ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A Consultative Workshop on the Research Strategy was held under the umbrella of Ehsaas with the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar in the Chair.
In the workshop, a draft research strategy was presented for inputs and was finalized.
The workshop discussed the broad contours of a three-year research strategy for Ehsaas that will provide the framework for all research-related activities aimed at improving the effectiveness of wider safety net operations.
Speaking to the workshop participants, Dr. Sania Nishtar said, “There are three pillars of Ehsaas Research Strategy. The first pillar is the use of quantitative and qualitative data for information and evidence so that quick operational decisions can be made to of Ehsaas operations. In this regard, regular program reviews, field observations, spot checks, and reviews of documents (such as audit reports and fiduciary risk assessments), use of data analytics, and use of business intelligence tools on automated digital information pipelines are critical for decision making. Real-time evaluations of new programs also help to improve decision making, especially for new programs.”
The second category she said, comprises of more structured impact, process, and formative evaluations which are embedded in various programmes.
Dr. Sania Nishtar then continued, “The third pillar of research is where Ehsaas wants to broker better partnerships with academic institutions to outline its research priorities and to expose anonymized data and its operations in the field to create a win-win situation on both ends. By outlining research priorities, Ehsaas will have the opportunity to mobilize hundreds of Ph.D. and master’s level students to conduct research that is of relevance to Ehsaas. On the other hand, researchers will have access to information and data which they would not have otherwise.”
“This would help to bridge the information evidence to policy and operations gap to improve Ehsaas delivery”, she concluded.
The participants included Dr. Ashfaque Hassan Khan, Dean and Principal NUST School of Social Sciences & Humanities; Knut Ostby, UNDP Resident Representative; Omer Bin Zia, Senior Project Officer, Asian Development Bank; Dr. Ali Salman, Executive Director, Policy Research Institute of Market Economy, Dr. Aliya, Economist, Quaid-e-Azam University; and Dr. Zahid Asghar, Director School of Economics, Quaid e Azam University. Senior representatives from PIDE, Lahore School of Economics, Asian Development Bank, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Social Policy and Development Center also joined the workshop.
From Ehsaas, Secretary Ismat Tahira, DG Naveed Akbar, DG Noor Rehman, and DG Tariq Mehmood were also present on the occasion.
The recently established Policy and Research Unit will serve as the focal point for coordinating the implementation of the Ehsaas Research Strategy.