The Ehsaas Program is an initiative by Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan to reduce poverty and protect vulnerable families in Pakistan. Therefore, the World Bank’s Executive Board approved $ 600 million in funding from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Crisis Resilient Social Protection Program (CRISP) which will support Pakistan to expand its Ehsaas.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of families across Pakistan face economic difficulties, especially workers in the informal sector. They have no savings to compete in these situations.
World Bank Director Najy Benhassine, speaking about the project, said: “This investment will allow the Ehsaas program to develop a more efficient and adaptable social protection system for crises and resilience to future shocks.”
“In the event of a crisis, a more flexible and dynamic social protection system can significantly reduce the time needed to respond to people’s needs, as well as support a faster recovery,” said Amjad Zafar Khan, Task Team Leader for Resilience a Crises social protection program.
According to the details, CRISP will facilitate the gradual expansion of Ehsaas social protection programs to better reach informal workers through a hybrid and innovative approach that combines social assistance with the promotion of greater savings than informal workers, especially women, who may depend on the event of economic shocks. It will provide a platform through which the government can respond quickly to support the most affected families during an economic crisis.
CRISP will also improve the capacity of the social registry to maintain accurate and up-to-date household data and exchange data between social programs while offering greater choice to beneficiaries in biometric payment systems.
It will also help Pakistan to cope with the long-term impacts on human capital caused by the pandemic, resulting from the loss of medical and health services and a substantial loss of education due to the prolonged absence from schools.
To help in preventing losses in the accumulation of human resources, which is critical to long-term resilience, CRISP leverages two existing Ehsaas programs that provide conditional cash transfers (CCTs) to eligible families. This includes Waseela-e-Taleem, a CCT program linked to primary school assistance, and also Nashonuma, a CCT program with a focus on nutrition aimed at improving infant and maternal health, which will benefit more than three million families all around the world.