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Good News from Pakistan for a Change

Pakistan is a mess these days, to put it charitably, but even here there are a few glimmers of hope. Here’s one: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and special UN envoy for global education Gordon Brown recently unveiled the Waseela-e-Taleem program, which would pay poor Pakistani families to send their children to school. The program is backed by the UN and the UK.

The announcement came the day before “Malala day,” a day encouraging action to help get girls around the world into schools, as 32 million do not currently attend. The day is named after the young Pakistani girl who was recently shot by the Taliban for advocating for the education of girls.

BBC News reports:

The initiative aims to enroll three million of the poorest children in education in the next four years and, according to Reuters, will see poor families receive $2 a month per child in primary school.

The cash will be distributed through the government’s Benazir Income Support Programme, designed to give small cash payments to needy families.

Conditional cash transfer programs like this one may seem crude, but they have had success throughout many Latin American countries as well as Southeast Asia. They aim to reduce poverty in present and in future generations by giving parents an incentive to send their kids to school, rather than having them stay at home to help make ends meet.

Still, it is not often we get good news from Pakistan. More, please.

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