The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) will commence its 46th cycle payment from 30th January to 03rd February 2017. This is the 46th cycle payment because since the inception of the programme in 2008, this payment marks its 46th bi-monthly payment of the cash grant to beneficiary households. A total of 213,320 beneficiary households in all the 216 districts of the country will be paid their LEAP grants. The payments cover the months of November and December, 2016. During the payments, a one eligible member household will receive GHS 64.00, two eligible member household will receive GHS 76.00, while three eligible member household will receive GHS 88.00. Then four and above eligible member household will receive GHS 106.00.
Beneficiary households of the LEAP Programme will be paid electronically on the e-zwich platform provided by Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) through its Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs). These PFIs are commercial and rural banks; and other registered financial institutions. The e-zwich payment platform requires that beneficiaries are verified biometrically through fingerprint before payment is effected. Generally, LEAP beneficiary households belong to the “unbankable” segment of the Ghana’s population. They are considered “unbankable” because of their deprived economic circumstances, limited access to information and low confidence level to enable them participate in the formal financial or banking sector. The use of e-zwich platform and financial institutions to cash-out their money will ultimately promote financial inclusion for these beneficiaries.
In the development literature, there is consensus that giving of social grant or money to beneficiary households is critical but not sufficient to reduce poverty. Conscious of this, the LEAP programme links beneficiary households to other (complementary) social services to boost the impact of the cash grant to households. The participation of households in some of these social services are conditions for continues membership of the programme. For instance, in terms of education, households are expected to enrol their children in school and ensure they remain in school. In the case of healthcare, the LEAP Management Secretariat (LMS) in collaboration with National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has embarked on a nationwide free registration of LEAP household members onto the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIS) and renewal of their expired NHIS cards. Through NHIS, household are now able to access free and relatively affordable healthcare. Furthermore, households are expected to send their children under five years for regular antenatal healthcare services.
At the programmes level, there is a grievance redress mechanism in place to address the concerns of beneficiary households and other stakeholders. Ensuring the effective resolution of grievances is a core quality control measure of the LEAP programme. In essence, there are systematic processes for receiving, investigating and resolution of grievances; and the sharing feedback to parties involved. These channels allow grievances to emanate from any level of the LEAP implementation structures such as the individual household, community and district levels; and then regional and national levels.
The implementation of the LEAP programme is led by District Social Welfare Officers (DSWOs). One of the main challenges of most DSWOs at the implementation level is means of transportation. With support from the World Bank, the LEAP Management Secretariat through the MoGSCP procured over 200 motor bicycles which have been distributed to DSWOs across the country. The provision of these motor cycles to the DSWOs will ultimately culminate in enhanced service delivery.
Finally, we call on all stakeholders of the programme to contribute their quota to make the 46th cycle LEAP grant payment exercise, as usual, a success.
LEAP MANAGEMENT SECRETARIAT,
MINISTRY OF GENDER CHILDREN
AND SOCIAL PROTECTION, ACCRA.