by the groom’s uncle to settle old scores but she refused to budge.

It was later found that the rape survivor had turned hostile during the investigation. “A case of rape against Bhanu Pratap was filed in June this year. We are about to close the case as the rape survivor has turned hostile and changed her statement before the magistrate. All the charges have been found to be motivated,” Vimlesh Singh, station house officer at Baradari police station, told TOI.

-Samaa Tv

BISP – Waseela-e-Haq Overview

BISP had launched Waseela-e-Haq scheme in September, 2009 to provide and enhance small business and entrepreneurship among poorest of the poor to come out of poverty trap.

It was meant to promote self-employment among women beneficiaries or their nominated able bodied members of their families as a mean to improve their livelihood.

Waseela-e-Haq was a targeted scheme of providing interest free loan amounting up to Rs.300,000 in two or more installments to the randomly selected beneficiary families already receiving the cash transfers under BISP.

The loan for Waseela-e-Haq was meant for establishing businesses. For Waseela-e-Haq initiative, BISP beneficiaries had been sub-divided into sub-groups of 3, 000 each (Commune System). Every month one beneficiary out of each commune was selected randomly through computerized balloting. An amount of Rs. 2205 Million has been disbursed among 13455 beneficiaries.

Figure Number of Beneficiaries to whom Loan Amount has been disbursed

The region wise analysis shows that an amount of Rs. 1009.9 million was disbursed to Waseela-e-Haq beneficiaries residing in Punjab and 410.8 million in Sindh. Similarly an amount of Rs. 602.9 million was disbursed to Waseela-e-Haq beneficiaries located in KPK and 123.6 million to Balochistan.

Figure Region wise Amount Disbursed to beneficiaries (Rs. Millions)

There are various types of business stated by the Waseela-e-Haq beneficiaries. The figure shows that around 49 percent Waseela-e-Haq beneficiaries invested their loan money in livestock and dairy farming business. Secondly around 23 percent started general store business while only 2 percent invested in Risckshaw. The remaining 26 percent have stated miscellaneous business which includes cloth shop, tailoring shop, welding and atta chaki etc

Current Status:

As per BISP board policy, strategy has been changed to provide micro-finance to the beneficiaries. BISP is exploring collaboration with public sector Organizations/NGOs working in social sector for the provision of microfinance loans to BISP beneficiaries. In this regard, BISP is collaborating with Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) in respect of Prime Minister Interest Free Loan (PMIFL) Scheme and with Akhuwat Foundation (NGO). Under the scope of these collaborations, both organizations are extending microfinance loans to BISP women beneficiaries to establish their own businesses.

Millions of Children in Restive Pakistani Province Lack Access to Education

Nine-year-old Fahad works at a tailor shop in Peshawar with his brother to provide for their family of 11, including his six brothers, two sisters and his parents.

Making just $20 a month, his job hinders him from going to school.

“Every day on my way to work, I see students who go to school and it is very hard for me to ignore them,” Fahad told VOA. “My parents are poor and I have to work to be able to make ends meet.”

Fahad is not alone on having to trade off school for work. An estimated 3 million children have no access to formal education in the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

“Around 3 million children are not going to primary schools. The government has worked on census to have accurate statistics on out of school children,” Mushtaq Ghani, provincial government spokesperson, told VOA.

Nearly 58 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 16 are currently out of school in KP, according to Dawn, a local English language daily. Extreme poverty and lack of infrastructure remain the main reasons behind the lack of schooling.

Insecurity, terrorism

Continued insecurity and terrorism exacerbate the problem.

“There were 867 attacks on educational institutions in Pakistan from 2007 to 2015, resulting in 392 deaths,” according to a recent report by Human Rights Watch.

Over the past 10 years, several militant groups, including Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), have repeatedly conducted attacks on schools and universities across the country, particularly in the KP region.

Analysts believe that these attacks are part of an organized effort to instill fear among the masses and undermine education in the country.

“Militancy has a huge and negative impact. It made life harder and day-to-day survival is at risk in KP,” Arif Naveed, an education policy expert, told VOA.

According to analysts, ongoing counterterrorism measures in the country have also added to the problem.

As a result of ongoing military operations in the tribal region, thousands of children have not been able to attend school. The military operations have displaced over a million people in the region, making it extremely difficult to continue sending their children, particularly girls, to school.

“Many schools were demolished, infrastructure destroyed and a lot of lives were lost as a result of terrorism and counterterrorism activities in the province,” Naveed added.

