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Joint project between Turkey, Pakistan helps empower women

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  1. Zibago

    Zibago ELITE MEMBER

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    Joint project between Turkey, Pakistan helps empower women

    ANADOLU AGENCY
    ANKARA
    Published
    9 hours ago
    Turkish investors can help to raise new businesses from poverty in Pakistan and empower women, Pakistani State Minister Marvi Memon told Anadolu Agency.

    Pakistan's $1.02 billion Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) is a fund to provide cash to 5.2 million of Pakistan's poorest families - and with the help of Turkish investment and Turkish businesswomen to act as role models for Pakistani women it could have a greater impact, Memon said.

    Established in 2008 to achieve targets set under the UN's millenium development goals, the BISP project aims to eradicate chronic poverty, empower women and introduce universal primary education. Its specific mandate is to feed poor, vulnerable families, so that women in them can play a more important economic role.

    "The aim is specifically to take care of women from a dignity point of view - we do poverty management and the government does poverty alleviation through its various other development projects," Memon said.

    To help women emerge from poverty and go into business, Memnon has proposed encouraging leading Turkish women entrepreneurs to inspire vulnerable Pakistani women.

    "It's a 'sisters in success' concept," Memon, who chairs the program, said. "Women who are leaders, women who are entrepreneurs should be used as role models for the most vulnerable women in our countries. I am looking for collaborating with Turkish role models who can both inspire our women and invest in them."

    In the textile industry, which is one of Pakistan's major exporters to Turkey, designers in both countries could link up and utilize the skills of vulnerable women in Pakistan.

    "Our women produce textiles but they don't have the market access," Memon said. "This is what the designers in both countries can provide."

    Memon, who visited Istanbul over the weekend to address the Bosphorus summit on poverty reduction as well as attend a meeting on violence against women, identified art and medicine as other areas where Turkey and Pakistan could cooperate.

    "There is no better way to reach the hearts of the Pakistani people," she said.

    "The Pakistani people see the Turkish people as brothers and sisters. We should employ a people-to-people strategy to connect with the people and government of Turkey."

    The BISP has established 25-strong committees of women across the country to discuss economic development and other issues affecting them such as violence against women. "It's a great place for them to come and talk and for us to be able to help them and that is a unique platform," Memon said.

    The program has been greatly helped by Pakistan's improving economy, according to the minister.

    "Under the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani economy is now growing at about the rate of 4.2 percent," Memon, who is a member of Sharif's party in Pakistan's National Assembly, said.

    "This has enabled the current government to adopt a four-fold program - economic growth, putting an end to extremism, securing the energy supply and establishing a full-scale social safety net, of which the BISP is a key part."

    Improved tax collection has provided the funds needed to support the poorest in Pakistan. According to the International Monetary Fund's most recent report on the country, tax was collected from less than 1 percent of the population in 2014.

    "This has now improved to 11 percent because the economy is now doing well and with the help of new policies by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar," Memon added.

    Some of this money is being pumped into the program, which is mostly funded by the government.

    Memon, who is known for her grassroots contacts and wide-ranging campaigning in Pakistan, said the project was among the "five top social safety nets in the world" due to its unique approach.

    "The program is intended to empower women and the money goes directly to them. We take great pride in this because we are sure the money reaches those who need it," she said.

    The
    Joint project between Turkey, Pakistan helps empower women - Daily Sabah