Islamabad-World Learning (WL) and Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) signed an MoU on Tuesday. The objective is to provide skill development and employment opportunities to BISP beneficiaries under the umbrella of the USAID funded Advancing Girls Education and Skills (AGES) Program implemented by WL. AGES is a four-year initiative with a mission to provide access to education and skills training to girls to empower them economically. Through this initiative, World Learning will identify and enroll up to 6000 out of school BISP beneficiaries between the ages of 10 to 19 years in either formal schools or AGES supported Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) schools and centers. An important component of this collaboration is the mentorship program, which would be implemented in 8 districts. Communities will be provided access to models of successful women in various fields in life. BISP and World Learning will work in collaboration to help BISP beneficiaries in acquiring demand driven skills and creating linkages between skilled women and employers.

Secretary BISP Omar Hamid Khan said, “BISP’s focus is primarily on women and this is the first initiative where the focus is on both - access to education and skills training for girls. This initiative looks very promising and we look forward to supporting World Learning in their efforts through our data, research and past experience. I have a very positive feeling while signing this MoU and I am certain we can do brilliant work together”.

Director General Complimentary Initiative BISP Sajid Baloch said, “Women and youth are a shared area for BISP and World Learning so we are very passionate to work together. The pilot project with AGES, we will cover 8 of Pakistan including Swat, Buner Peshawar, Muzaffargarh, Ghotki, Jacobabad, Karachi and Lasbela. It’s a well spread out plan including lesser developed areas where enrollment campaigns will be carried out. Further, we are hoping to use communication and advocacy to increase access to formal education and skills for BISP beneficiaries”.

World Learning Country Director Nadya Karim-Shaw said, “BISP and the USAID-supported Advancing Girls Education and Skills project, implemented by World Learning, have identified several areas for sustainable and collaborative activities that will benefit the education and vocational training of girls and young women aged 10-25. This MOU also highlights our commitment to the Government of Pakistan’s polices for our youth. World Learning is very excited about its partnership with BISP and the potential for transforming lives and futures together, through cost-effective and high-quality education, skills, and mentoring support”.  World Learning works globally to enhance the capacity and commitment of individuals, institutions and communities to create a more peaceful, just world through education, sustainable development and exchange. World Learning has implemented projects in Pakistan since 2013, from basic education to systems strengthening and people-to-people exchanges.

World Learning’s current Pakistan portfolio has active projects through 2021.  World Learning is leading USAID’s Advancing Girls Education and Skills (AGES) consortium, a four year initiative to increase access to education and skills training for 140,000 girls while cultivating an enabling environment that supports more young women in schools, at work, and in their communities.