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President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday emphasised that all institutions should work collectively to bring forth positive changes by alleviating poverty from the country. While addressing a seminar titled "Poverty Alleviation in Pakistan: Learning from Success Stories" here, the President said Ehsaas Programme launched by the PTI government is a significant step towards poverty alleviation through vocational training of the people and empowering the women.
Arif Alvi said bringing improvement in education and health sectors, and eradicating corruption and poverty are major challenges.
He highlighted the importance of poverty alleviation in his speech and gave very touching examples from his personal life on how he engaged with the poor and marginalized communities.
The President also stressed for sensitising the opinion-makers including the media and the Parliament regarding the poverty alleviation.
He said there is also need to create awareness amongst people about the government's poverty alleviation programme.
Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood said that Ehsaas is a collaborative programme and Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training has its own targets under the programmatic framework.
He shared that his ministry is working very closely with special assistant to the PM on social protection and poverty alleviation. Furthermore, he talked about the importance of skill building, literacy, one curriculum and out of school children as important end points under Ehsaas.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Sania Nishtar in her opening remarks on the occasion said that social protection and poverty alleviation is the foremost priority of the Prime Minister and therefore, Ehsaas Programme is a well-timed step in Pakistan's quest for alleviating poverty. In order to expedite the implementation of Ehsaas, the Prime Minister is driving the programme himself. This social safety and poverty alleviation programme will help bring prosperity for the marginalized and deprived segments of Pakistani society, she added.
The programme's main target is to ensure one-window-social-welfare, she maintained.
She shared that "knowledge and thought partnerships" are very crucial for results-based implementation of Ehsaas framework and that there is no need to reinvent the wheel when the capacity already exists within the government and state system. Hence, Ehsaas wishes to draw on these prevailing knowledge competences, she said.
Appreciating the work of Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), she added that ISSI has broadened its mandate by including dimensions of human security and traditional security paradigm and it is an extremely important decision. And human security, poverty alleviation, social security, social protection and safety nets have shared agendas. She said that Ehsaas Programme looks forward to exploring ways of collaborating with ISSI, especially in its capacity as the convener of civil society think tanks in Pakistan.
She encouraged such activities while saying the purpose is to find ways and means to facilitate policymakers and experts on addressing the issue of poverty through a well-rounded intellectual discourse.
The event brought together a core group of experts and officials from philanthropic and government organisations including Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, National Rural Support Programme and Akhuwat Foundation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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