The Ministry of Children, Gender and Social Protection, has released GH₵ 3.9 million from its emergency programme to assist victims of the June 3 flood and fire disasters.
Nana Oye Lithur, the sector Minister, said payment would be made soon to beneficiaries some of whom have become poor and vulnerable, adding that in all 13,000 households around the disaster zone would benefit from the intervention.
The Minister said this on Tuesday during the launch of a report by Challenging Heights, a human development oriented non -governmental organisation, on the effects of the Livelihood Empowerment and Poverty (LEAP) project on the wellbeing, care and family cohesion in Ghana.
She said Government is working hard to ensure that the victims of the floods would not become worse off as the interventions would help children whose parents lost their lives to go back to school.
Nana Oye Lithur said social protection programmes have gained prominence as development strategies for lifting millions of people out of poverty and addressing societal vulnerabilities.
“According to the latest Africa MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) progress report, the number of African countries implementing social protection programmes almost doubled in only three years from 21 in 2010 to 37 by 2013”, she said.
Nana Oye Lithur said since the programme was launched in 2007, the number of beneficiary households have increased from 1,645 in 2007 to 90,785 as at the last cycle payment this year.
She said the Ministry had also increased beneficiary households to 150,000 and is targeting 200,000 by the close of the year.
Nana Oye Lithur said the Ministry has launched a project dubbed LEAP 1000, aimed at addressing malnutrition in children in the first 1000 days of their lives with the main focus on the Northern and Upper East Regions.
Dr James Kofi Annan, Executive Director of Challenging Heights, appealed to the Ministry to extend the LEAP project to coastal areas in the country especially the Efutu Municipality and Awutu-Senya District in the Central Region.
He said studies in such areas have revealed the extent of poverty existing there and the rise in child labour and child trafficking.
Dr Annan expressed appreciation to the Gender Ministry for increasing the cash size of LEAP from GH₵ 24.00 per beneficiary per month to GH₵ 44.00 per beneficiary per month with effect from July.
The research which started in November 2013 by Challenging Heights was carried out with the support of Family for Every Child and the Centre for Social Protection at the Institute of Development Studies, UK.
The report called on the Ministry to remove the four eligible household ceiling and make it accessible to all eligible household members across all LEAP catchment areas in the country.
“Challenging heights is also asking the Minister to ensure that payment of cash under LEAP is done as planned, prompt and also frequently as our field research shows that existing beneficiaries of LEAP sometimes wait for months before they receive the money,” the report said.