Long-term consequences

Pakistan has a population of nearly 200 million people, with more than 25 percent under the age of 15.

Experts warn if the government fails to recognize the urgency in addressing education, there will be dire consequences.

“With no economic opportunities for youth, the outcome will be disastrous,” Naveed said.

Khadim Hussain, a political analyst from Peshawar, echoes Naveed’s concern, saying depriving children from education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will have “unimaginable” results for the entire country.

“The children deprived of their right to education are potential terrorists as they can be easily brainwashed and lured towards extremism,” Hussain told VOA.

Over 60,000 people have reportedly died over the past 10 years due to terrorist attacks and most suicide bombers have been either teenagers or young adults in their early 20s, according to Pakistani media reports.

“Uneducated and unemployed youth will be an easy target for extremists and militant groups,” Hussain added.

KP government’s measures

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s government said it is serious about tackling the issue and has allocated over a quarter of the budget toward education.

“The government wants implementation of the education reforms and wants to ensure that every child goes to school,” Mushtaq Ghani, provincial government spokesperson, told VOA.

Recent statistics by Alif Ailan, an education advocacy organization in Pakistan, reveal 48 percent of primary and secondary schools in KP region have to operate without adequate physical infrastructure.

“The government has released billions of funds [Pakistani Rupees] to build infrastructure of schools, including boundary walls, restrooms, furniture, drinking water and electricity,” Ghani said. “Parents will be charged with fine or imprisonment if they fail to send their sons or daughters to school.”

However, education expert Arif Naveed is critical of the legislation and said such bills are symbolic.

Madrasas as substitutes

Parents who cannot financially afford to sending their children to mainstream education institutions, they consequently send their children to local madrasas [religious seminaries], most of which do not charge fees, and provide children with food and accommodation.

Experts say these religious schools mainly focus on religious education and every madrasa teaches religion according to its own ideology and interpretation.

“There is a possibility children coming out of these religious seminaries will be inclined towards extremist views,” political analyst Hussain said. “In every street of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, there’s a madrasa. Every sect has their own religious school for girls and boys.”

Critics charge that these religious schools rely on outdated curriculum with little or no relevance to modern education.

“Government should devise reforms for religious seminaries, too. Madrasa registration and their syllabus is a big issue,” Sardar Hussain Babak, former minister of education in KP, told VOA.

A majority of parents, usually daily-wage laborers, prefer their children to support the family to put food on the table.

Because of that, some children do not go to school, either from the onset like Fahad, or later, dropping out to learn skills to work as laborers and earn money.

While pessimistic about the future, Fahad still keeps some hope that one day he will be able to live as a child.

“I want to be able to go to school,” Fahad said. But until that dream comes true, he wants to have a plan B.

“I will be a tailor in the future if I could not go to school,” he said.

VOA Urdu’s Shamim Shahid contributed to this report from Peshawar.

Source: Voice Of America

Racial discrimination: UN Committee to review Finland, Moldova, Armenia, Kenya, Cyprus and Bulgaria

GENEVA: The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is meeting in Geneva from 24 April to 12 May 2017 to review the following countries on these dates: Finland (25-26 April); Moldova (26-27 April); Armenia (27-28 April); Kenya (2-3 May); Cyprus (3-4 May); Bulgaria (4-5 May).

The above are among the 178 States Parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. They are required to submit regular reports to the Committee, which is composed of 18 international independent experts. CERD will also hear from NGOs and national human rights institutions.

The public review of each State runs from 15:00 to 18:00 and then from 10:00 to 13:00 the following day. Live webcasts of the public sessions held at Palais Wilson in Geneva can be viewed on http://webtv.un.org/.

Background

Members of CERD are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties. The Committee’s concluding observations are an independent assessment of States’ compliance with their human rights obligations under the treaty.

United Nations

11% Reduction on Malnutrition due to BISP: Marvi

Islamabad: Pakistan can reach the status of an Asian tiger once its malnutrition issues are resolved, as control of stunting will ensure better productive population.

BISP biggest impact for Pakistan is not just poverty reduction but contribution to GDP through population with better IQ as better nutrition results in better IQ. BISP cash transfer has led to reduction in malnutrition among girls by 11%.

This was stated by Minister of State and Chairperson BISP MNA Marvi Memon in a meeting with UN Assistant Secretary-General and Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Ms Gerda Verburg.

