ISLAMABAD: Experts at an international conference held on Wednesday said small interventions and innovative solutions could help poverty stricken people improve their socio-economic condition.

The conference titled ‘Beyond Action, Towards Transformation’ was organised on Wednesday by the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF).

The third international conference focused on research works and developing further dimensions over poverty alleviation, and also assessed how PPAF’s interventions for the poor have led to transforming lives and communities in the country.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Dr Sania Nishtar said the deliberations at the conference would help the government in determining the impact of the poverty graduation programme across the country.

She said the programme would help provide the vulnerable segments of society with livelihoods and social protection to become self-reliant.

“The government in the battle for greater social and economic equality is constantly striving towards this goal and aims to enhance the process of transformation of livelihood of the vulnerable segments of the society,” she said adding, “Under the ambit of Ehsaas Programme the government plans to empower millions of people across Pakistan by laying greater emphasis on asset transfer.”

The speakers highlighted that poverty graduation means moving over from one level to another at the poverty score card.

The poverty scorecard for Pakistan has been developed by the World Bank as a tool to measure change in poverty in an effective way and to support the management of development programmes that focus on alleviating poverty.

There are various parameters for determining each level at the score card, such as the scorecard 0 -11 weights are extremely poor, those in the range of 12- 18 are chronically poor, 19-23 are transitory poor, 24-34 are transitory vulnerable, 35-50 are transitory non-poor and people in the range of 51-100 are non-poor.

Poverty alleviation fund CEO Qazi Azmat Isa said that based on World Bank guidelines, the fund’s experience of implementing the poverty scorecard, are being used to identify people in different categories.

Professor of Economics at University College London Dr Imran Rasul presented findings on Asset vs Cash transfer as sustainable option for ultra-poor.

International Fund for Agricultural Development Country Programme Manager Hubert Boirard said for sustainable poverty graduation the deployment of appropriate safety nets and creation of sustainable livelihood opportunities were essential.

The key objective of the two-day international conference is to learn from both successes and failures of various projects while showcasing the diverse work of PPAF and its partner organisations.

Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2019