September 20, 2021

Nestlé & Akhuwat Join Hands to Empower BISP Beneficiaries

According to the World Bank Global Findex Report, nearly 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked and have no access to formal financial services. It is also pertinent to mention that the gender gap in terms of bank accounts is high in developing countries like Pakistan.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed under which, Nestlé has provided a grant of PKR 2 million to Akhuwat to extend interest-free loans to Nestlé-affiliated BISP beneficiaries in expanding their businesses, in districts of Renala, Okara, Sheikhupura and Pindi Bhattian.

Through this partnership with Akhuwat and BISP, Nestlé Pakistan has paved the way in working towards contributing to the goals of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, which lays out the national vision, framework, action plan and targets for financial inclusion in Pakistan.

In contrast, with conventional lending, difficulties in loan procedures include the provision of collateral, loan documentation and processing time and traveling a long distance from the village to withdraw the disbursement amount in cash.

In order to support the development of socially sustainable enterprises, Nestlé Pakistan has facilitated its BISP beneficiary base through the provision of interest-free, micro-finance lending which provides the beneficiaries with the financial muscle to build upon their enterprise while at the same time, ensuring ease of repayment of the loan,

“Today is a big day for our Rural Women Sales Agents. The Nestlé-Akhuwat partnership will allow our Sales Agents to avail interest-free micro-loan facility. It has been proven time and time again, that when women have the power to make, spend, save, and control their own money, they make gains not only for themselves but also for their families and communities”, said Freda Duplan, CEO Nestlé Pakistan.

Nestlé’s BISP Rural Women Sales Program focuses on graduating women benefiting from BISP out-of poverty. The program is based on Public Private Partnership that emphasizes on creating sustainable solutions for addressing some of the key issues being faced by rural women in Pakistan such as malnutrition and lack of livelihood opportunities. It has to date graduated 500 beneficiaries and this number will increase to 5,000 in the next three to four years. Nestlé & Akhuwat Join Hands to Empower BISP Beneficiaries

Dr. Amjad Saqib, CEO Akhuwat, while sharing his views said, “We are glad to partner with Nestle and are confident that it will enable women under Nestlé’s BISP Rural Women Sales Program scale up their entrepreneurial ventures and eventually graduate out of poverty.”

Waqar Ahmad, Head of Corporate Affairs, Nestlé Pakistan, said, “Our philosophy of creating shared value (CSV) is unique and a long term approach through collective action, partnerships, and support of stakeholders can generate sustainable economic value, in line with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

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“The Nestlé-Akhuwat partnership is a transformative collaboration which will help us build rural women as social entrepreneurs with Akhuwat over the next three years and enhance Nestlé’s BISP beneficiary base,” he added. Nestlé & Akhuwat Join Hands to Empower BISP Beneficiaries

Nestlé Pakistan partnered with Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) in 2017 to provide livelihood opportunities to BISP beneficiaries. The Nestlé BISP Rural Women Livelihood Program has enabled BISP beneficiaries, often referred to as “poorest of the poor” women, to earn a livelihood for themselves and their families. It is a successful Public Private Partnership model aiming to create a sustainable solution towards addressing some of the key issues like malnutrition, financial exclusion, and lack of livelihood opportunities that rural women face in Pakistan. To date, more than 500 BISP beneficiaries have been enrolled as Rural Sales Agents across 12 districts of Punjab and Sindh. Furthermore, Nestlé Pakistan is empowering BISP beneficiaries through improving their nutrition knowledge and has reached out to more than 1000 BISP beneficiaries in 2018.

Nestlé- Akhuwat partnership will help improve access to finance in rural areas for rural women, thereby reducing inequalities and supporting UN Sustainable Development Goals.