Ghana's Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) programme & LEAP 1000
|Year Programme Began:||2008|
|Implementing Ministry:||Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection|
|Target Group:||Extreme poor with elderly, disabled or, OVC member|
|Conditions:||Expected, but not monitored|
|Approximate Reach (as of 2015):||150,000 households|
The Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) programme provides cash and health insurance to extremely poor households across Ghana to alleviate short-term poverty and encourage long term human capital development. LEAP started a trial phase in March 2008 and then began expanding gradually in 2009 and 2010. As of early 2015, the program reaches over 90,000 households across Ghana. It is the flagship program of Ghana's National Social Protection Strategy and is implemented by the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) in the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP).
Eligibility is based on poverty and having a household member in at least one of three demographic categories; single parent with orphan or vulnerable child (OVC), elderly poor, or person with extreme disability unable to work (PWD). Initial selection of households is done through a community based process and is verified centrally with a proxy means test. An exciting feature of LEAP, unique in the world, is that aside from direct cash payments, beneficiaries are provided free health insurance through the new National Health Insurance Scheme which began in 2004-05. This is facilitated through a memorandum of understanding between the MoGCSP and Ministry of Health; funds to cover enrollment in health insurance are transferred directly to the local health authority who then issues cards to LEAP households. Continued receipt of cash payments from LEAP is conditional on a health insurance card.
LEAP 1000 expansion
The targeting approach of LEAP, focused on households with orphans and vulnerable children and the elderly poor and disabled, leads to very few eligible families with young children. In response, the Government of Ghana, in partnership with UNICEF Ghana and USAID, has developed LEAP 1000, an expansion of LEAP to households with pregnant women and infants. Targeting children in the first 1000 days of their life is expected to improve child nutritional status and reduce stunting in Ghana. This pilot intervention, being rolled out in 10 districts in Northern Ghana, targets 6,000 households and consists of bi-monthly cash transfers delivered to eligible women and enrolment in the national health insurance scheme. The pilot is expected to run for three years (2015 – 2017).