The Ghana Employment and Social Protection Programme,(GESP) is to provide about 304 vulnerable groups with entrepreneurial skills as a long-term measure of curbing poverty among them.
Though many social protection schemes existed in the country, their focus had been on allowances to beneficiaries but the GESP would create lifelong living of economic empowerment.
The beneficiaries, drawn from the Western, Western North and Ashanti Regions would be trained in snail farming, poultry, piggery, leather works and beading among other trades.
Dr. Esther Ofei- Aboagye , A Key Expert on the Project during the Launch of the project dubbed; Productive Inclusion in Sekondi said Ghana took steps to strengthen coordination of social protection delivery in 2013 with the creation of the Ministry of the Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP).
It brought together project focal persons from the Social Welfare and Community Development Departments and other sectoral heads .
The (GESP) Programme, She noted was a collaborative effort between the Government of Ghana (GoG) and the European Union (EU), intended to contribute to inclusive growth in Ghana by strengthening social protection and employment systems in Ghana.
She said the social protection under GESP programme had been designed to address issues and challenges to enhance the government’s capacity to execute social protection interventions in a more sustainable manner.
The GESP project would contribute to inclusive and equitable growth in Ghana by strengthening Social protection and employment systems in the country.
The Consultant said, “The GESP aims to enhance social protection services, notably for vulnerable population groups and to generate decent employment opportunities, particularly for the youth”.
Ultimately, the GESP would enhance effectiveness and efficiency of the social protection system, improve employment policy management at Central and local level, strengthen technical and vocational education and training for the informal sector and improve access to effective business development services and finance in an enabling environment.
The aforementioned would be achieved more effectively through institutional capacity development and support for modernisation of training and curriculum at institutions.
Dr. Ofei-Aboagye said, “We hope to advance Technical assistance to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the social protection systems in Ghana through support to the MoGCSP since the government and its agencies have principal responsibility for developing, resourcing and delivering social protection with the active participation of beneficiaries, communities and civil society.
Mr. Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, the Western Regional Minister noted how initial efforts towards improving human development indicators, especially in health, education, had resulted in significant investments in social protection.
The “Productive Inclusion” as one of the tools to reduce vulnerability amongst the poor, break the cycle of poverty and cushion those with productive capacity and their families against risk and declines in quality of life is indeed imperative.
He however acknowledged how Social Protection Programmes were fragmented, poorly coordinated, ineffective targeting system, inadequately financed, which hindered programme impacts in the past and efforts to revise the trend.
“As it was founded on the principle that every Ghanaian matters and is capable of contributing his or her quota to national development.”
He added that the GESP programme in Western and Western North regions, though not in all districts fits perfectly well with the agenda of seeing and running the Region as an Enterprise, and promoting inclusion agenda in fulfilment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The intervention of the Productive Inclusion, he prayed would foster linkages to opportunities for beneficiaries to enhance their employment circumstances or business activities.
The Minister commended the Focal Persons for working hard to meet the deadline of identifying and submitting the beneficiaries list to enable the take off of the project in the two Western Regions.