ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Ehsaas Nashonuma Steering Committee reviewed the results of an independent evaluation conducted by Agha Khan University.
The Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting.
The purpose of the research conducted was to understand how Ehsaas Nashonuma had influenced the health and wellbeing of beneficiaries along with the enabling and impeding factors related to the uptake of the Ehsaas Nashonuma, the process, outcomes, and the flow of operations.
The evidence from the evaluation is critical to decide about the upscaling of Ehsaas Nashonuma, and impact evaluation of the combination of conditional cash transfers with specialized nutritional food had already been conducted prior to the commencement of Ehsaas Nashonuma as a pilot project in 15 districts where 50 centers are now operational.
The results were highly encouraging; the findings are supportive of the program’s focus on marginalized women, their financial empowerment, and improved dietary knowledge.
The evaluation specifies considerable buy-in by beneficiaries and a smooth and transparent process of Ehsaas Nashonuma implementation.
The report highlighted how the program facilitated access to healthcare utilization and improved diets for beneficiary women and their children and how the rule-based procedures were followed for identification of beneficiaries and dispatching of diet and conditional cash transfer.
99.37% of beneficiary women reported satisfaction from Nashonuma services provided to them during their pregnancy as well as those extended to their children for their growth and wellbeing.
Speaking to the press, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “The program will be upscaled nationwide to all districts in this fiscal year.”
The Steering Committee was attended by provincial representatives and members of the international development community.
The DG-KP, Special Secretaries from Punjab, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) appreciated the program and validated the on-ground impact from their insights.
Some important recommendations were made with regard to the revised design which will be used in the scale-up particularly with reference to the introduction of mobile units and they need to emphasize on awareness creation.
There was also a strong recommendation to increase the size of the Nashonuma cash stipend.
Currently, the Ehsaas Nashonuma provides Rs 1,500 for boys and Rs. 2,000 for girls and the recommendation was to increase the stipend amounts which the Steering Committee approved.
“Ehsaas Nashonuma will be integrated with all One Window Ehsaas Centers,” Dr. Sania Nishtar said.
The program is critical to address the issue of stunting in children as according to the national nutrition survey 40 out of 100 children in Pakistan are stunted. Therefore, Ehsaas Nashonuma, the conditional cash transfer program will play an important role in building human capital.