A study on the existence and effectiveness of social protection structures at the district and community levels in the Northern Region has revealed the absence of such structures affecting the effective implementation of government’s pro-poor interventions.
The study conducted in five districts, showed that only Gushegu Municipality and Tatale/Sanguli District had social protection committees, which had been meeting, while the rest including Mion, Zabzugu and Mamprugu/Moaduri did not have such structures.
The study, which was conducted by NORSAAC in line with the phase two of its Grassroot Rising for Enhanced LEAP (GREL) Project, and released at a stakeholders’ validation workshop in Tamale, also revealed that none of the districts had community level social protection committees.
GREL, which was piloted at Mion District for a year (2016 – 2017), sought to ensure citizens’ involvement and monitoring of social protection interventions to ensure success, and GREL phase two is a year’s project being implemented at the five districts with funding from Christian Aid.
The validation workshop was attended by representatives from Department of Social Welfare, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) amongst other social protection institutions in the Region.
The country’s social protection policy recommended the establishment of district and community level social protection committees to ensure effective implementation of government’s social intervention policies for the benefit of the poor in society.
The social intervention policies include Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty, exemptions under NHIS, and Labour Intensive Public Works.
Mr Alhassan Mohammed Awal, Executive Director of NORSAAC, who spoke at the validation workshop, expressed the need for revamping of the structures and establishing the linkages and coordination amongst them.
Mr Awal said this would enable beneficiaries to gain other benefits that they were entitled to, such as free health insurance, free school uniforms, capitation grants amongst others.
Mr Prosper Kwasi Oyeh, Northern Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare, urged officers of social protection institutions in the region to step up sensitization on the government’s pro-poor interventions to enable beneficiaries to better understand them.
Mr Oyeh also expressed need for social protection institutions to be formed in districts and communities that lacked them, and strengthening of the structures to ensure that they functioned effectively.
Mr Mohammed Abdul-Salam, Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at the Northern Region Office of NHIA, urged other social protection institutions to facilitate the transportation of beneficiaries deemed poor to NHIS registration centres to be enrolled on the scheme.