As of 2020, almost 62.84% of Pakistan’s population is considered rural, a substantial number of which is women. While it’s relatively easier and more accessible for rural-origin men to seek education, craftsmanship, employment, and financial stability, millions of women have to struggle to seek even one of the aforementioned basics.
Rural women make up more than 20% of Pakistan’s labor workforce, a majority of the remaining are employed in unskilled labor while being the prime contributors for their families. In accordance with the International Day for Rural Women, Nestlé Pakistan has been on a mission to uplift, empower and support rural women from all across Pakistan.
Nestlé Pakistan partnered with Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) in 2017 to empower rural women as part of their Ehsaas program where they have been providing rural women with employment opportunities by becoming sales agents all across the country. It’s a great step towards achieving a stronger sense of financial stability for women and also ensures the rural labor force isn’t exploited or forced to work in devastating conditions.
This was a leap ahead for Nestlé Pakistan on its mission to become a pillar of support for underprivileged women and to date, the program has financially empowered hundreds of rural women.
Speaking about the initiative Nestlé Pakistan & Afghanistan’s Head of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability, Waqar Ahmad said,
Rural women have lived far too long in exploitive working environments and by joining hands with BISP, Nestlé Pakistan aimed to empower these women and give them endeavors and opportunities to receive financial stability, and it’s incredible how many women and families we’ve reached in just the past 5 years.
The Nestlé BISP Rural Women Sales Program has enrolled more than 1800 rural women as sales agents in Pakistan. It’s the first step on the path of prosperity in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of 3, 5, 8, and 17.
As of now, the program has reached 24 districts in the country and positively impacted hundreds of households. Since 2019, Nestlé Pakistan has also been a partner with Akhuwat Pakistan to financially empower women with micro-loans to start their own businesses.