LEAP beneficiaries to increase

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Nana Oye presenting cash to one of the beneficiaries at the Devenu payment point of the LEAP.Beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme are to be increased from 71, 456 to 150,000 next year.

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, made this known at Devenu in the Keta municipality in the Volta Region, where she observed the payment of LEAP arrears to beneficiaries from 180 households in nine communities through the Ghana Post Company on Saturday.

The programme is a social intervention that involves the provision of cash and health insurance to poor households in the country, and targets people who have no alternative means of meeting their daily needs as a result of limited employment opportunities.

The LEAP programme was started in 2008 by former President John Agyekum Kufuor with 1,654 beneficiary households in 21 districts. As of this year, the programme is helping 71,456 people in 90 districts.

The payment, supervised by the Department of Social Welfare, uses a set of indices which include the number of children in a household, the number of disabled persons a household has, as well as the number of aged persons, among others, to calculate the payment for beneficiaries.

The money, which ranges from GH¢15 to GH¢45 per month, was aimed at supporting the beneficiaries who are considered to be extremely poor in society.

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As part of efforts to ensure efficiency and reduced cost, the cash payment, according to Nana Oye, is being migrated into electronic payments which are to be piloted in 10 districts with three companies, namely MTN, Ezwich and the Ghana Interbank Payment System Solutions.

Nana Oye said the LEAP funds helped the beneficiaries to meet their basic needs such as their children's access to education, health, food and provided them with capital to start small-scale businesses.

The LEAP and other social intervention programmes such as the school feeding, free school uniforms, among others, are the government's way of ensuring that the lives of the vulnerable in society are improved.

Nana Oye said LEAP also helped the government to improve on the lives of the citizens and increased socio-economic standards in the country.

She commended the development partners - the Department for International Development, UNICEF and the World Bank - for providing technical support for the programme.

The Country Representative of UNICEF, Ms Susan Dongo, who accompanied the minister, commended the government for implementing the LEAP programme to improve the livelihood of the vulnerable, including children.

The  Keta Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Sylvester Tornyeavah, said the assembly had made strides in promoting and safeguarding the welfare and the participation of women in the social, political and economic development process in the municipality.

The Keta Municipal Director of the Social Welfare Department, Ms Faustina Borkloe, said the programme was benefiting a total of 1,100 households from 27 communities in the municipality.

By Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho/Daily Graphic/Ghana

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