Gender Ministry Spells-Out LEAP Eligibility Criteria

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection on Wednesday outlined eligibility criteria for benefiting from the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty programme (LEAP). Eligibility is based on poverty, and having a household member in at least one of three demographic categories: single parent with Orphan or Vulnerable Child (OVC), elderly poor, or person with extreme disability unable to work (PWD). Mrs Della Sowah, Deputy Minister for Gender told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview after monitoring payment to LEAP beneficiaries in the Keta and Nkwanta South Districts of the Volta Region. Mrs Sowah, who is also the Member of Parliament for Kpando, explained that the initial selection of households, is done through a community-based process, and is verified centrally with a proxy means test. She said as in most cash transfers targeted to the ultra-poor and vulnerable, the immediate impact of the programme is typically to raise spending levels, particularly basic spending needs for food, clothing, and shelter, some of which will influence children’s health, nutrition, and material well-being. She said once immediate basic needs are met, and possibly after a period of time, the influx of new cash may then trigger further responses within the household economy. She said an exciting feature of LEAP, is that aside from direct cash payments, beneficiaries are provided with free health insurance through the National Health Insurance Scheme. The Deputy Gender Minister explained that receipt of cash payments from LEAP is conditional on a health insurance card. She said under the LEAP programme, eligible households receive cash payment per month, depending on eligible beneficiaries per household. She said LEAP has made several human development impact, including girls’ enrollment in secondary schools, curative health care, school attendance, and household diet diversity. AYA Techonogies, operators of LEAP E-Payment system, Ghana Post, are among core groups through which the payment is effected to the beneficiaries The Municipal Chief Executive Officer of Keta, Mr Sylvester Tornyeavah told the GNA that the LEAP programme has transformed the living standards of people within the beneficiary communities. Mr Tornyeavah said LEAP has directly triggered potential behaviour change in terms of inducing households to use health services, encouraging social interaction among beneficiaries, and facilitating the exchange of information and knowledge. Scores of beneficiaries told the GNA that they had invested the money in small-scale businesses.