SUN is a global movement led by 59 countries that inspires new ways of working collaboratively with the stakeholders to eliminate malnutrition in all its forms at national and sub national levels. Pakistan joined SUN movement in 2013. UN Assistant Secretary-General was accompanied by Neil Buhne UN Resident Coordinator, Dr Francesco Branca Director Nutrition for Health and Development WHO, Dr Ayoub Aljawaldeh Regional Advisor Nutrition WHO, Alam Khattak policy Advisor SUN and Aslam Shaheen Chief Nutrition / SUN focal person from Planning Commission of Pakistan.

Ms Gerda Verburg applauded the significant role that BISP has played in enhancing the wellbeing of the poorest. She said that better nutrition may result in an increase in domestic growth by 3%. To improve the nutrition status in the country the participation by the private sector is critical. So, there is strong need to bring together all stakeholders to collaborate and contribute towards the efforts being made for fixing the malnutrition.

While offering the BISP database to all stakeholders, the Chairperson BISP added that nutrition planning utilizing the BISP data would be better targeted to the poor and would result in maximum impact. BISP serves 5.4 million poorest of the poor women and through the platform of 50,000 BISP Beneficiary Committees (BBCs) it can contribute significantly towards improving the nutrition status in Pakistan. She asked the SUN coordinator to share nutrition modules, so they can be used in educating BISP beneficiaries on nutrition.

Director General BISP Dr Tahir Noor briefed on the impact of BISP on the nutrition of its beneficiary households. He said that Impact Evaluations Reports of BISP conducted by Oxford Policy Management (OPM) highlight increased household and child nutrition security as one of the key impacts of BISP. The third impact evaluation report indicates an increase of Rs 188 in per adult monthly consumption expenditure, reduced malnutrition amongst girls, increase of Rs 67 in per adult equivalently food consumption and decrease in poverty by 7%. As BISP stipend is spent mostly on food, it has resulted in significant improvements in the quality of diet, thus reducing malnutrition in its beneficiaries. -BISP

BISP sets target to enroll 1.6 million children in schools: Marvi

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State and BISP Chairperson Marvi Memon on Sunday the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) had enrolled 1.3 million under privileged children in primary schools and targeted to enroll 1.6 million by June 2017.

She was launching Waseela-e-Taleem (WeT) school enrollment drive nationwide which started from Rawalpindi, according to a press release issued here.

This is the second phase of enrollment drive and BISP aims to cement the success of WeT during this phase. Launched in October 2012 in five districts, WeT is currently operational in 32 districts and will be extended to 50 districts by the end of June 2018.

During the launch, the BISP chairperson examined all of three stages involved in the registration camp. First of all, screening of eligible children of beneficiaries is carried out.

After that, awareness session on the importance of education and attendance compliance for getting benefit from BISP is conducted.

Lastly, enrollment process of children is completed. The BISP chairperson, on the occasion, said such registration camps would be set up in all 32 WeT districts across Pakistan and that phase would continue till all of five to 12 years beneficiary children were enrolled in primary schools. She instructed the WeT team to complete the enrollment process in all the districts efficiently within minimum time.

Marvi added that the WeT initiative was part of long term graduation strategy of BISP that aimed to develop human capital so that its beneficiaries might exit out of poverty in future.

The BISP chairperson, during the visit, interacted with the children and teachers, and inspected the facilities in the school.

She said the BISP had registered positive and significant impact on primary school enrollment. According to BISP third impact evaluation report, school attendance deprivation has been reduced from 56% in 2013 to 49% in 2016 due to BISP.

WeT resulted in increase in enrollment of children between ages of 5-12 by 10% points that is higher than the international average.

Under WeT initiative, BISP enrolls 5-12 years old children of its beneficiary families into primary schools. The beneficiary families receive Rs. 750/- per quarter per child with the condition of 70% attendance compliance other than unconditional cash transfer (UCT) of Rs. 4834/- per quarter.

Under this initiative, BISP has carried out supply capacity assessment of 55,000 public and private schools and constituted 50,000 BISP Beneficiary Committees (BBCs) with the objective to create social mobilization amongst poorest of the poor. –BISP

BISP launches 2nd phase of Waseela -e- Taleem school program

Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) has set target to enroll 1.6 million under privileged children in primary schools by June this year.

This was stated by Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme Marvi Memon while launching second Waseela-e-Taleem school enrollment drive nationwide starting from Rawalpindi on Sunday.

