Leap As a Tool to Alleviating Poverty

Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme, is a social cash transfer programme that provides cash and health insurance to the extremely poor households across the country.

Its main aim is to alleviate short-term poverty and encourage long-term human capital development. In 2008, LEAP was launched as Ghana's flagship programme of the National Social Protection Strategy and was largely funded by the government of Ghana and supported by the World Bank and DFID. It also receives technical support from UNICEF's social protection unit.

Why Leap

In recent years, government adopted a number of initiatives, including the launch of the National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) in 2007.This represented government of Ghana's vision of creating an all-inclusive society through the provision of sustainable mechanisms for the protection of persons living in situations of extreme poverty, vulnerability and exclusion.


Three main components were designed to tackle extreme poverty in the country; the establishment of a new social grant scheme to provide a basic and secure income for the most vulnerable households, better poverty targeting of existing social protection programmes and a package of complementary inputs for beneficiaries of social protection programmes. These brought about the introduction of LEAP and is currently administered by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and managed by the department of social welfare.


The Current State Of Leap


Ninety thousand, seven hundred and eighty five (90,785) beneficiary households in 144 districts are paid through the LEAP programme. The breakdown of the payments is as follows: one member household receives GH¢ 48.00, household with two (2) eligible members receive GH¢ 60.00, with three eligible beneficiaries or more GH¢72.00 and household with four (4) eligible beneficiaries or more receive GH¢ 90.00.


These payments are made by Ghana Post Company Limited, MTN Mobile Money, E-zwich and Maya Technologies. Out of the 90,785 beneficiaries of the LEAP, 23,814 persons with Disabilities (PWDs) are also beneficiaries of the LEAP programme.


In March this year, the ministry launched LEAP 1000. LEAP 1000 targets children in extremely poor households under two years. Later in the year, payment of LEAP 1000 will begin and households in the Northern and Upper East Regions will be benefiting from the programme.


In an interview with the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, said LEAP programme is one good source of fighting poverty at the household level. According to her, research has proven that the local economies of LEAP communities are turning around with the injection of the programme's cash benefits.


Oye Lithur said with the introduction of the programme, more children are staying in school and many more people are now able to access health care under the LEAP programme. She disclosed that since it is a tool to alleviate poverty in the country, the number of beneficiary households will be increased from 90,785 to 150,000 within the next couple of months and 200,000 by the close of the year.


The Minister added that the Ministry was undertaking a nationwide monitoring exercise for the selection of additional beneficiaries to be put on the LEAP programme. It is the hope of this writer that, this very laudable social intervention programme is sustained and expanded to cover all the intended targets in the country in order to achieve the purpose for which it was initiated.


Source: ISD (Karimatu Anas)

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