After remarkably empowering women, BISP is evaluating different poverty graduation models to make its beneficiaries self reliant. BISP is going to evaluate poverty graduation success stories, utilize its strong beneficiary network to understand beneficiary needs and would come up with a model tailored to the needs of BISP beneficiaries. This was stated by Minister of State and Chairperson BISP MNA Marvi Memon while speaking in a seminar “International perspective on graduation: What works for moving poor people out of poverty” at BISP headquarters today.

During the seminar, DFID Chief Economist Stefan Dercon gave a talk on poverty graduation highlighting the pre-requisites for the selection of best poverty graduation model. The seminar was attended by Country Head DFID Joanna Reid, Finbarr Curran Country Director WFP, Rashid Bajwa CEO NRSP, Muhammad Riaz General Manager PPAF, Kashif Saeed Policy Analyst PSPA, Gul Najam Jami World Bank, Munir Ahmed Abro Asian Development Bank (ADB) , Yasmin Masood Secretary BISP, representatives from development partners World Bank, DFID , ADB and BISP officials.

Country Head DFID Joanna Reid, in her opening remarks said that DFID’s mission is to end extreme poverty by extending sustainable development opportunities to the marginalized people. BISP services for the poor women are exemplary.  As BISP has access to the most vulnerable women, cost effective solutions providing economic opportunities through its platform would greatly help women graduate out of poverty.

DFID Chief Economist Stefan Dercon said that social safety nets help poor live a decent life. A successful poverty graduation initiative targets the most deserving, helps them make right choices and results in sustainable gain. The graduation initiatives must be designed keeping in view the local context and market needs. These initiatives can bring a transformational change only if they are able to grant marginalized segments stakes in the society. He also elaborated graduation initiatives of Bangladesh and Kenya.

Chairperson BISP reiterated that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has keen interest in graduation of BISP beneficiaries. Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar has announced special package for the graduation of BISP beneficiaries in budget. Under this package, cash grants worth Rs 50,000 would be given to 250,000 BISP families, thus enabling them adopt a sustainable livelihood for themselves.

An interactive session followed the talk. The participants discussed the contours of a good graduation strategy and delved into its requirements, cost, targets and outcome. It was highlighted that a good strategy is designed after defining the exact meaning of poverty graduation. Skill development trainings, understanding of local market needs and adequate funds provision form the pillars of a good graduation strategy. It was highlighted that there can be no universal poverty graduation model. The best model is the one that satisfies the local needs and is tailored to the requirements of the target population. Urbanization, itself is a poverty graduation approach and investment in human capital development helps alleviate poverty.

In her closing remarks, Secretary BISP Yasmin Masood thanked all the participants and said that we need to engage and encourage poor, to enable them break the vicious cycle of poverty.