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Government expands LEAP to include pregnant women, children

PregnantThe Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is to launch an expanded component of the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) programme, targeting poor households with pregnant women and women with children under 12 months old.

Dubbed: “LEAP 1000”, the programme, which would be launched on March 4, 2015, in Tamale, would provide regular cash to poor households with pregnant women as well as women with children under 12 months old for a period of three years.

It is being supported with funding from the United States Agency for International Development and the United Nations Children Fund.

Mr Alexander John Ackon, a Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, announced this at a press briefing organized by the Ministry and development partners in Accra on Wednesday.

He said the ‘LEAP 1000’ programme is expected to reduce poverty among children in poor households in selected districts and would also increase availability of financial resources in at least 6,000 households for better nutrition of children.

The project will be implemented in Yendi, Mion, Tolon, East Mamprusi, Karaga, Kumbungu and East Gonja districts in the Northern Regions and Bongo, Bawku West and Garu/Tempane districts in the Upper East Region.

The breakdown of the grants to be received by beneficiary households is GH₵30 per month, GH₵36 for two beneficiaries and GH₵45 for three beneficiaries.

Mr Ackon said LEAP has had significant impact on both beneficiaries and their families, especially in relation to food security, health, education, savings and investments, as well as on their wider communities particularly in terms of community development and socio-economic growth.

He said in spite of the gains being chalked through social protection programmes in Ghana, malnutrition seems to be a major drawback to achieving the expected targets.

Mr Ackon said the payments will be conducted every two months and that LEAP 1000 brings on board the data collection on potential beneficiaries which will be done electronically.

He said the programme is expected to have a long lasting impact on the development of the human resource base of this country and that Government remains committed to raising the living standards of the vulnerable and poor in society and would do all within its power to realize this objective.

The objective of LEAP is to enable the poorest families in Ghana to better meet their basic needs, prioritize health, enroll children in school and improve their attendance, increase savings and also work and invest more to pull themselves out of poverty.

It has also contributed to the economic growth of the beneficiaries in their local communities and beyond.

The LEAP is a cash transfer programme introduced in 2008 and administered by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and managed by the Department of Social Welfare.

It provides financial support to the extreme poor and extremely vulnerable families, who are also elderly aged 65 and above, severely disabled, who are unable to work, or caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children.

In September 2014, LEAP reached over 77,000 families in all 10 region of Ghana.

Source: GNA

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