She said that BISP has enrolled 1.3 million children to schools in its first phase launched in October 2012 in five districts and is currently operational in 32 districts.

She said that the programme will be extended to 50 districts by the end of June next year.

She said that registration camps will be set up in all 32 districts across Pakistan and this phase will continue till all of 5 to 12 years beneficiary children are enrolled in primary schools.

The Chairperson said that this initiative is part of long term graduation strategy of BISP that aims to develop human capital so that its beneficiaries may exit out of poverty in future.

Under the programs beneficiary families will receive 750 rupees quarter per child with the condition of 70% attendance. Under this initiative, BISP has carried out supply capacity assessment of 55,000 public and private schools. -RADIO PAKISTAN

BISP – NSER National Socio-Economic Registry

As the major social safety net program of the Government of Pakistan, BISP maintains the National Socioeconomic Registry-a database containing information on the socioeconomic status of over 27 million households (HH) across Pakistan except two agencies of FATA.

The registry was created as a result of a Poverty Scorecard Survey (PSC), the first of its kind, undertaken in the years 2010-11. Survey covered almost 87% population of the entire country. The registry enables BISP to identify eligible households through the application of a Proxy Means Test (PMT), to scientifically calculate the poverty levels of the households, that determines welfare status of the household on a scale between 0-100.

BISP data/NSER is used for provision of BISP benefits, including but not limited to, cash transfers, conditional and unconditional, to eligible beneficiaries. Additionally, BISP data is used by many other social development programs/initiatives launched by various provincial governments, donors, INGOs, NGOs and research organizations. More than 40 (see table 14 for list of organizations) other programs/initiatives have benefitted from BISP’s data till date. Most recently, the Prime Minister’s National Health Insurance (PMNHI) & Prime Minister’s Interest Free Loan (PMIFL) schemes and Punjab Social Protection Authority used BISP’s data, for launching their respective initiatives. This registry also covers various demographic characteristics of household. A demographic directory has been prepared using this database.

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Around 22 million children could soon starve without urgent aid: UNICEF warns

UNITED NATIONS: Millions of children are on the brink of starvation in the worst humanitarian crisis in decades, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned Wednesday, urgently calling for nearly $255 million to respond to immediate needs in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

“Time is running out,” UNICEF said, noting the threat from famine, drought and war. Some 22 million children are hungry, sick, displaced and out of school in the four countries, according to the UN agency. Nearly 1.4 million are at imminent risk of death this year from severe malnutrition.

“We learned from Somalia in 2011 that by the time famine was announced, untold numbers of children had already died. That
can’t happen again,” Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes, said.

Famine was declared a month ago in South Sudan, and will likely be declared soon in Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen where fighting has pushed people off their farmland and droughts have destroyed their animals and what is left of crops.

“Children can’t wait for yet another famine declaration before we take action,” Fontaine said.  The UN agency is calling for close to $255 million to provide 22 million children with food, water, health, education and protection services for just the next few months, according to a new funding update.

The majority of that funding will go towards nutrition programmes to screen children and provide them with therapeutic food, as well as health services and water and sanitation.

This request is part of a broader appeal for all of 2017 totaling $712 million, up 50 per cent from what was requested
for these four countries at the same time last year. -APP

BISP: Waseela-e-Sehet Background

BISP launched Health Insurance Scheme called “Waseela-e-Sehet Initiative” in 2010 in Faisalabad district on Pilot basis.

The core objective of Waseela-e-Sehet Pilot Project was to protect the underprivileged and vulnerable population from economic consequences of potential health shocks and steer out of the catastrophic illnesses by providing social assistance through a health insurance.

The insurance covered BISP Beneficiaries of all age groups up to maximum of Rs. 25,000 per family per annum. The package included: (a) Pre-existing diseases, (b) Full hospitalization (24 hours or more) procedures that involve day long indoor treatment, day care surgeries, Maternal and child health (MNCH) package, (c) Diagnostic tests during hospitalization; one day prior and five days after the event and (d) Transportation cost to admitted patients.

BISP signed a Contract Agreement with State Life Insurance Company (SLIC) on 3rd February 2012 for provision of Insurance Services for three years subject to yearly extension based on satisfactory performance.

After completion of three years i.e., from April 2012-15, Faisalabad pilot was granted transitory extension from 16th April to 30th June by Secretary BISP for smooth transfer of Pilot to Punjab Health Insurance Company, as one option, under consideration of BISP Management.

