Nestlé Pakistan in partnership with Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), as part of the Ehsaas Program, launched the Nestlé BISP Rural Women Sales Program in 2017 to provide livelihood opportunities to BISP beneficiaries. Launched in 2008, BISP is Pakistan’s unconditional cash transfer program which provides a quarterly stipend of approximately PKR 7,000 to its beneficiaries.
The main premise of Nestlé BISP Rural Women Sales Program was to work for the upliftment of the rural women of Pakistan and put them on the path to prosperity. There is no ‘magic bullet’ to women empowerment and central to this tenet, is the acknowledgment that long-term prosperity is only possible when women are provided a level playing field to achieve their potential. To date, this program has enrolled over 1900 BISP beneficiaries as Sales Agents. Nestlé Pakistan has also partnered with Akhuwat Pakistan (the largest interest-free microfinance program) whereby, improving access to finance, micro-loans worth PKR 2 million have been disbursed as part of this program to many women looking to scale their business.
This program has shown that economic upliftment can lead to wider social empowerment. Traditionally, women of rural Pakistan have been unable to participate in any structured economic activity. This intervention has helped these women get into the business of retail hence paving the way for economic empowerment. Furthermore, this project is allowing for greater financial inclusion, by improving financial access for these ‘poorest of the poor’ women.
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