Ehsaas: A Lifeline for Millions During COVID-19

Ehsaas: A Lifeline for Millions During COVID-19

White Rice x Ehsaas Program



The government order to Stay Home, Stay Safe is a privilege afforded to a minority of Pakistanis. Millions suffer, unable to perform daily wage labor to buy household essentials, put food on the table, or pay their bills. As coronavirus cases increased, so did the numbers of those plunged under the poverty line. The Emergency Cash program aimed to provide PKR 12,000 to 10.6 million people in need of basic income. Our challenge was to reach the maximum number of deserving people in just a few days.


Over the course of two months, we launched two digital campaigns for Ehsaas Program, a leading government initiative to reach the ultra-poor through asset-distribution efforts to reduce inequality by investing in people. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ehsaas had a greater need to spread its reach and do it fast. White Rice developed an intensive and far-reaching digital campaign to amplify the impact of Ehsaas’s Emergency Cash Program to connect 10 million Pakistanis living below the poverty line with a life-saving stipend. The resulting campaign rampantly increased the reach of the program, with an increase in registration SMS messages from 98 million to 139 million in just three days.

The Emergency Cash Program required people across Pakistan in lockdown to know about this service and how to connect with it. Participants were able to verify their income through SMS, before receiving a notification that signals where they can collect funds.

Utilizing social media influencers, media celebrities, bloggers, and news reporters, we circulated information on the program far and wide. As part of this effort, White Rice managed the online communities, developed branding guidelines, and created real-time content on beneficiary stories that were shared on social media and mass media channels. 


As a result of the intensive efforts, millions of people were able to receive much-needed help within days. News reports and beneficiary stories amplified the reach of the campaign to include millions of engaged Pakistanis from different walks of life. Within two months, we managed to grow the Facebook community from 79 to 172 million.

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