BISP has paid premium accounting to Rs.2250/family/annum for 2012-13, Rs.1800/family/annum for 2013-14 and adjusted from ERF Rs. 1030/family/annum for 2014-15 for said enrolled families and against which the utilization remained 904 (Surgical 283, Med 621), 1672(Surgical 564, Med 1108), and 1758(Surgical 385, Medical 1372) for respective years.

Since the Inception of the Pilot Project; 43,782, 58,688 and 58,688 families have been enrolled in years 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 respectively hereby covering 270,612, 404,551 and 518,586 populations. -BISP

Pakistan Sweet Homes (PSH)

As the name implies, “Pakistan Sweet Homes” mean the children who are living in these centres shall be nice, intelligent and well-groomed.

Pakistan has very rich tradition of providing care to Orphans and children without parental support. Since signing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, Pakistan has taken various initiatives for fulfilling its obligations. PBM Act-1991 (as amended) Clause 4 (d) speaks that the money in the Bait-ul-Mal shall be utilized to provide residential accommodation and necessary facilities to the persons specified in clause-4(a) i.e. destitute and needy widows and orphans etc. throughout the country, having accommodation of 100 Orphan Children (4-6 Years of ages) in each.

Facilities

Resident Children are being provided the following facilities:-

Free furnished accommodation in a family unit.
Free nutritious balanced diet as per weekly menu (breakfast/lunch/dinner).
Free Education in best schools of the city, upto Matric and above
Free Uniform, books and stationary etc
Free Summer/Winter clothing alongwith shoes.
Medical care through government hospitals
Skill development.
Free laundry service.
Prayer Room/ Religious education.
Counseling/Legal Aid for victims of violence and abuse.

Enrolment Criteria

Orphans between 4 to 6 years of age, fulfilling criteria for target group, shall be enrolled preferably on the recommendations of Public Representatives/ Parliamentarians/ Government Functionaries/ Notable Social Workers/ Civil Societies as well as PBM Functionaries. They will be allowed to stay until completion of their education/ skill/ adulthood.

Enrolment Procedure

The guardian of an Orphan between 4 to 6 years of age, shall apply for enrolment in Pakistan Sweet Home (Orphanage) on prescribed application form , available at PBM Offices along-with copy of requisite documents. Applications complete in all respects can be submitted to PBM District Officer, in the district concerned, who will investigate and determine the status of the applicant and forward to Provincial / Regional Office, along with his recommendations. The Incharge (Pakistan Sweet Home) is responsible to keep full track record of the children such as pre-admission biography, listing all the details of the origin and background of the Orphans. This information is of great value for making decision about the children needs and also to give the child a realistic picture of his or heir past, as they grow up.

United Nations in Pakistan organizes event on Transgender rights

“Transgender activists, government representatives, community representatives, diplomats and UN experts gathered on Thursday at the UN Information Centre to discuss the educational, economic and health issues facing the transgender community in Pakistan.

The event was jointly organized by the High Commission of Canada and UN Information Centre and was followed by the screening of documentary “Kumu Hina” which features the real story of Hina Wong-Kalu, a native Hawaiian transgender.

The event was attended by Ambassador of the European Union Jean-Francois Cautain, Resident Coordinator of UN Neil Buhne, Country Director of UNESCO Vibeke Jensen, Country Director UNAIDS Mamadou Sahko, Director UNIC Vittorio Cammarota, corporate sector and community representatives and transgender activists from Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Haripur, Lahore and Peshawar.

The event featured two panel discussions. The first panel focused on education and economic empowerment for the transgender community, while the second panel revolved around healthcare and protection.

Trans community representative Maya Zaman said, “Education is the only way forward to enhance the potential of the community and have their valuable contribution to the economy.” Maya further added, “We need a national action program for all the marginalized communities to engage them for socio economic development and we cannot have economically strong and socially sensitive Pakistan until we achieve full inclusion of all communities, including the trans community.”

Another transgender representative, Anaya Malik said that usually family members are the first ones to abandon transgender people, leaving them vulnerable and unprotected. “The families need to be sensitized so that they accept their children’s identity.”

Speaking on the occasion, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Pakistan, Mr. Neinterviewil Buhne, said that Pakistan is ahead of many other countries in legally recognizing trans people as a third gender but still has a long way to go in recognizing their rights. “They are subjected to harassment and sexual violence. The Social Welfare Department needs to focus on this community as it is the most marginalized, and we need to do more in safeguarding their rights starting
with education, access to health and social protection,” he said.

