ISLAMABAD - The Benazir Income Support Programme and Karandaaz Pakistan Tuesday entered into an agreement under which the latter would support the BISP’s efforts to catalyse economic empowerment of its beneficiaries.

In follow up of a last week meeting between the BISP and the delegation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), BISP and Karandaaz Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU). Under the MoU, Karandaaz will support BISP’s efforts to catalyse economic empowerment of its beneficiaries. This will be achieved through joint efforts of Karandaaz and BISP for closing the 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 programmes 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 programmes 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 event, Omar Hamid, Secretary BISP said, “The partnership will help us identify opportunities for policy interventions and improvement of BISP’s internal processes and systems, through digitisation and re-design. We are committed to development of product features and delivery mechanisms for high-impact use cases that empower women, including private savings, health and education spending, employment opportunities, savings group and livelihood activities that could be subsequently integrated into the BISP existing or new programs.”

Speaking at the occasion, Ali Sarfraz, CEO Karandaaz Pakistan said, “The economic empowerment effects of social protection programmes 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.”