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Sustainable income scheme for LEAP beneficiaries

By: Ama Amankwah Baafi
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Development experts say proper targeting mechanism is needed to ensure that social interventions achieve the desired results.
Development experts say proper targeting mechanism is needed to ensure that social interventions achieve the desired results.

 The government will in 2020 begin the implementation of the re-certification strategy for beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) who are exiting the programme onto other productive and financial inclusion programmes, the 2020 Budget Statement and Economic Policy has revealed.

A productive and financial inclusion component of the Ghana Productive Safety Net Project known as the Complimentary Livelihood Asset Support Scheme (CLASS), was developed to provide sustainable income earning opportunities for beneficiaries of social protection interventions.

The implementation will commence next year and will facilitate the graduation of cash transfer beneficiaries from the LEAP.

Already, an electronic reporting module has been developed and is being piloted in 30 districts across the country.

In addition, electronic protocols for the reconciliation of LEAP payment data and the management of funds by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GHIPSS), was developed to enhance the generation of LEAP beneficiary payroll.

LEAP performance
The LEAP programme was established in March, 2008 to provide basic and secure incomes for the most vulnerable households. It covered payments to 1, 645 households in 21 pilot districts.

It has since expanded to cover 1,444,518 individuals in 332,200 households in all 260 districts across the country, representing a 55 per cent increase over the 2017 figures.

Also, to improve beneficiary access to the grants by reducing the distance they cover to receive the grant, the government setup additional pay points in 3,111 new LEAP communities in all the 260 districts across the country. 

“In order to effectively address the health needs of beneficiaries, enrolment of about 60,000 households (around 258,000 individuals) onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), is expected to be complete by December 31 2019,” the budget states.

In 2020, the programme plans to enroll an additional 100,000 households (more than 430,000 individuals).

Other social interventions
From 2017 to date, the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) has expanded the coverage to benefit over 2.8 million schoolchildren from the 1.5 million before that year.

A breakdown shows that the programme fed 2,663,134 pupils in 8,683 beneficiary primary and kindergarten schools with one hot nutritious meal every school day of the 2018/2019 academic year.

In the 2019/2020 academic year, the number of children covered under the programme is 2,848,580.

Out of the 17,726 school feeding caterers and cooks in all 16 regions, 6,996 of them have been trained in health and nutrition, food safety and menu development using the school meal planner software in six regions.  The training will continue in the remaining  10 regions in 2020.

Initiatives 
The 2020 budget outlines some programmes to be undertaken by the government to ensure the effective management of the GSFP.

These include: operationalising the agricultural module of the GSFP to link farmers to it: reviewing and updating of the GSFP operations manual and piloting of the National Cocoa Drinks project in public primary schools and kindergartens to benefit one million pupils.