Perry Calderwood, High Commissioner of Canada said, “I am pleased that we can contribute to the dialogue about transgender rights and empowerment so that transgender Pakistanis can fully participate in this vibrant society.”

Member of the National Commission for Human Rights Ch Muhammad Shafique said that the state provides services according to the demand. “If society raises voice about transgender rights, the state would be compelled to respond and this is a wonderful forum to start that debate,” he said

The Director of United Nations Information Centre Vittorio Cammarota said, like the rest of the world, transgender people in Pakistan face alarmingly high levels of discrimination and stigma, as well as violence, unemployment and poverty. “The aim of this event is to foster a debate on human rights issues that trans people face, and the priority actions required to secure trans people’s right to dignity, education, equality, health and security,” he said.

EU Ambassador to Pakistan Jean-François Cautain drew parallels between the situation of trans genders in EU and Pakistan. “I think on this issue the EU and Pakistan can learn from each other,” he said.

Though officially accepted and even recognized in the identity cards, the transgender community in Pakistan suffers from serious stigma and discrimination. Often rejected by their families, transgender people have very little access to the labour market and proper healthcare. Therefore transgender people end up living in very difficult conditions and are frequently subject to violence in many different ways.” -United Nations

Stop Verbal Abuse!

Violence against women and girls have many faces. Verbal abuse is one form of violence that might not always be visible to others, but can deeply affect a person’s physical and emotional well-being.

Video produced as a collaboration between the Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan, Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy & UN Women Pakistan.

BISP – Waseela-e-Taleem (WeT)

WeT was developed by BISP in consultation with all the programme stakeholders WeT Programme, a Co-responsibility Cash Transfer (CCT) Programme of BISP that was initiated to financially support the primary education of 5 to 12 years old children of BISP beneficiary families for their enrolments and retention. Each beneficiary child receives a cash transfer of PKR 750 per quarter upon meeting the admission verification in 1st quarter and attendance requirement of 70% in subsequent quarters till completion of the primary education. It is part of the Graduation strategy aiming to link the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) to attainment of human development goals. The WeT programme is significantly contributing towards following three Sustainable Development Goals which have been recently signed by Honorable Prime Minister of Pakistan together with world leaders:

SDG 1. End poverty in all its form
SDG 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promotion of lifelong learning opportunity.
SDG 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Waseela-e-Taleem Programme Cycle

WeT Programme was launched in five pilot districts as part of initial test phase, in collaboration with education departments of provinces/regions in November 2012 and it was extended to 27 new districts in January 2015 in all provinces/ regions of Pakistan. WeT programme is currently implemented in 32 districts across the country. Following are the key components of the WeT programme;

Supply Capacity Assessment
Social Mobilization
Registration
Admission and attendance compliance
Case Management
Payment/ Cash Transfer

Workers Welfare Fund (WWF) – Education Programme

Workers Welfare Fund (WWF) has reflected its perpetual commitment by establishing a well-coordinated and harmonious network of schools all over the country during the past years to educate the children of industrial workers, a hardworking but poor segment of society, Through these institutions, WWF is imparting quality education to children in coordination with its provincial counterparts in every nook and corner of the country.

These schools are providing free of cost quality education to the children of workers in a conducive and receptive manner, It may be mentioned that WWF is also establishing a large number of schools in far-flung areas of the country to cater for the emerging needs of working class.

Scholarships

Under this scheme two types of scholarships are offered to the students:-

i) Merit Scholarships
ii) Foreign Scholarships

Merit Scholarships

The Governing Body of WWF in its 38th meeting held on 08-01-1997 launched this scheme so that the children endowed with intellect and intelligence can properly benefit from this scheme, These scholarships have been approved for talented children of workers studying in F.A, F.Sc, upto M,A, M.Sc, besides Medical and Engineering Colleges / Universities. These scholarships are also awarded to those workers who intend to improve their educational qualification / skill.

In the 58th meeting of the Governing Body, WWF, held on 04-11 -2001, another scholarship scheme was launched according to which those children of workers who get admission in prestigious and reputed institutions on merit could also claim tuition fee, hostel charges, books from WWF.

Foreign Scholarships

This scheme was initiated primarily for providing an opportunity to those children of workers who are hardworking and deserve to get higher education from foreign universities.

