The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved Wednesday a $603m loan to help strengthen and expand the government’s ambitious Ehsaas social protection programme.
Using conditional cash transfers, the programme will support the implementation of Ehsaas, Pakistan’s national social protection and poverty reduction strategy.
“Under the Integrated Social Protection Development Program, ADB will provide a regular loan of $600 million and a $3 million grant from the Asian Development Fund (ADB) with total approved $603m loan, and will administer a $24 million grant from the Education Above All Foundation,” a statement by the ADB said.
“The program marks a significant shift in ADB’s strategic engagement in the social protection space in Pakistan in line with Ehsaas priorities,” said ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov.
“ADB’s support will transition 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 program supports the Ehsaas goal of expanding cash transfers to improve access to primary and secondary education up to grade 10 for children and adolescents of poor families, especially girls, and enhancing health services and nutrition for women, adolescent girls, and poor children.
It also aims to initiate coverage of accelerated learning programs at primary education level for overaged out-of-school children under conditional cash transfers.