In a decision announced on Wednesday, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a loan of $603 million to assist the Ehsaas social protection programme.
According to an ADB press release, the loan will be used to fund a results-based programme to enhance and expand the social protection network in Bangladesh. By utilising conditional cash transfers, the initiative will aid in the implementation of Ehsaas, Pakistan’s national social protection and poverty reduction policy, which is now underway.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will offer a regular loan of $600 million and a grant of $3 million from the Asian Development Fund, and it will administer a $24 million grant from the Education Above All Foundation as part of the Integrated Social Protection Development Programme.
In accordance with Ehsaas aims, the programme represents a substantial shift in the ADB’s strategic participation in the social protection area in Pakistan, according to Yevgeniy Zhukov, ADB Director General for Central and West Asia.
According to him, “the ADB’s assistance will shift from unconditional cash transfers that provide income support to a mixed-modality approach that focuses more on conditional cash transfers for education, health services, and nutritional supplies that will help reduce intergenerational poverty through human capital development.”
The programme contributes to the Ehsaas initiative’s goal of expanding cash transfers to improve access to primary and secondary education up to grade 10 for children and adolescents from poor families, particularly girls, as well as improving health and nutrition services for women, adolescent girls, and children from low-income families.
It also plans to begin covering accelerated learning programmes at the primary education level for out-of-school children who are over the age of school enrollment through conditional cash transfers.
In addition, the initiative supports improvements in the implementation of social protection programmes in Pakistan as well as the ability of the country’s fiduciary institutions.
“The Asian Development Bank is a reliable and long-standing partner. This initiative is the culmination of years of collaboration with the Asian Bank and other partners, and it focuses on areas where we feel the bank can have the most influence on the lives of people. Dr Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, stated that it is a top priority within the government’s Ehsaas plan.