Ghanaian Government commits to enhancing social protection
The Government of Ghana has committed to increasing the reach of its social protection to 60,000 more vulnerable families, at the launch of Family research in Accra this week.
Children across Ghana are at risk of being separated from their families due to poverty, high fertility rates, trafficking into child labour, the death of one or both parents and migration*.
Our report1 examined the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme (LEAP), which aims to reduce extreme poverty by providing cash transfers to the most vulnerable. We found that the scheme can potentially prevent family separation through positively impacting child well-being, children’s care, family cohesion and the relationships between children and their carers.
Chair of Family and Director of Challenging Heights James Kofi Annan said: “We call for the expansion of LEAP to include coastal communities where poverty levels are extremely high and more than 49,000 children are engaged in child labour.
“We also want the removal of the current cap of four family members per household receiving benefits and an end to corruption which prevents money reaching the beneficiaries.”
In response the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, said the scheme will be expanded from helping 90,000 families to 150,000 families and strategically choose areas and families that need the most help. This expansion will focus on the coastal belt, and especially women who are pregnant and have children under the age of two.
There are also plans to remove the household cap, so that all beneficiaries can be helped and the amount of money given will increase.
Finally a commitment to changing the way payments are distributed was made. These will move online; paying beneficiaries electronically should cut back on corruption and increase integrity.
James said: “We welcome the Government’s major commitments made today to support the provision and reach of social protection in accordance with our recommendations.
“We will watch closely how the scheme enfolds in the hope that even more vulnerable families are supported, thus allowing thousands more children to grow up in a safe, caring environment.”
* Recent figures suggest that approximately 4,500 children in Ghana still live in institutions. Violence and abuse of children also persists with estimates of over 90 per cent having experienced physical violence in the home or at school Ghana also experiences a high incidence of child labour and is a country of origin, transit, and destination for adults and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking.
1 The research is a joint initiative by Family for Every Child and the Centre for Social Protection (CSP) at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) in the UK. Challenging Heights led the research in Ghana. It is part of a wider study on the linkages between social protection and children’s care in Ghana, Rwanda and South Africa.