ISLAMABAD: The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate and strengthen evidence based policy making.
Minister of State and Chairperson BISP Marvi Memon speaking on the occasion stated that the collaboration would be valuable as it is important to base decisions on real evidence in order to best utilize our resources for the benefit of the poor.
She further added that the research would look into the mechanisms to help include the ultra poor and would delve into effective strategies to encourage graduation in BISP.
This would help make innovative decisions to uplift maximum number of beneficiaries from poverty in future. She urged the researchers to also take e-commerce into account while designing poverty exit strategies.
The internationally renowned social protection researchers, Professor Ben Olken (MIT), Professor Rema Hanna (Harvard University) and Dr. Adnan Khan (London School of Economics) would collaborate with BISP and assist with policy relevant research.
This would provide insights into BISP policy design by using data analytics to help provide descriptive insights into the functioning of BISP, develop field evaluations to test policy innovations, knowledge transfers and capacity building through academic collaboration and would take innovative lessons worldwide in order to help other countries learn from BISP experiences.
The researchers will particularly focus on targeting and enrollment of BISP, complementary graduation programs and policy impacts and would assess the impacts of BISP on economic and social outcomes particularly on child health.
Professor Rema Hanna from Harvard University appreciated BISP as one of the top social safety nets as more than 119 countries have at least one Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) programme.
She stated this would provide BISP advice on new National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER), conduct analysis of NSER pilot data, infant mortality, labor supply and education and design field experiments.
Mr. Ali Cheema, Program Design Committee BISP, stated that BISP is the custodian of a rich data that can be effectively used for better decision making.
He said that there is strong need for BISP to generate its own evidence on the right policies and programs specific to the Pakistani context, and the collaboration would help BISP to utilize the data in effective policy making.