ISLAMABAD: The government’s social protection programme Ehsaas has been especially designed to ensure empowerment of underprivileged women, Senator Dr Sania Nishtar told participants of the Afghanistan-Pakistan bilateral dialogue here on Tuesday.

Speaking as chief guest, Ms Nishtar stressed on the importance of socio-economic mainstreaming of women both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Reiterating Pakistan’s resolve to empower underprivileged women, she said, “More than three-quarters of Ehsaas benefits go to women and girls under Ehsaas”.

She further highlighted that all 12 million beneficiaries of Ehsaas cash this year are women. “In addition to the Ehsaas Education Stipends, Ehsaas Nashonuma, which provides specialised nutritional food and cash transfers to mothers and their children under two years to prevent stunting also has a higher stipend policy for the girl child.

“Similarly, Ehsaas interest free loans for poverty graduation aims to impact 14.7 million vulnerable people in four years with half of them women”, she said.

Delegates from Afghanistan said they will cooperate on various aspects of common aspirations in poverty reduction and women empowerment.

The conference titled ‘Women for Peace Initiative - Road to An Inclusive Future’ was organised by a local think tank, Regional Peace Institute (RPI). Others who attended the conference were head of RPI Raoof Hasan, Ambassador of Norway Per Albert Ilsaas, United Nations Women Country Representative for Pakistan Sharmeela Rassool.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2021

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