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Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) programme

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 (2015)

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

Year Programme Began:2015-2017
Implementing Ministry:Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection
Target Group:Households with pregnant women and infants
Conditions:Expected, but not monitored
Approximate Reach (as of 2015):6,000 households (2015-2017)

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).

Type Title Theme(s) Year Citation
Journal Article More Evidence on the Impact of Government Social Protection in Sub Saharan Africa: Ghana, Malawi and Zimbabwe Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being; Poverty Reduction and Food Security 2021

Handa, S., Otchere, F., Sirma, P. and (2021), More Evidence on the Impact of Government Social Protection in Sub Saharan Africa: Ghana, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Dev Policy Rev. Accepted Author Manuscript. https://doi.org/10.1111/dpr.12576

Journal Article Urban cash transfers and poverty in Ghana Cash Plus Programmes; Poverty Reduction and Food Security 2021

Cuesta, J., & Danquah, M. (2021). Urban cash transfers and poverty in GhanaReview of Development Economics001-23https://doi.org/10.1111/rode.12817

Working and Position Paper Social Networks and Risk Management in Ghana's Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme Resilience and Productive Impacts 2015

Daidone S, Handa S, Davis B, Park M, Osei RD and Osei-Akoto I. (2015).Social Networks and Risk Management in Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme,Innocenti Working Papersno. 2015-06, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, Florence.

Dataset Ghana: LEAP1000 Programme Ghana: LEAP1000 Programme
Blog It's Payday! What a cash transfer looks like in GhanaMichelle Mills, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti,December 2015 Programme Evaluation and Design 2015 It's Payday! What a cash transfer looks like in GhanaMichelle Mills, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti,December 2015
Blog Doing impact evaluation in a remote region of GhanaNikola Balvin, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti,October 2015 Programme Evaluation and Design 2015 Doing impact evaluation in a remote region of GhanaNikola Balvin, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti,October 2015
Brief Mills M and Barrington C. (2016).Utilizing Qualitative Methods in the Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation,Methodological Briefsno. 2016-02, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence. Cash Plus Programmes 2016 Mills M and Barrington C. (2016).Utilizing Qualitative Methods in the Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation,Methodological Briefsno. 2016-02, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence.
Brief Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation: Overview of Study Design Cash Plus Programmes 2016

de Groot R. (2016). Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation: Overview of Study Design,Methodological Briefsno. 2016-01, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, Florence.

Brief Ghana LEAP 1000 impact evaluation: Analysis of transfer size and estimated impacts Cash Plus Programmes 2016

de Groot R and Handa S. (2016). Ghana LEAP 1000 impact evaluation: Analysis of transfer size and estimated impacts.Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-11. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Video Cash Transfers for Mother Baby Health in Ghana Cash Plus Programmes 2016 Cash Transfers for Mother Baby Health in Ghana
Video Tia Palermo on Leveraging Cash Transfers to Reduce IPV Cash Plus Programmes 2019 Tia Palermo on Leveraging Cash Transfers to Reduce IPV
Journal Article Perspectives of adolescent and young adults on poverty related stressors: A qualitative study in Ghana, Malawi, and Tanzania 2019

Hall B, Garabiles M, de Hoop J, Prencipe L, Pereira A, Palermo T. (2019).Perspectives of adolescent and young adults on poverty related stressors: A qualitative study in Ghana, Malawi, and Tanzania.BMJ Open, 9(10).

Journal Article Myth-busting? Confronting Six Common Perceptions about Unconditional Cash Transfers as a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Africa. World Bank Research Observer, 33(2): 259 298 2018 Handa S, Daidone S, Peterman A, Davis B, Pereira A, Palermo T, Yablonski J on behalf of the Transfer Project (2018). Myth-busting? Confronting Six Common Perceptions about Unconditional Cash Transfers as a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Africa. World Bank Research Observer, 33(2): 259 298.
Journal Article The livelihood impacts of cash transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa: Beneficiary perspectives from six countries Gender and Gender-Based Violence 2017

Fisher E, Attah R, Barca V, O’Brien C, Brook S, Holland J, Kardan A, Pavanello S and Pozarny P. (2017). The livelihood impacts of cash transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa: Beneficiary perspectives from six countries. World Development, 99: 299-319.

