Ghana has opened its social protection strategy for the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, donor community and development partners to scrutinize at New York.
Large contingent of delegates attending the on-going 53rd Session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD53) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York thronged to participate in Ghana’s side event, which focused on using Social Protection as a tool for addressing poverty and vulnerability.
Nana Oye Lithur Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection explained that Ghana’s Social Protection encompasses a set of interventions (transfers and or services) by government or private or civil society that help individuals and households confront risk and adversity including emergencies.
It also ensures a minimum standard of dignity and well-being throughout the life-cycle.
The Gender Minister explains that it also includes social protection for children, which focuses on the objectives of systematically protecting and ensuring the rights of all children and women, achieving gender equality, and reducing child poverty.
Nana Oye Lithur said as an output; “we have built consensus on the way forward in building a solid foundation for social protection in Ghana.
“To consolidate the gains we are making, we are currently developing a policy framework to guide social protection in Ghana.
“Ghana believes that if Social protection is well designed, targeted at those who need it and implemented effectively and efficiently, it would; create opportunity for human capital development and access to productive work.
“Help to narrow the inequality gap and promotes equity; help the vulnerable build resilience against the impact of shocks”.
She said Ghana have now reached the stage of consolidation of the gains made so far and building a solid foundation for social protection.
She said the Gender Ministry has obtained Cabinet approval to coordinate all social protection interventions in Ghana; subsequently, a governance structure for the coordination was developed at the national, regional, district and community levels to facilitate effective and efficient coordination of all social protection interventions in Ghana.
To ensure effective and efficient complementarity of interventions, a graduation framework is being developed for implementation to ensure all SP beneficiaries are linked to livelihood creation opportunities.
She said the country have also built a formidable partnership for Social Protection with bilateral and multilateral partners: Government Institutions; Parliament; Development Partners; Civil Society Organisations.
Mr Mawutor Ablo, Director for Social Protection, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, told the delegates that the country have experienced significant economic growth over a decade with GDP growth rates ranging from 4.0% to 15.0% between 2005 and 2013.
He said in the past 20 years Ghana has made great strides in economic growth and in reducing poverty.
Mr Ablo explained that Government interventions complemented by CSOs and Development partners have played a critical role in this process and improvements have been noted in key areas such as enrolment in primary school and access to curative and preventative healthcare and infrastructural development.
He identified some social protection interventions as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) which started with only 1,645 households in 2008 but currently covers over 90,000 households and is projected to over 200,000 by Dec 2015.
The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which currently covers 10.14 million people of which 70 per cent are in the exempt category (those who do not pay any fees and premium; and Free School Uniforms/Free Exercise Books: 1,601,700 School uniforms, and 87,074,160 exercise books distributed (2012/14).
The Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP): currently providing support to over 1.7 million children and created market for several farmers in the respective school communities.
The 53rd Session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD53) at United Nations Headquarters in New York is the general theme: “Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world”.