By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
President John Dramani Mahama has announced that this year, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, with the support of Government, plans to increase the beneficiary families of Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) to 100,000.
However, the beneficiary household will be increase to 150,000 in 2015. He stated that through the LEAP programme, the sector Ministry made cash grants to 74,000 of the poorest households across the country.
‘This means currently, the poorest 74,000 families in Ghana will be able to afford food, clothing and the cost of basic transportation. Now, these families will have access to healthcare and education; now, these families can even invest in some small income-generating activity,’ said President Mahama.
President Mahama announced this when he delivered his second State of the Nation Address to the people of Ghana at Parliament on Tuesday 25 February, 2014.
He stated that the LEAP programme is not intended to be a source of long-term support to the same set of families. However, the purpose of these cash grants is to empower the poor and the vulnerable in the country.
‘It is to create opportunities in order to give them a way out of poverty. The programme ensures that the most impoverished among us can live in dignity. It offers them hope in their future possibilities, and a chance to participate in the collective future of our nation,’ he added.
Daily Express gathered that currently, the Ministry is implementing an electronic platform to deliver the grants to the beneficiaries using mobile phones.
Mobile devices are being distributed to the beneficiary families to enable them receive their transfers. With those mobile devices many households would also, for the first time, be able to connect to the national communication network.
The President said the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is a major instrument in an effort to create an all-inclusive society in which the weak and disadvantaged also have a stake in this nation’s progress.
He reiterated that the Ministry’s primary mandate is to promote the welfare and protection of children, and to empower the vulnerable, the excluded, the aged, and persons living with disability, and to ensure true gender equality.
‘A lot of this Ministry’s work involves advocacy and, in this regard, the Ministry has actively been involved in the drafting of the Affirmative Action Bill and the Intestate Succession and Property Rights of Spouses Bills. The Ministry also initiated the process for the validation of the Domestic Workers Regulation. These are pieces of legislations that are key to protecting the rights of our women and other vulnerable groups in our society,’ said President Mahama.
He noted that this Ministry is especially vigilant when it comes to the rights and protection of our children. The Ministry, together with the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) has led an awareness campaign against child marriage. As a result of this campaign, they have successfully extricated numerous children forced into marriage and returned them to their families and studies.
The Ministry has also provided the equipment and taken tool kits to 25 institutions across the nation to facilitate the technical and vocational training of young people.
It was also announced that the Ministry convened a team of doctors to perform the necessary surgeries on women with obstetric fistula in the Upper East, Upper West, Volta and Central regions. In addition to offering these women relief from the pain and discomfort of this childbirth injury, these procedures have restored their dignity and sense of self-worth.
Through government’s social intervention programmes it intends to create safety nets that protect the poor and vulnerable. ‘We must share the fruits of our growth equitably in order that we leave no one behind. This is the way we can guarantee that all our citizens are committed and have a stake in the survival and advancement of our nation,’ said President Mahama.