Working and Position Paper Myth-busting? Confronting six common perceptions about unconditional cash transfers as a poverty reduction strategy in Africa. Innocenti Working Papers no. 2017-11, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence 2017 Handa S, Daidone S, Peterman A, Davis B, Pereira A, Palermo T and Yablonski J. (2017). Myth-busting? Confronting six common perceptions about unconditional cash transfers as a poverty reduction strategy in Africa. Innocenti Working Papers no. 2017-11, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence.
Brief 'Cash plus': Linking cash transfers to services and sectors 2018 Roelen K, Prencipe L and Palermo T. (2018). 'Cash plus': Linking cash transfers to services and sectors. Innocenti Research Brief 2018-19. UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence, Italy.
Brief The impact of cash transfers on food security Poverty Reduction and Food Security 2016

Hjelm L. (2016). The impact of cash transfers on food security. Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-01. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief The broad range of cash transfer impacts in sub-Saharan Africa: Consumption, Human Capital and Productive Activity Adolescents; Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2014

Davis B and Handa S. (2014). The broad range of cash transfer impacts in sub-Saharan Africa: Consumption, Human Capital and Productive Activity. Transfer Project Research Brief. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief The Cost of Social Cash Transfer Programs in sub-Saharan Africa Programme Evaluation and Design 2013

Plavgo I, de Milliano M and Handa S. (2013).The Cost of Social Cash Transfer Programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Transfer Project Research Brief 2013-01. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief Evaluating the Impact of Cash Transfer Programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. IPC-UNDP Research Brief Programme Evaluation and Design 2012 Davis B, Gaarder M, Handa S and Yablonski J. (2012). Evaluating the Impact of Cash Transfer Programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. IPC-UNDP Research Brief.
Journal Article Child malnutrition, consumption growth, maternal care and price shocks: new evidence from Northern Ghana Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2020

de Groot R, Handa S, Ragno LP, & Spadafora T on behalf of the Ghana LEAP1000 Evaluation Team.(2020).Child malnutrition, consumption growth, maternal care and price shocks: new evidence from Northern Ghana,Development Studies Research,7:1,18-30,DOI:10.1080/21665095.2020.1722721

Journal Article Impacts of a social protection program paired with fee waivers on enrollment in Ghana's National Health Insurance Scheme. Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2019

Palermo T, Valli E, Angeles G, Barrington C, Adamba C, Spadafora T, On Behalf of the LEAP 1000 Evaluation Team. (2019). Impacts of a social protection program paired with fee waivers on enrollment in Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme. BMJ Open, 9(11).

Journal Article Child marriage and associated outcomes in Northern Ghana: a cross-sectional study Adolescents; Gender and Gender-Based Violence 2018

de Groot R, Yiryele Kuunyem M and Palermo T on behalf of the Ghana LEAP 1000 Evaluation Team. (2018). Child marriage and associated outcomes in Northern Ghana: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 18: 285.

Journal Article Cash transfers and child nutrition: Pathways and impacts Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2017

de Groot R, Palermo T, Handa S, Ragno LP and Peterman A. (2017). Cash transfers and child nutrition: Pathways and impacts. Development Policy Review, 35: 621-643.

Journal Article Can Social Protection Affect Psychosocial Wellbeing and Why Does This Matter? Lessons from Cash Transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2016

Attah R, Barca V, Kardan K, MacAuslan I, Merttens F andPellerano L. (2016). Can Social Protection Affect Psychosocial Wellbeing and Why Does This Matter? Lessons from Cash Transfers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Journal of Development Studies, 52(8).

Journal Article Impact of cash transfer programs on food security and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa: A cross-country analysis Poverty Reduction and Food Security 2016

Daidone S, Ruvalcaba MA, Prifti E, Handa S, Davis B, Niang O, Pellerano L, Quarles van Ufford P and Seidenfeld D. (2016).Impact of cash transfer programs on food security and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa: A cross-country analysis. Global Food Security, 11: 72-83.

Journal Article Is Graduation from Social Safety Nets Possible? Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa Poverty Reduction and Food Security; Resilience and Productive Impacts 2015

Daidone, S, Pellerano, L, Handa, S and Davis, B. (2015),Is Graduation from Social Safety Nets Possible? Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa. IDS Bulletin, 46:93102. doi:10.1111/1759-5436.12132

Journal Article A simulation impact evaluation of rural income transfers in Malawi and Ghana. Journal of Development Effectiveness 4(1): 109-129 2012 Filipski M. (2012). A simulation impact evaluation of rural income transfers in Malawi and Ghana. Journal of Development Effectiveness 4(1): 109-129.
Book Chapter Social Protection and the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) Programme in Ghana: Generating Positive Change through the Power of Evidence. In From evidence to action: The story of cash transfers and impact evaluation in sub-Saharan Africa. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press 2016 Ragno LP, Hague S, Handa S, Ablo M, Twun-Danso A, Ofori-Addo L, Alviar C, Davis B, Pozarny P, Attah R, and Taylor JE. (2016). Social Protection and the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) Programme in Ghana: Generating Positive Change through the Power of Evidence. In From evidence to action: The story of cash transfers and impact evaluation in sub-Saharan Africa. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Working and Position Paper Can social assistance (with a child lens) help in reducing urban poverty in Ghana? Evidence, challenges and the way forward Poverty Reduction and Food Security 2018

Devereux S, Abdulai A-G, Cuesta J, Gupte J, Ragno LP, Roelen K, Sabates-Wheeler R, Spadafora T. (2018). Can social assistance (with a child lens) help in reducing urban poverty in Ghana? Evidence, challenges and the way forward. Innocenti Working Papers no. 2018-16, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. Florence, Italy.

