Ehsaas policy framework recognises work of rural women: Nishtar 

Peshawar – Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Dr Sania Nishtar, while addressing a webinar to mark International Women’s Day on Monday, presented the Ehsaas Programme vision which was benefiting millions across the country with a special focus on women and girls.  

Addressing the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations webinar, she said that more than 50% of Ehsaas Programmes were benefiting women and girls. She said a new initiative was also approved under Ehsaas to give graduation stipends to girls who graduate from fifth grade which aimed at improving retention of girls in schools.  

Talking about Ehsaas ecosystem and how it deals with agriculture and food systems, she said that the Ehsaas policy framework and strategy explicitly recognises the work of rural women involved in agriculture. 

“There are specific welfare initiatives to improve the livelihoods of tenant farmers. There is another policy under the Ehsaas framework that aims to build an agriculture value chain prepared in consultation with FAO,” she said. 

The event was attended by speakers from WFP, IFAD, UN Women, Japan International Cooperation Agency, CIMMYT, Foreign Commonwealth Development Office and Pakistan Agriculture Research Council. 

Dr Sania said food systems were gaining importance globally and in Pakistan, especially with the upcoming Global Food Systems Summit during this year. She said that transforming our food systems was central to our efforts for achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

 “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the fragility and inequalities of our food system, which is affecting women and girls,” she added. 

Addressing the webinar, FAO Representative in Pakistan said that communities within food systems were critical to global development and development within Pakistan. 

She said that financial equality, equality of empowerment, equality of opportunity and the equality of the right to benefit from the outputs of food systems was necessary for the development impact and achievement of the SDGs.  

She further said that 2021 was the year of transformation and we needed collective efforts to empower women socially, financially, economically and nutritionally. “We need support throughout this year to champion women’s role in food systems within the country and globally as well,” she said. 


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