Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) under its National Poverty Graduation Programme (NPGP) held a research launch and learning event to assess the impacts of recent economic shifts on the poor. This study measures the economic consequences of COVID-19 pandemic, locusts attacks and floods on vulnerable households in Pakistan. The event was followed by panel discussions by industry experts to lead a dialogue on actionable policies and programmes in Pakistan.
The research report titled, ‘Assessing Impacts of Macroeconomic Shifts on Microeconomy of Pakistan's Poor & Ultra-Poor Households’ aims to advance the relevant knowledge base for the government and the development sector. The study shows a significant impact of COVID-19 on the economic conditions of the rural poor. In a survey of 423 households across all provinces, the study showed a 10% decline in overall household expenses during the lockdowns, with per capital expense on food dropping by 7%. The most significant trend noted was the 71% decline in household expenditure on education, followed by a 17% decline in health expenditure.
Ms Samia Liaquat Ali Khan, Senior Group Head – Graduation Group and Programme Director, National Poverty Graduation Programme at PPAF, provided an overview of the programme in her welcome address. She said,
“Under the NPGP programme which is part of Ehsaas Amdan, we have so far transferred 74,000 productive assets across 21 poorest districts in Pakistan. I believe that our long-term consistent efforts can lead to the kind of transformation in the lives of the poor that we aspire to see. This data presented today will feed into our programming and will help the communities in developing localised business plans for setting up sustainable livelihoods.”
The first panel discussion focused on ‘Creating New Livelihoods: Post-COVID Impacts on Youth’ underscoring the urgency of placing youth at the front and centre of Pakistan’s policy and development discourse. The discussion was chaired by Ms Samia Liaqat, Group Head-Graduation at PPAF, and featured panellists from the industry including, Ms Fatima Mazhar Chief Operating Officer COLABS, Dr Rashid Bajwa Chief Executive Officer, NRSP, Ms Shua Khalid Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Atomcamp and Ms Nazil Danish Creative Strategist, Eikon7.
The 2nd panel titled “Adapting for Change - Challenges for Women in a Fast-Changing Economic Environment’ stressed on inclusion of women, especially rural women, in the current economic landscape to achieve prosperity. The panel was chaired by Ms Syeda Shehrbano Kazim Chief of Staff, Cheetay and featured panellists from the industry including Ms Sidra Amin Programs Lead, i2i, Ms Wardah Noor Founder, KhudKaar, Mr Favad Soomro Head Engro Foundation, Mr Allah Nawaz Samoo Chief Executive Officer, TRDP.
Mr Amir Naeem, Senior Group Head, Financial Management and Corporate Affairs at PPAF thanked the participants and the distinguished panellists for the insightful discussion. While addressing the audience, he expressed PPAF’s long-standing commitment to action research to bridge the gap between the development sector and that of research.
Research scholars, national and international speakers, representatives from the Government of Pakistan, academia, donor agencies, civil society, media and PPAF partner organizations attended the event.
By sharing the results of all the ongoing and completed research studies, NPGP enriched the existing literature on development work within the country. Simultaneously contributing to promoting and enactment of pro-poor & climate-resilient poverty reduction policies and dialogues through evidence-based research.
Ms Samia Liaquat Ali Khan Senior Group Head Graduation Group and Programme Director NPGP chairing panel discussion ‘Creating New Livelihoods: Post-COVID Impacts on Youth’.