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GILGIT: Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Marvi Memon has started a campaign aimed at women empowerment through social mobilisation in Diamer district of GilgitBaltistan.

It merits a mention here that the number of BISP beneficiary committees (BBCs) in Diamer is less compared to other districts of the country. So far only nine BBCs have been formed in the district out of targeted 232 as women are reluctant to enroll themselves in the bodies because of social taboos and traditions.

Ms Memon announced that a new survey of the BISP beneficiaries would be conducted in 16 districts of the country, including Gilgit, as a pilot project to provide economic assistance to more deserving and poor women.

She said BISP was spending Rs221 billion for empowerment of poor women and alleviate poverty in the country.

The BISP chairperson visited Diamer the other dayto convince localelders to allow women to participate in the BBCs.

Addressing a women gathering at girls high school, Chilas, she said the BBCs targeted poverty alleviation, conducted school enrolment drives and educated women on their rights, including nutrition and anti-stunting awareness programmes.

She added that womencommittees were necessary as a means towards discussion of women issues and their resolution, including education campaigns.

`Through the platform of BBC, the BISP beneficiaries are being provided extra stipend for child education, which is conditional to the beneficiary herself enrolling in the committee and implementing its objectives,` she said.

Ms Memon said Pakistan was the most affected country for malnutrition and stunting and the BISP beneficiary committee programme aimed to provide platform to woman in rural areas to discuss such issues.

She also held meetings with local notables and BISP beneficiaries in Chilas to discuss the strengthening and enhancing the number of BISP beneficiary committees.

The BISP chairperson was briefed about the `concerns` of the local elders and religious clerics about participation of women in the BBCs in the district.

She said that elders should play their part in empowering the womenfolk. She appreciated the need for respecting the local traditions whilst forming such committees but insisted they were necessary for the goals of BISP.

The BBCs comprising a group of 25-30 women meet regularly to discuss their issues and the guidance is provided to them on nutrition, health, basic counting, women rights and entrepreneurialskills.

Source: Dawn  11 Nov 2017

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