Acknowledging the importance of the Ehsaas program in Pakistan, Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan worth $603 million.
A statement of the Asian Development Bank says that the amount will finance to strengthen and expand the social protection network and for the reduction of poverty in the country. The Bank would provide a regular loan of $600 million and a $3 million grant from the Asian Development Fund.
Yevgeniy Zhukov, the Bank’s Director-General for Central and West Asia said, “The programme marks a significant shift in ADB’s strategic engagement in the social protection space in Pakistan in line with Ehsaas priorities. The ADB’s support will transition from unconditional cash transfer that provides income support to a mixed-modality approach that focuses more on conditional supplies that will help reduce international poverty through human capital development.”
The funds would be used to improve access to primary and secondary education up to grade 10 for children and adolescents of poor families, particularly girls, and increase health services and nutrition for women, adolescent girls, and poor children.
This support of ADB for Ehsaas would be used to start coverage of accelerated learning programmes at the primary education level for overage children who have left the school for different reasons.
Meanwhile, Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation said, “ADB is a trusted and longstanding partner. This programme is the result of years of engagement with the Asian Bank and other partners and focuses on areas where we believe the bank can have the most impact. It is a key priority under the government’s Ehsaas strategy.”
Under this programme, institutional capacity for social protection and climate resilience would be strengthened. The aid is to fight poverty and elevate the status of the excluded and deprived families, particularly women through an integrated, responsive, and effective social protection programme. It is relevant to mention that during Covid-19, Asian Development Bank had provided $200 million.