PESHAWAR: The Government of Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC) celebrated the 16th anniversary of the Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program (MNBSP), which is administered in partnership with the United States Government through the US Agency for International Development.

Since 2004, USAID has worked with HEC to provide equitable access to higher education and increase enrolment at Pakistani universities through merit scholarships for economically disadvantaged students. MNBSP has granted more than 5,300 scholarships in total, and more than half of the scholarships have been awarded to female students, says a press release Recipients demonstrate strong academic skills and financial need, and the majority live in remote rural areas. The MNBSP awards scholarships to study agriculture, engineering, medical sciences, and social sciences. Recipients are eligible to study at 30 private and public partner universities across the country.

“USAID is proud to partner with HEC in our shared desire to bring more highly-skilled and well-educated young Pakistanis into the workforce,” said USAID Mission Director Julie Koenen.

HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri thanked USAID and noted that USAID’s Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program is the model for the Government of Pakistan’s Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Project, which also provides financial aid to disadvantaged students.

At the anniversary event, alumni from the MNBSP program shared their personal stories and highlighted their academic and professional achievements.

Earlier, from December 28 to January 07, the US Embassy in Islamabad’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) section collaborated with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Prisons Department to deliver Rs9,762,700 in personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer, soap, and gloves to staff and inmates to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The provision of PPE for staff and personal hygiene items for inmates during the pandemic is part of an ongoing partnership between the US Mission to Pakistan and the KP Prisons Department to improve prisons and build capacity of corrections officials throughout Pakistan.

Under this trusted partnership, the INL and the KP Prisons Department remain committed to training prison department officials in basic and advanced correctional institution management and providing hundreds of its staff with security, protective, and digital equipment to enhance their capacity to manage prisons more efficiently and ensure security of prisons.


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