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46TH PAYMENT CYCLE OF LEAP SOCIAL CASH GRANT TO ALL BENEFICIARY HOUSEHOLDS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

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.

23/07/2017

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Power of a cedi: Changing lives through LEAP

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“A lot of people are suffering. Sometimes, they don’t even have what to eat,” said Juliana Abare a community development officer working with the Kumbungu District of the Northern Region.

Juliana is one of many officers working with people who are selected to benefit from LEAP payments. Dark, savvy and chubby, Juliana wears her blue and white stripped smock as she leads to me to the site where beneficiaries of the programme work.
LEAP is an abbreviation that stands for the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty program. It’s one of the interventions the Ghanaian government wants to use to bridge the poverty gap.
Whenever politicians in Ghana are asked about how they are dealing with the worsening levels of poverty their answer has been LEAP and how it is changing lives.

Under the cash transfer programme beneficiaries receive between 70 and 107 cedis every two months.

The good stories and the bad

My name is Justice Baidoo and in this programme for Hotline, I’m in Gugkpanarigu, a small town in the Northern Region. I’m here meeting two Ghanaians. One a is a LEAP beneficiary. The other isn’t.

LEAP coordinator Juliana is the one taking me round.
First I meet Mamunatu Danaa. She is a widow in her mid-fifties. Juliana has just brought me to meet a group of women engaged in shea butter processing on the outskirts of Gukpanarigu.

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Many of the women here are widows who buy shea nuts mainly in the dry season to make butter and other products like soap and cream. They sit on small stools and logs, singing while they mix the shea butter.

 

Mamunatu lost her husband three years ago. Until LEAP, she was left to her fate.

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Now that my husband is not alive, whatever I am doing is difficult. He died and left behind children so as a widow, there are so many things you can’t do. So the LEAP money is all we depend on even though it’s not much. When my husband passed on, one of my older children dropped out of secondary school because I couldn’t pay the fees. So now, I am focusing on the little ones so that they can finish school,” Manunatu said.
Mamunatu, with her 7 children, receive 107 cedis every two months under this programme.

“With the money I get, I use some to buy the nuts and then I prepare the butter in the dry season,” she said.

Mamunatu is just one of nearly 150,000 people who are currently supported by LEAP. She is obviously, one of the lucky few.
Currently, nine out of 10 of Ghana’s poorest people who are supposed to be on a social intervention such as LEAP are not enrolled. That is, only one out of 10 Ghanaians eligible for LEAP benefits is covered.

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Many of these uncovered people live in Gupanarigu. A small town of about 1,500 people, this is a community mainly inhabited by farmers. Life is tough here. The rainy season only lasts for less than four months. And with farming activity here entirely rain-fed, there is virtually no economic activity for more than half of the year. Sayibu Neindow is the Assemblyman.

“The poverty level in this community is very serious such that most of the inhabitants find it very difficult in assessing the basic social amenities. As I’m speaking if you go into the communities you see young men sitting under trees waiting for the rains to set in and others have also moved down south to find money to come and till their land when the rains are back,” he said.

Gupanarigu’s story runs through those of several others in the Northern Region. With 1.3 million people in this region alone now desperately poor, according to the Ghana’s statistical Service, the Northern Region is the third poorest of Ghana’s ten regions. The region is however the worst in terms of depth of poverty.

The poverty affects every aspect of life here. The roads are bad, farmers have no money to buy fertilizer and the hunger is choking.

“This time, without money, farming is valueless. If you farm and you cannot get fertilizer whatever you farmed will not produce anything. When the roads are not motorable, your yields will be stuck,” Sayibu said.

And that, essentially is the story of Ghana’s poorest regions.

Just on the outskirts of Gupanarigu, Juliana has brought me to meet Zinabu. She, like Mamunatu, is a widow and has 8 children.
Her 17-year old daughter, Amina has just been sent home as she’s unable to pay her fees. Now she is down with an unknown sickness and has no money to seek medical care.

Amina is Zainabu’s only child who is still in school. Her six other children dropped out of school when her husband died. Now, as is the case is with some women who lose their husbands in parts of Ghana, her husband’s family are threatening to throw her out of her family house.
“My husband’s family wants me out. I don’t have anywhere to go,” she said.

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LEAP coordinator Juliana said “people are suffering. Some don’t even have what to eat. I always like to help people. There is the need for the LEAP programme to be expanded.”
From my stay in this community it is clear that at least for those who are covered by the LEAP programme, there seems to be a semblance of change. But it appears majority are those yet to benefit.

