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Improving Livelihood Opportunities for Rural Women in Pakistan

"Becoming a Nestlé Sales Agent has helped me send my daughter to college”, says Sajida Parveen, a mother of 6 and beneficiary of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) residing in Renala Kurd, Punjab. 

"My husband was a sole breadwinner of our family and was on daily wages. Our financial circumstances only allowed us to barely afford 2 meals a day. It was only when my husband fell sick and could not go to work, that our financial conditions took a turn for the worst. Despite coming from an extremely conservative background, I had to send my 18 year old daughter to another city (Lahore) for work.

I was invited to Nestlé’s Rural Sales training organized in our vicinity through Nestlé and BISP’s partnership and initially bought some stock. We now sell Nestlé products to neighboring villages and shops. This has significantly boosted our family income. I was able to call my daughter back from Lahore and have enrolled her back in college”. 

Nestlé Pakistan and Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) entered into partnership in May 2017, to provide livelihood opportunities to the BISP beneficiaries. This partnership is part of Nestlé Pakistan’s Rural Deep Reach Project, which focuses on the needs of low-income population by offering them Popularly Positioned Products (PPPs). These are affordable, nutritious and high quality products. 

The beneficiaries are responsible for door-to-door sales within the community and are compensated based on commission structure. Currently, the partnership is rolled out in 2 districts of Punjab, Pakistan: Renala and Pindi Bhattian and has 13 beneficiaries working as Sales Agent. 

Nestlé Pakistan is also building the nutrition knowledge of these women by conducting nutrition awareness seminars for BISP beneficiaries. Through the use of visual aids and easy-to-understand handbooks, the Nutrition experts inform women on importance of good nutrition, ideas on how to cook healthy nutritious meals within a budget and disseminating key nutrition and hygiene messages to the beneficiaries. 

Marvi Memon, Chairperson BISP said: “It is heartening to see industry playing an extremely positive role in helping improve socio-economic status of women in Pakistan. Our understanding with Nestlé Pakistan is a step in the right direction, as only by working together can we address the key issues faced by Pakistani women”.

Waqar Ahmad, Head of Corporate Affairs, Nestlé Pakistan, said, “Our partnership with BISP is extremely relevant, given our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Our joint focus is on reducing poverty and promoting economic growth. Nestlé is also committed to providing greater access to fortified products to our rural society. Our products contain Iron, Zinc, Vitamin A and D amongst other vital nutrients e.g. NESTLÉ BUNYAD. Through this initiative, we hope to empower our rural women by providing them livelihood opportunities, along with improving their nutrition status and the quality of life for them and their families”.

Over the next few months, the program will expand to 3 districts of Punjab (Vehari, Faisalabad and Sheikhupura) and in 2 districts of Sindh (Sukkur and Thatta).