Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), under its National Poverty Graduation Programme (NPGP), held a research launch and learning event to assess the impacts of recent economic shifts on the poor.
This study measures the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, locusts attacks, and floods on vulnerable households in Pakistan.
The event was followed by panel discussions by industry experts to lead a dialogue on actionable policies and programmes in Pakistan.
The research report titled, ‘Assessing Impacts of Macroeconomic Shifts on Microeconomy of Pakistan’s Poor & Ultra-Poor Households,’ aims to advance the relevant knowledge base for the government and the development sector. The study shows a significant impact of COVID-19 on the economic conditions of the rural poor. In a survey of 423 households across all provinces, the study showed a 10 percent decline in overall household expenses during the lockdowns, with per capital expense on food dropping by 7 percent.
The most significant trend noted was the 71 percent decline in household expenditure on education, followed by a 17 percent decline in health expenditure. Samia Liaquat Ali Khan, Senior Group Head – Graduation Group and Programme Director National Poverty Graduation Programme at PPAF, provided an overview of the program in her welcome address. She said,
Under the NPGP program, which is part of Ehsaas Amdan, we have so far transferred 74,000 productive assets across the 21 poorest districts in Pakistan. I believe that our long-term consistent efforts can lead to the kind of transformation in the lives of the poor that we aspire to see. This data presented today will feed into our programming and will help the communities in developing localized business plans for setting up sustainable livelihoods.
The first panel discussion focused on ‘Creating New Livelihoods: Post-COVID Impacts on Youth,’ underscoring the urgency of placing youth at the front and center of Pakistan’s policy and development discourse. The discussion was chaired by Ms. Samia Liaqat, Group Head-Graduation at PPAF, and featured panelists from the industry, including, Ms. Fatima Mazhar, Chief Operating Officer COLABS, Dr. Rashid Bajwa, Chief Executive Officer NRSP, Ms. Shua Khalid, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Atomcamp, and Ms. Nazil Danish, Creative Strategist Eikon7.
The 2nd panel, titled ‘Adapting for Change – Challenges for Women in a Fast-Changing Economic Environment,’ stressed on inclusion of women, especially rural women, in the current economic landscape to achieve prosperity. The panel was chaired by Syeda Shehrbano Kazim, Chief of Staff at Cheetay, and featured panelists from the industry, including Sidra Amin, Programs Lead i2i, Wardah Noor, Founder KhudKaar, Kiran Afzal, Private Sector Development Specialist at World Bank Group, Favad Soomro, Head Engro Foundation, and Allah Nawaz Samoo, Chief Executive Officer TRDP.
Amin Naeem, Senior Group Head Financial Management and Corporate Affairs at PPAF, thanked the participants and the distinguished panelists for the insightful discussion. While addressing the audience, he expressed PPAF’s long-standing commitment to action research to bridge the gap between the development sector and the research sector.
Research scholars, national and international speakers, representatives from the Government of Pakistan, academia, donor agencies, civil society, media, and PPAF partner organizations attended the event.
By sharing the results of all the ongoing and completed research studies, NPGP enriched the existing literature on development work within the country. Simultaneously, contributing to promoting and enactment of pro-poor & climate-resilient poverty reduction policies and dialogues through evidence-based research.
The National Poverty Graduation Programme (NPGP) is a flagship initiative contributing to Ehsaas Amdan, supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Pakistan, with the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) as the implementing partner. The programme is designed to catalyze change at the grassroots to uplift 3.2 million poorest households from poverty and set them on a course of economic and social prosperity through tried and tested graduation approach comprising elements of social mobilization, livelihood development, and financial inclusion.
It draws on the most relevant aspects to deliver results by combining support for immediate needs with longer-term human capital and asset investments to move households out of extreme poverty and into sustainable livelihoods. More information about this programme can be solicited from its website: www.ppaf.org.pk/NPGP/.