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LEAP beneficiaries must be evaluated regularly

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Social Leap Reassessment
Social Leap Reassessment

Panelists discussing the reevaluation of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme have suggested that the initiative be reviewed regularly.

They said it would help in the efficient removal of empowered beneficiaries from the Program and the inclusion of new ones.

The panelist made the call at the Fifth National Social Protection Dialogue Series in Accra on Tuesday.

It was on the theme: “Enhancing the Wellbeing of Vulnerable Ghanaians through Effective Social Protection Systems.”

The two- day programme, organised by the Gender Ministry, provided the platform for stakeholders to discuss the key social protection issues in Ghana.

The fifth series dwelt on the pilot reassessment of the LEAP programme and the role of social protection initiatives in addressing food security.

The LEAP is a cash transfer programme introduced by the government in 2008, for extremely poor and vulnerable households which have orphaned and vulnerable children, persons with severe disabilities without productive capacity and elderly persons above 65 years.

The main objective of the programme is to reduce poverty by increasing and smoothening consumption and promoting access to services and opportunities among the extremely vulnerable.

Mr Myles Ongoh, Programme Manager, LEAP, said the programme must ensure that people who are eligible benefit, therefore it would scientifically remove those who have made progress in life through complementary services.

He stated that the beneficiaries would not remain on the programme indefinitely and that they were anticipated to be self-sufficient within four years of enrollment.

Dr Stephen Afrane, Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana, noted that some beneficiaries inherited their participation in the Programme from deceased family members.

He stated that bringing stakeholders together and educating them would prevent disinformation and politicisation of the intervention.

Dr. Afrane emphasised the need for beneficiaries to be aware and reminded that they would not be on the initiative for the rest of their lives in order to erase every sense of entitlement.

Madam Christiana Gbedemah, Social Policy Specialist at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), advocated for improved complementary services and connections to empower recipients.

She noted that the LEAP must have routinely updated data, as well as a case management system to determine who died and those who are no longer eligible to be on the programme.

Mr Jeleel Auberon Odoom, Executive Director, Inclusion Ghana, called for the strengthening of systems that support social protection.
He stated that beneficiaries who were disabled or had serious disabilities must be considered, and the difficulties of remaining abled ones must be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Mr Colson Akanbasaim, Head of Communications, LEAP Management Secretariat, said the reassessment process aimed to identify and determine the poverty status and eligibility of households (LEAP and non-LEAP) that should benefit from the Initiative.

He said the goal was to eliminate instances of inclusion and exclusion mistakes caused by the cyclical nature of poverty and improve the efficiencies of allocating funds to the most vulnerable households.

Mr Akanbasaim stated that LEAP households were intended to be reviewed every four years, but this had not been done since the launch of the programme in 2008 owing to several factors, including funding.

The Pilot Reassessment of LEAP was implemented in ten districts, two districts each from Upper West, Upper East, Savannah Northern and North East Regions due to the completion of the Ghana National Household Registry (GNHR) data collection in these regions.

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