ISLAMABAD - Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to implement Poverty Graduation Strategy across Pakistan.

In total, 320,000 households representing over two million individuals will be the beneficiaries of this partnership. The main intervention will also include social mobilization and the beneficiaries will be identified by using the tool of Poverty Score Card.

The collaboration between both the institutions ensures mutual cooperation for joint ventures to graduate the poor, especially living in extreme poverty zones of the country.  As per this MOU, the cooperation will include efforts for alleviating poverty through joint efforts.

The poverty graduation model will cost around $130.98million for three main components i.e. Asset Creation, Interest Free Credit and Training of Livelihood. The National Poverty Graduation Programme (NPGP) allows distribution of assets to 156,240 households in 372 Union Councils across the country.

Speaking on the occasion, BISP Chairperson Marvi Memon said "We are looking forward to this collaboration and hope to achieve the SDG indicators against poverty."

She said that the fresh National Socio-Economic Registry(NSER)  data of completed pilot districts will be provided for this programme as well.  She hoped that it will help in achieving the goal of BISP for its beneficiaries to graduate them out of poverty.

In collaboration with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)  and Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) is implementing National Poverty Graduation Programme (NPGP) in 17 districts across Pakistan.

NPGP aims to assist the ultra-poor and very poor in graduating out of poverty on a sustainable basis; simultaneously improving their overall food security, nutritional status and resilience to climate change.

Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO PPAF said "We're trying to ensure gender component through this programme while focusing marginalized and vulnerable segments of society for graduating out of poverty." He added that until now 77 countries around the world have adopted graduation strategy and among those, PPAF is introducing this innovative strategy for poverty graduation.

PPAF will utilize BISP's NSER data to support BISP beneficiaries for graduating out of poverty through its financial services, assets transfers and investment opportunities. A number of other avenues will be explored jointly to enhance beneficiaries' potential for improving the entrepreneurship skills.

Simi Kamal, Senior Group Head, PPAF hoped that this partnership will be helpful for achieving the indicators and particular development goals for poverty.

Under Asset Creation, 156,240 households that have demonstrated potential for employment or entrepreneurial competencies will be provided with a package of average amount of $467 with a total cost of $73.53 million.

The Interest Free Credit will be funded through PPAF's own micro-finance (interest free) loan portfolio and support both eligible non-poor and poor in the target communities and leverage non-interest bearing products. This intervention will be made through $50.08 million. The key areas of scale and innovation will be facilitation of rural and value chain finance, promoting entrepreneurial activities and capacity building.

Under Training of Livelihood and IFL, beneficiaries of asset creation and interest free credit will receive trainings on financial literacy and enterprise development to enable them to maximize the benefits from the given assets and interest free loans with a total cost of $7.19million.