Working and Position Paper Child malnutrition, consumption growth, maternal care and price shocks: new evidence from Northern Ghana Cash Plus Programmes; Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2017

de Groot R, Handa S, Ragno LP and Spadafora T. (2017). Child malnutrition, consumption growth, maternal care and price shocks: new evidence from Northern Ghana. Innocenti Working Papers no. 2017-01, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. Florence, Italy.

Working and Position Paper Linking social rights to active citizenship for the most vulnerable: the role of rights and accountability in the 'making' and 'shaping' of social protection. Innocenti Working Papers no. 2017-14, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti. Florence, Italy 2017 Sabates-Wheeler R, Abdulai AG, Wilmink N, de Groot, R and Spadafora T. (2017). Linking social rights to active citizenship for the most vulnerable: the role of rights and accountability in the 'making' and 'shaping' of social protection. Innocenti Working Papers no. 2017-14, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti. Florence, Italy.
Working and Position Paper How to make 'cash plus' work in social protection: linking services and sectors. Innocenti Working Papers no. 2017-10 2017

Roelen K, Devereux S, Abdulai AG, Martorano B, Palermo T and Ragno LP. (2017). How to make ‘cash plus’ work in social protection: linking services and sectors. Innocenti Working Papers no. 2017-10, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. Florence, Italy.

Working and Position Paper Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition: What we know and what we need to know Health, Nutrition, and Well-Being 2015

de Groot R, Palermo T, Handa S, Ragno LP and Peterman A. (2015). Cash Transfers and Child Nutrition: What we know and what we need to know, Innocenti Working Papers no. 2015-07, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. Florence, Italy.

Brief Utilizing Qualitative Methods in the Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation, Methodological Briefs no. 2016-02, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence 2016 Mills M and Barrington C. (2016). Utilizing Qualitative Methods in the Ghana LEAP 1000 Impact Evaluation, Methodological Briefs no. 2016-02, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence.
Brief Ghana LEAP 1000 impact evaluation: Targeting effectiveness. Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-10 Cash Plus Programmes 2016

de Groot R and Handa S. (2016). Ghana LEAP 1000 impact evaluation: Targeting effectiveness. Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-10. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief Ghana LEAP 1000 impact evaluation: Baseline highlights Programme Evaluation and Design 2016

de Groot R. (2016). Ghana LEAP 1000 impact evaluation: Baseline highlights. Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-09. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief Ghana LEAP programme increases schooling outcomes. Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-04 Education and Child Labour 2016

de Groot R. (2016). Ghana LEAP programme increases schooling outcomes. Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-04. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief Measurement of interpersonal violence in national social cash transfer evaluations. Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-05 Gender and Gender-Based Violence 2016

Palermo, T.(2016). Measurement of interpersonal violence in national social cash transfer evaluations. Transfer Project Research Brief 2016-05. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief Schooling impacts of Ghana's LEAP programme Education and Child Labour 2015

de Groot R. (2015). Schooling impacts of Ghana’s LEAP programme. UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti Research Brief 2015-06, Florence.

Brief How much do programmes pay? Transfer size in selected national cash transfer programmes in Africa Programme Evaluation and Design 2015

Davis B and Handa S. (2015). How much do programmes pay? Transfer size in selected national cash transfer programmes in Africa. The Transfer Project Research Brief 2015-09. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Brief The Impact of Social Cash Transfers on Schooling in Africa: An Update from the Transfer Project. The Transfer Project Research Brief 2015-01 Education and Child Labour 2015

Handa S and de Milliano M. (2015). The Impact of Social Cash Transfers on Schooling in Africa: An Update from the Transfer Project. The Transfer Project Research Brief 2015-01. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Ghana's Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme

Data Collection
    Years: 2010 - 2012
    Sample Size: 1,613 at baseline (699 treatment, 914 comparison); 1,504 at endline (646 treatment, 858 comparison)
    Location: Three Regions: Brong Ahafo, Central and Volta
Evaluation Design: Propensity Score Matching
Key Partners/Implementers:

UNICEF Ghana

ISSER – Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research of the University of Ghana-Legon

UNC-CH – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Funders:

DFID – UK Department for International Development

3ie – International Initiative for Impact Evaluation

Reports

LEAP Baseline Evaluation Report

LEAP Operations Report

LEAP Impact Evaluation

LEAP Endline Evaluation Report

LEAP Endline Evaluation Report Appendixes

Ghana LEAP 1000 Programme Evaluation

Data Collection
    Years: 2015 - 2017
    Sample Size: 2,497 (1,262 treatment; 1,235 comparison)
    Location: Three districts in Northern Region and two districts in Upper East Region
Evaluation Design: Regression Discontinuity Design
Key Partners/Implementers:

UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti

UNICEF Ghana

ISSER – Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research of the University of Ghana-Legon

UNC-CH – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Novrongo Health Research Centre

Funders:

USAID – US Agency for International Development

UNICEF

Reports

LEAP 1000 Baseline Evaluation Report

LEAP 1000 Endline Evaluation Report