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Small interventions and innovative solutions can help the poverty-stricken people improve to the next level in socio-economic ladder, the experts at an international conference held here on Wednesday said. The conference titled 'Beyond Action, Towards Transformation' was organised by the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF).

The third international conference focused on research works and developing further dimensions over poverty alleviation, and also assessed how PPAF's interventions for the poor have led to transforming lives and communities in the country. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, Dr Sania Nishtar said the deliberations of the conference would help the government navigate the impact of the Poverty Graduation Programme on a national scale.

She added that the Poverty Graduation Program would help provide the vulnerable segments of society with livelihoods and social protection to become self-reliant. "The government in the battle for greater social and economic equality is constantly striving towards this goal and aims to enhance the process of transformation of livelihood of the vulnerable segments of society," she said, adding, "Under the ambit of Ehsaas, the government envisions to empower millions across Pakistan by laying greater emphasis on asset transfer."

The speakers highlighted that poverty graduation means move over from level to another at the poverty score card. The Poverty Scorecard for Pakistan has been developed by the World Bank as a tool to measure change in poverty in an effective way and to support the management of development programmes that focus on alleviating poverty.

There are various parameters for determining each level at the score card, such as the scorecard 0-11 weights are extremely poor, those in the range of 12-18 are chronically poor, 19-23 are transitory poor, 24-34 are transitory vulnerable, 35-50 are transitory non-poor and people in the range of 51-100 are non-poor.

CEO PPAF Qazi Azmat Isa said that based on World Bank guidelines, PPAF's experience of implementing the poverty scorecard were being used to identify people in different categories. He expressed the confidence that the outcome of International Conference on Research and Learning would help the PPAF to provide the poorest of poor the opportunities and support to attain economic stability.

Dr Imran Rasul, Professor of Economics at University College London, presented findings on asset versus cash transfers as sustainable option for ultra-poor. He said, "Structural inequalities and macroeconomic trends impact strongly on poverty, in order to move people out of the cycle of poverty and induct them into cycle of prosperity it is imperative for them to be financially independent, asset building is a key step towards this approach."

The conference discussed how poverty graduation approach could extend to supporting the rural eco-system by creating opportunities for households to link up to value chains and local markets. Hubert Boirard, Country Programme Manager Pakistan, International Fund for Agricultural Development, also addressed the gathering.

Samia Liaquat Ali Khan, Senior Group Head Graduation Group and Programme Director National Poverty Graduation Programme at PPAF said the focus on graduation and institution building lead to transformation for the vulnerable segments. The key objective of the two-day international conference is to learn from both successes and failures of various projects while showcasing the diverse work of PPAF and its partner organisations.

The goal of conference was to create prolific opportunities for further collaboration between various institutes, giving way to productive and extensive research work and eventually translating into more apt and sustainable policies and actions.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019


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