KARACHI: The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has awarded the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) with the prestigious Gender Award in Asia and the Pacific Region for 2014.
PPAF’s Program for Increasing Sustainable Microfinance (PRISM) funded by IFAD has been recognized for addressing gender inequalities, empowering women and providing them visibility in the best possible manner throughout IFAD and across its network of partners in Pakistan.
Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO of PPAF, said, “We are honored that IFAD has recognized the work PPAF has done in promoting gender equity and empowerment. Under PRISM, the ratio of women borrowers increased to 73 per cent as compared to the ratio of 50 per cent set as target. Under the program, PPAF facilitated lending to 137,751 women and 45,488 men.”
PPAF has invested in the formation of women-led value chains and facilitated capacity building and provision of loans to generate income streams. These value chains are geared to enable communities, especially women, to access quality financial services and to truly utilize economic opportunities leading to reduction in poverty. PPAF has also facilitated women in accessing improved income generation enterprises under PRISM.
PPAF, through PRISM, has helped increase understanding of microfinance by commercial sector players, improving awareness by microfinance institutions of working with commercial sector and contributing towards creation of a positive policy environment for microfinance operators. This has resulted in lending amounting to PKR 0.11 billion to the sector by 10 commercial banks through a guarantee mechanism, 50% of which is collateralized by PPAF.
The award ceremony was held in Rome on November 25, 2014, the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women. M. Mordasini, IFAD Vice President, other officials of IFAD, officials from Embassies, awards recipients and other dignitaries were present on this occasion.
IFAD’s partnership with PPAF under PRISM offers microfinance services to the rural poor in Pakistan to improve their livelihoods especially in agriculture and livestock. It also provides space for developing innovative financial products such as livestock and crop insurance, business incubation labs for women entrepreneurs as well as rolling out products based on Islamic modes of financing.
IFAD works with the Government of Pakistan to develop and finance program that enable rural poor to overcome poverty. IFAD has been a major development partner in Pakistan since 1978 and to-date, it has provided USD 4.09 billion for various projects/programs in Pakistan.