Effectively protect the most vulnerable people during a crisis?

Government of Pakistan
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Program Design
Program Design
The Ehsaas Emergency Cash transfer programme shows what is possible when effective social protection measures are enacted for vulnerable populations.

The Ehsaas Emergency Cash transfer programme exists to alleviate the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 (especially for the most at-risk populations) by distributing emergency cash to over 15 million Pakistanis. The programme addresses systemic poverty through a multi-sectoral approach at the federal and provincial levels of government.

Real-world challenges

The Ehsaas programme was developed at a crucial time, when COVID-19 pushed millions of people below the poverty line and particularly affected the poorest populations’ health and economic wellbeing.     

Developing a cash-based transfer programme involved multiple problems in both design and implementation. When the programme was established, the government faced questions and skepticism from within, from the opposition party and from residents. DA partnered with the Government of Pakistan, building trust and providing support to ensure successful implementation.     

Real-world solutions

DA conducted interviews with over thirty stakeholders, including government employees, staff from international organizations, and banking officials. The goal of the interviews was to understand different perspectives, cross-validate stakeholders’ perceptions and develop practical recommendations on the ground. Following the interviews, DA mapped the entire delivery chain to support a clear definition of the strategy, uncover potential risks and identify implementation problems.

The World Bank recognises Ehsaas Emergency Cash among top social protection responses to COVID.

This work provided leadership with a clear view of where operations were effective, and where there were opportunities for even greater efficiency and impact. 

The exercise also brought poverty alleviation to the front of the political debate, involving multiple ministries, other parties and international organizations.   

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