We Care; Financial Empowerment for Women for increase of access to maternal & newborn health care
Status: Completed Start Date: Jan 2012 End Date: Jul 2014 Geographic Coverage: Quetta, Badin, Faisalabad, Nowshera Focus Area: Women Political Participation SDG Goal: 3 Achieve universal health coverage, and provide access to safe and affordable medicines and vaccines for all Implementing Partner: SPO Funding Partner: Research Advocacy Fund (RAF)
SPO with the financial support of RAF implemented this project.
The objectives of this collaboration were to;
Its research component assessed efficacy and relevance of existing Social Safety Nets (SSNs) in the country and reviewed globally tested models to advocate most pertinent recommendations, policy directives and feedback to key stakeholders.
The advocacy component endeavored to sensitize women about their Maternal & Newborn Health (MNH) needs, and create awareness regarding relevant cash transfer options, so that they can utilize cash payments to pay for the services at healthcare facilities.
Moreover, public oversight mechanisms will be proposed to enhance the accountability of public cash transfer initiatives, including BISP, to ensure effective and transparent implementation of cash transfer schemes.
This project has been successful in establishing the importance and desirability of Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) in MNH related interventions in the country. It was able to make this point effectively at the policy, decision making and community levels. The fact remains that Wasela-e-Sehat (WS) scheme of BISP is undergoing reorganization at the moment and it is plausible to assert that the recommendations made by the project are fully considered complied with as the reformed scheme emerges.
The following important milestones were attained:
BISP’s acceptance of SPO’s request for data sharing was a glaring success achieved in the beginning of the project. Through concerted efforts on part of SPO, meetings with the Director General BISP, Mr. Ahsan Mangi materialized into an alliance of information sharing to benefit both entities. Mr. Mangi assured SPO’s senior management of his full-support for facilitating the team in undertaking the task and achieving desired results through the provision of complete assistance. In addition to the earlier commitment by BISP for the provision of beneficiary data only, the DG informed SPO that owing to the identification of BISP beneficiaries using World Bank’s Poverty Score Card, BISP also has the corresponding non-beneficiary data. BISP has now committed to providing both the beneficiary and non-beneficiary data. Following the acceptance of SPO’s request by BISP senior officials, BISP’s Data Sharing Committee has also approved SPO’s request for the provision of required data, which is quite an achievement in itself.
However, having had a good start at BISP, the project had a setback when Mr Mangi left BISP quite early in the project’s life. Subsequent efforts aimed at gaining BISP’s buy in for the research findings so that they are incorporated within its structures for an improved delivery and impact of its social safety schemes addressing women, and within that MNH in particular were not met with a similar positive response.
Implementation of the well thought out and executed advocacy plan successfully resulted in engaging target audiences at the different levels of the democratic dispensation ladder. The advocacy messages were well received and the policy changes demanded in the proposed changes in WS fully supported at all levels.
The activities conducted have had a considerable media coverage playing a pivotal role to aware masses about the importance of conditioning WS to MNH.
The biggest success of the project was the large scale mobilization of parliamentarians, line department officials and civil society in the target districts for spreading awareness and bringing all the stakeholders on one forum on the following issues:
Benefits of CCTs vs. Non Conditional Cash Transfers (NCCTs).
Importance of MNH and how to use CCTs for this purpose.
Participation of BISP and discussion on outstanding issues and their way forward.