The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) will, on Monday, March 27, commence the disbursement of the January and February payments of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) grants in all the 216 districts in the country.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba, the Sector Minister, said government intended to compliment the cash transfer component of LEAP households with skills development to help people out of poverty.
Madam Djaba indicated that 16 million Ghana cedis had been earmarked for the disbursement under the LEAP programme for 213,048 households across the country.
She said the Ministry was working on skills training (development) modules for individuals so that after they were equipped they could be weaned off the LEAP programme gradually.
Some of the skills development modules include piggery, kente and basket weaving.
However, she said, the skills development would depend on the needs of an area or a district.
Madam Djaba noted that households with women as heads would be targeted adding “as government we have plans to refocus the LEAP programme to ensure that it does not become a source of political patronage.”
In this regard, the Minister said the sector would adopt effective and accurate testing-means to identify and enrol deserving beneficiary households with the female-headed households as the Ministry’s target.
Currently in the Upper East Region the Ministry and the Japanese Government had commenced a pilot programme in the design of various handicrafts, she said, and expressed optimism that they would be exported to fetch income for the households.
Madam Djaba said the LEAP programme, which currently covered 216 districts, would be extended by December, this year, to cover all districts.
She said 11 districts in Ashanti and Greater Accra regions which were not under the LEAP programme would soon be covered.
The Minister said the programme intended to roll out adult education to beneficiaries so they could learn numeracy skills to have control over their money and accounts.
Touching on the benefits of the LEAP programme, Madam Djaba said more than 90,000 households had been registered free-of-charge onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
She said this had been factored into the LEAP programme to ensure LEAP beneficiaries received better health care.
The Minister said studies into the programme had shown 12 per cent increase in school enrolment of children.
“A study by the University of North Carolina and ISSER has shown a significant increase in livelihood savings and gift received. LEAP has had impact on debt repayment and reduced loan holdings among female headed households,” she said.
LEAP, one of the flagship programmes of the Ministry which commenced in 2008, formed part of six interventions in the social protection basket.
The other interventions include Ghana school feeding, capitation grant, and free school uniform and exercise books.
LEAP is a cash transfer programme for the extremely poor and vulnerable households which had orphans and vulnerable children, persons with severe disability without any productive capacity, elderly persons 65 years and above, pregnant women and children under two years.
One eligible member household receives GHC 64.00, two and three eligible member household receives GHC 76.00 and GHC 88.00 respectively. Four or more eligible member households receive GHC 106.00.
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