Many of them, including children, are starving. They need help.

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Gender Ministry to increase LEAP beneficiary households

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The Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection is to enroll 65,147 additional households in 31 districts from seven regions onto the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme by next month.

The beneficiary districts are from the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Volta, Central, Eastern, Western and Greater Accra regions.This is under LEAP’s expansion phase II A programme, while the Phase II B would be completed in December to increase the beneficiary households from 147,881, as of July this year, to 250,000 households by the end of the year.LEAP is a cash transfer programme aimed at reducing poverty by increasing consumption and promoting access to services and opportunities among the extreme poor and vulnerable persons. It is the government’s flagship social protection programme which is being managed by the Gender Ministry and implemented by the LEAP Management Secretariat.

Sensitisation 

As part of the process, a two-day sensitisation workshop has been organised for chief executive and social welfare officers of the beneficiary districts in Koforidua to enlighten the participants on the LEAP Programme, as well as to solicit their support for the implementation of the programme at the district levels.

Delivering a speech at the workshop, the Chief Director of the ministry, Mr Kwesi Armo-Himbson, lauded the metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives for their role in ensuring the effective implementation of the LEAP programme, as well as all the social protection intervention programmes at the district and community levels and stressed that the ministry saw them as “key allies in the achievement of its objectives.”

Reducing poverty

He indicated that the Social Protection agenda was aimed at reducing poverty and vulnerabilities as enshrined in the National Social Protection Policy that was launched in June, 2016.

The policy, according to him, will ensure that all social protection interventions are coordinated properly to ensure that extremely poor households derive maximum benefits from all the social protection interventions.

He mentioned some of the achievements of the LEAP Programme as the transition from manual to electronic payment of LEAP cash grant to beneficiaries, using the E-Zwich platform of Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), and the nationwide registration of members of LEAP beneficiary households onto the National Health Insurance Scheme.

He gave an assurance that the programme was on course to reach the target by the end of 2016.

Commendation 

For his part, the Director of Research from the Local Government Service, Dr Charles Kesse, lauded the ministry for its efforts to create a voice for the voiceless in the society.

He stated that the social protection interventions being implemented under the MoGCSP worked into Ghana’s decentralisation process, which gave decision-making power to the people at the local level.

He reiterated that the Local Government Service would continue to support the ministry in the implementation of social protection interventions.

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PRESS RELEASE: 43rd Payment Cycle Of LEAP Social Cash Grant

147,881 households to be paid for the months of May and June, 2016


The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme, will commence its 43rd payment cycle from 1st to 5th August, 2016. A total of 147,881 beneficiary households in 187 districts will be paid their LEAP grants. During the payment period which covers 2 months; one eligible household member will receive GHS 64.00, a two eligible member household receives GHS 76.00, while a three eligible member household will receive GHS 88.00 and four or more eligible member household will receive GHS106.00. These payments cover the months of May and June, 2016.slide4

This 43rd cycle payment will include 192 households from the ‘Alleged Witches Camps’ in Gushiegu in the Northern region and the Mampong Babies Home in Ashanti region. This group of beneficiaries fall under the specialised category for automatic inclusion onto the LEAP Programme. The inclusion of the specialised category of beneficiaries is in line with the Programme’s objective to reduce the plight of the vulnerable and marginalized in the society.

All the beneficiaries will be paid electronically using the e-zwich platform of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS). This payment platform uses biometric fingerprint to verify beneficiaries before payment.
The LEAP Programme is making impact on the lives of its target group: orphans and vulnerable children, elderly above 65 years, and persons with severe disability without productive capacity. An independent research conducted by Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), a leading civil society organization, between 2014 and 2015, indicates that LEAP contributed to 12% increase in school enrollment of children of school going age. Other findings from the research include: children in LEAP households are more motivated to attend school; Improved access to health care through NHIS for LEAP beneficiaries, 65% of LEAP households reported an increase in food security for the children, 62% of beneficiary are able to purchase fertilizers and 63% of LEAP households have invested their accumulated grants savings into economic activities in their communities.

The findings from the CDD research corroborated the 2012 findings from the impact assessment conducted by ISSER and North Carolina University of USA in 2012. Another round of impact evaluation of the Programme is being conducted by the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana.

