News Analysis |
The launching ceremony of the ‘Rural Sales Program’ was held on Friday, by the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) in collaboration with Nestlé Pakistan. The event was attended by BISP chairperson Marvi Memon, BISP Federal Secretary Omar Hamid Khan, Country Director World Bank Patchamuthu Illangovan, and Nestle Pakistan Managing Director Bruno Olierhoek.
The ceremony commenced with an opening address by BISP FS Omar Hamid Khan. He highlighted the achievements of the BISP, stating that it is the largest social safety net in the whole of South Asia. BISP has more than 5.7 million beneficiaries and is one of the very few women-centric initiatives. He said that government funding is not the only solution and private sector needs to come forward to support the government.
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‘Through the ‘Rural Sales Program’ women are literally graduating out of poverty,’ Mr. Omar stated. 250 beneficiaries have graduated so far through this program. Followed by him, the Country Director of World Bank, Patchamuthu Illangovan, took the stage. He stated that women employment is very low and closing the gender gap would increase production by 30% and for that, public-private partnership is vital.
Nestle Pakistan Managing Director, Bruno Olierhoek, while addressing the ceremony, shared his experience working in Africa and highlighted the power of collaboration between the government and private organizations. Bruno explained that the ‘Rural Sales Program’ is a Creating Shared Value (CSV) project rather than a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project. CSV is about creating values, opening new markets and tapping into unexplored potential.
The program is helping, to date, more than 250 beneficiaries across 12 districts of Punjab and Sindh. They are working as ‘Rural Sales Agents’ of Nestlé which helps both the women and Nestle.
“The problems the world faces today can only be addressed through cooperation and collaboration. We can no longer afford to work in silos, be it the private sector, non-profit or the government. Public and private partnerships are addressing key development challenges across the globe. These initiatives are also helping achieve the UN Sustainable development Goals 1 and 5; No Poverty and Gender Equality,” applauded Mr. Bruno Olierhoek.
The chairperson of BISP, Marvi Memon, took the stage towards the end of the ceremony. While sharing her experience with the project stated that it has actually worked as she went on the ground to see it herself. ‘The program gives women extra income, dignity and meaning to life,’ she stated. Commending Nestlé’s effort in the project, she asked other corporate heads to learn from them and take part in similar initiatives.
“I am very proud of this partnership. BISP beneficiaries receive Rs. 4,834 every quarter, those who are part of this program are now earning up to Rs.10, 000 per month on average!” Ms. Marvi exclaimed.
She also announced that she is writing a book about her experience with the BISP which will be out very soon. Memon applauded the beneficiaries for their strength and resolve to make a living for themselves. The launch event was attended by senior government officials, ambassadors and media. The launch event concluded with a recognition ceremony for BISP beneficiaries.