It was started in 2001 and under this scheme four scholarships, one for each province is approved in the fields of Information Technology, Physical and Biological Sciences and Engineering etc., for M.Phil and Ph.D levels on merit basis, All the expenditures incurred on this scheme is borne by the WWF.

Technical Education

With the progress of modern sciences and industry, technical education is receiving great importance and emphasis in all advanced countries of the world.

In Pakistan there is a need to develop the skills of our manpower to achieve national self sufficiency and to raise the prevailing standard of life. Along with it, we also need to make efforts to develop positive attitudes among the young generation towards manual work and labour, To develop and maintain an industrial community, it is necessary to have manpower trained in a wide range of skills. Basic education and gainful employment is the constitutional rights of every citizen.

Unfortunately, in Pakistan employment situation is alarming and aggravating with passage of time due to high population growth and slow rate of economic development. The lower income particularly the industrial workers and their children are main victims of prevailing unemployment due to lack of their access and opportunities for education and training on account of financial constraints/resources.

Industrial Homes

Vocational training for youth has always been one of the top priorities of Workers’ Welfare Fund, Keeping in view the importance of vocational training, WWF has established Industrial Homes in various parts of the country. Presently training courses like dress designing, knitting, machine/hand embroidery, leatherwork, painting, candle making, pottery, secretariat training are offered at these Industrial Homes. – WWF

PM Nawaz promises of benefits to the poorest women being fulfilled

The door to door survey for NSER update in Thatta and Sujawal was launched today by the Sajada Naseen Bhit Shah Syed Waqar Hussain Latifi in presence of large number of attendees, thus highlighting the importance of National Socio Economic Registry (NSER) and mobilizing public so they may participate and facilitate the survey. While appreciating the commendable services of PM Nawaz Sharif and his team including Ms Marvi Memon for the poor, he said that Marvi is a true follower of teachings of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai as she has devoted her life for the welfare of poor.

While addressing the audience, the Minister of State and Chairperson BISP MNA Marvi Memon said that today we have fulfilled the promise that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif made to people of Thatta when he last came here in 2013 by launching door to door survey in Thatta and Sujawal for NSER update. The new survey is technology based and is being done on tablets to ensure transparency and efficiency.

CEO AASA Consulting Zohair Ashir stated that over 250 staff would be employed to cover the estimated caseload of both districts that is over 300,000 households from Thatta and Sujawal. Training of the staff is underway in both the districts as per plan whereas household listing would begin on 14th Feb followed by the door to door survey on 15th Feb. Process would last five months atleast.

The Chairperson added that survey teams will visit each and every household. All the 5 tehsils, 34 union councils of Thatta and 4 tehsils, 29 Union Councils of Sujawal would be covered on their turn. 100% coverage of households would be ensured during door to door survey. The whole process of door to door survey would be monitored by BISP and Operation Review Firm.

She appreciated the youth especially women of Thatta for coming forward and participating in the new survey. The Chairperson urged the local government and people to facilitate the survey teams so that BISP is able to clinch the top world position as a social safety net in terms of targeting and selection as per the directions of Prime Minister.

The Chairperson said that pilot phase of survey for NSER update is under process that will be completed by August 2017. Desk Registration has been carried out in Haripur, Sukkur, Naseerabad and Bahawalpur whereas door to door survey is being conducted in remaining 12 districts of pilot phase. National roll out would start in September 2017 and would be completed in 2018. -BISP

Guzara Allowance

Guzara allowance is a monthly grant meant for the chronic poor. It aims to safeguard them from hunger which is both cause and manifestation of extreme poverty. Its current monthly rate is Rs. 1000 and is paid by the local Zakat committee of the area of residence of the deserving (mustahiq) person. As of October 2014,  guzara allowance is paid through easy-paisa, which is relatively faster, more convenient and more transparent.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Istehqaq is determined by Local Zakat Committee of the area of permanent residence of the applicant
  2. Adult Muslim, living below poverty level with preference to widows and disabled
  3. Unemployed
  4. Not a habitual beggar

How to Apply

The deserving person can apply to the Chairman, Local Zakat Committee of the area of his/her residence. Local Zakat Committee, keeping in view of the financial condition of the applicant, may determine or reject his/her Istehqaq. Guzara allowance is paid  via Telenor easy-paisa.

Use this form : Guzara Allowance Form

As shared in http://www.zakat.gop.pk/guzaraallowance

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