Nestlé Pakistan commemorates International Day of Rural Women
Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Nestlé Pakistan commemorated International Day of Rural Women by pledging to be a force for good, towards upliftment of rural women through its Nestlé BISP Rural Women Sales Program, which till date has enrolled over 1800 rural women as sales agents.
Nestlé Pakistan in partnership with Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), as part of government’s Ehsaas initiative, had started 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 6000 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 in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of 3, 5, 8 and 17.
Talking about the program, Waqar Ahmad, Head of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability, Nestlé Pakistan & Afghanistan said, “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.”
He highlighted that over the last four years, the program has scaled up, reaching 24 districts of Pakistan and enrolling over 1800 BISP beneficiaries as rural sales agents.
“This program has shown that economic upliftment may lead to wider social empowerment. Traditionally, women of rural Pakistan have been unable to participate in any structured economic activity,” he added.
Nestlé Pakistan also partnered with Akhuwat Pakistan (the largest interest-free microfinance program) since 2019 whereby micro-loans worth PKR 2 million were disbursed to these women, improving their access to finance.
The initiative has helped these women get into the business of retail hence paving the way for economic empowerment, allowing for greater financial inclusion, by improving financial access for these “poorest of the poor” women.