By the LEAP Programme design all LEAP beneficiaries are to be registered on the National Health Insurance Scheme free-of-charge to improve access to health care for the extremely poor, vulnerable and excluded. In line with this, the LEAP Programme in collaboration with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) is embarking on a nation-wide registration of new LEAP beneficiaries who have not yet acquired the National Health Insurance card. The number of beneficiary household members to be registered in this exercise is 214,067 members.

ISSUED BY:
LEAP PROGRAMME SECRETARIAT
MINISTRY OF GENDER CHILDREN
AND SOCIAL PROTECTION, ACCRA.

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PRESS RELEASE: LEAP Programme Registers Beneficiaries Onto The National Health Insurance Scheme

The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme in collaboration with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) will conduct a nation-wide exercise to register LEAP beneficiaries onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) from 18 July to 21st December, 2016.DSC_0647

The nationwide NHIS registration for LEAP beneficiaries is a follow-up to a successful pilot registration exercise that was undertaken in March 2016 in the Shai Osudoku and Ada West Districts of the Greater Accra region. During that exercise, a total of 856 beneficiaries were registered onto the NHIS platform and some of them had their cards renewed. The registration exercise under the LEAP Programme is targeted at all LEAP beneficiary household members who do not have NHIS card or whose NHIS registration cards will expire within three months from the date this exercise is initiated in a district.

The NHIS registration is an automatic complementary service for all LEAP beneficiaries under an MOU signed between the Ministry and the NHIA. The objective of the NHIS registration is to increase access to health care services among the LEAP beneficiaries.

The NHIS registration for LEAP beneficiaries will be carried out in 185 LEAP Districts. Nearly a total of 281,656 beneficiary household members are expected to benefit from this exercise.

The LEAP Programme is both a conditional and unconditional cash transfer programme being implemented by the LEAP Programme Secretariat under the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP). The objective of the Programme is to reduce poverty by increasing consumption and promoting access to services and opportunities among the extreme poor and vulnerable households. For an extremely poor household to qualify for LEAP, it must have at least one member who is an Orphan or a Vulnerable Child or an elderly person aged 65 years and above without any support or a severely disabled person without any productive capacity and or a pregnant woman or a child under 2 years of age.

As a result of this process, it is expected that LEAP beneficiaries will access free health care. This will subsequently lead to a considerable reduction in healthcare expenditure for LEAP households thereby enabling LEAP households to use the cash grant on other productive activities.

The Programme wishes to appeal to all stakeholders and the general public to support this registration exercise.
ISSUED BY:
THE LEAP PROGRAMME
MINISTRY OF GENDER, CHILDRENAND SOCIAL PROTECTION (MoGCSP)

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LEAP Commences Nation-Wide Biometric E-Payment Registration Of Beneficiaries

The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme, has commenced the biometric registration of beneficiaries in the country.  This is aimed at capturing beneficiary data onto the E-Zwich platform to facilitate funds transfer electronically. 3

The LEAP Programme Manager Dzigbordi Agbekpornu who disclosed this in an interview said the biometric registration, which is nation-wide, will cover all beneficiary households in the 185 LEAP districts across the country.

The Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GhIPSS) has been contracted by the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), the oversight Ministry for LEAP, to roll out the Electronic Payment (e-Payment) system for the programme.  This follows a successful e-payment pilot by GhIPSS in some selected districts.

LEAP Programme is a conditional and unconditional cash transfer being implemented by the Department of Social Development under the MoGCSP.  The programme aims at reducing poverty by increasing consumption and promoting access to services and opportunities among the extreme poor and vulnerable households with orphans and vulnerable children, elderly persons 65 years and above without any support and severely disabled persons without any productive capacity and recently, extreme poor pregnant mothers and children under 2 years old.

Mr.  Agbekpornu explained that the E-Payment system is aimed at improving the cash transfer arrangement and make it more robust, efficient and secure. He said it also comes with a second level biometric verification, which will authenticate the identity of LEAP beneficiaries, avoid the issues of intermediaries and prevent impersonation during payments. 2

The system will lead to financial inclusion as beneficiaries would automatically be enrolled into the banking system.  Beneficiaries will also have greater control over management of their funds as they will decide when to access funds, unlike the manual on the spot payment system.  Additionally, it will deliver accurate and timely generation of payment reports for the LEAP programme.

The LEAP Programme Manager was excited about the opportunity to pay LEAP beneficiaries electronically and hope that the e-Payment system will inject efficiency into the operations of the programme.

GhIPSS together with some Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) financial institutions are on hand to enroll the beneficiaries and issue them with e-zwich cards.