LEAP improves lives of vulnerable – Survey

old-manA survey by the Institute of Statistical, Social & Economic Research (ISSER) has revealed that the lives of many women, children, the elderly and vulnerable who benefitted from the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty’s (LEAP) social intervention programme has been improved.

That came to light at a high-level panel discussion on social protection organised by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the UNICEF in Accra yesterday.

The discussion brought together stakeholders to discuss the issue of tackling extreme poverty and vulnerability through social protection.

According to the survey, the LEAP, introduced in 2008 by the government, has enhanced school enrolment among children involved in the programme, improved the health needs of beneficiaries, as well as their nutritional intake.

The Survey
The Social Protection Specialist, UNICEF, Mr Peter Ragno, who took stakeholders through the survey results, said 90 per cent of the LEAP beneficiaries had been enrolled onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

However, the survey identified challenges such as irregular payment, inadequate operational capacity, extreme low coverage of the poor in society and weak linkages to other poverty reduction interventions in the country as some of the issues that needed to be tackled to make the programme more beneficial.

The survey was conducted among 646 households in the Tolon Kumbungu District of the Northern Region and Komenda in the Central Region by the ISSER, the Yale University in the United States of America with support from the Department For International Development (DFID), UNICEF, the EU and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Impact of the government’s intervention
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, emphasised that social protection had the potential to significantly impact on incomes, equity and access to social services for the extremely poor and vulnerable.

Mrs Lithur commended partners such as the UNICEF, World Bank and Department For International Development (DFID), adding that they had greatly impacted on the country’s social protection systems.

Head of Budget Reforms, Ministry of Finance, Ms Eva Mends, said the ministry was putting in place measures that would ensure that the LEAP programme was sustained.

Development partners
The UNICEF Country Representative, Ms Susan Ngongi, commended Ghana for implementing a successful social intervention programme as a central instrument for reducing poverty in the country.

The Head of Economic and Trade Section, European Union (EU), Mr Christian Peters, said the EU in October this year launched a social protection policy for developing countries, mentioning that the EU saw social protection as key to achieving inclusiveness in society.

Source: Daily Graphic

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