The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) is making giant strides, Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection has said.
She announced that a study by the United Nations International Children’s Fund had revealed that every GHȼ 1.00 injected into a LEAP community multiply by GHȼ 2.50; and that another impact assessment would be initiated by December.The LEAP programme is a social cash transfer programme which provides cash and health insurance to extremely poor households across the country to alleviate short-term poverty and encourage long term human capital development.
Nana Oye made the announcement in her presentation on Thursday in Accra when the Ministry took its turn at the meet the press series.
The presentation, which was mainly on the work done by the Ministry towards the achievement of advancing the “Better Ghana” Agenda for all Ghanaians; covered achievements in the later part of 2014, and their objectives for 2015 and what had been done in 2015.
The Minister said it was not by chance that the annual performance review done by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) in this year graded the Ghanaian LEAP programme in the “A” category.
She observed that since January 2013, the programme had seen a number of operational improvements, namely: an improved management information system, a robust monitoring and evaluation framework, e-payment pilot, and an improved management practices.
She assured that a full roll-out of electronic payments would be carried out next year.
Nana Oye noted that it was significant to note that, cash transfer under LEAP had been very consistent since 2013.
She said from January 2013 to September 2015, beneficiary household numbers increased by 62 per cent (by 44,875 households) from 71,936 households; stating that ‘there are now 116,000 households on LEAP’.
She pointed out that the number of district and communities has also increased by 90 and 1,740 respectively since January 2013.
The Minister said by next month, the beneficiary numbers would be 150,000 households from the on-going target exercise.
She said a second phase of targeting that would commence in November, using electronic data collection tools, would increase the beneficiary household numbers to 200,000 in all the 216 districts by December.
“The 38th payments have been made to 116,000 beneficiary households in 188 districts and 4,072 communities on the programme register.
“The 116,000 households translate into 522,000 individuals or household numbers. Of these individual household members, 46 per cent are orphans and vulnerable children, 37 per cent elderly persons above 65 years, and 17 per cent are with severe disability,” Nana Oye said.
The Minister said one innovation of the LEAP programme was targeting of inmates of witches camps, leprosaria, and government run orphanages.
She said as at the last payments, a total of 751 alleged witches in the Gambaga, Kukuo, Nabuli, Kpatinga, Leli-Daberi and Ngnani-Yendi received cash transfers under the LEAP.
In addition, 405 inmates of Nkanchina-Kpandai, Ho, Ankaful and Weija leprosaria were paid their LEAP grants; 382 inmates of residential homes for children/orphanages in Osu-Accra, Kumasi, Tamale, Mampong-Ashanti and Jirapa, as well as 12 inmates of a destitute home of the elderly in Ashanti Bekwai were all paid LEAP cash grants.
She noted that the implementation of the monitoring and evaluation framework and manuals for the LEAP to track progress, identify gaps and design timely interventions was ongoing.
Quarterly monitoring and independent verification reports were regularly produced and utilized to improve the management and implementation of the programme.
On the Ghana School Feeding Programme, Nana Oye said the Ministry was reviewing all contracts awarded under the programme and hopefully new contracts would be executed from January 2016.
She said a total of GHC 50,700,353.00 had been paid to caterers using an electronic payment system, and had embarked on a rapid audit assessment to effect outstanding payments for the 2014/2015 academic year.
She said the programme was currently providing one hot and adequately nutritious meal to 1,693,698 pupils in 4,881 schools per each school day.