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The Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, John Alexander Ackon, has urged the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) and Department of Social Welfare (DSW) to support in the implementation of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme. He was speaking at a day sensitization workshop for 52 selected MMDCEs held at Sunyani in the Brong-Ahafo Region. Mr. Ackon said the workshop is to equip MMDCEs with the requisite knowledge and skills on LEAP programme, its project cycle, effective participation, monitor and processes as well as institutional structure and support LEAP programme in their various districts. He called on the Social Protection Committees to support the Distract Assemblies in the implementation of the Social Protection Interventions at the District and the community levels. According to Ackon, the LEAP programme began in 2008 with 21 districts, adding that, it is currently in 144 districts in the country and supported by the Department for International Development, United Nations Children’s Fund and World Bank. The participants were drawn from Northern sector districts namely, Brong-Ahafo, Upper East, Upper West, Northern and Ashanti region. The LEAP is also a cash transfer programme and managed by the ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection through the Department of Social Welfare. It also receives technical support from the UNICEF-Ghana social protection team. From an initial coverage of 1,654 extremely poor households in 21 districts in 2008, by September, 2014 it reached over 77000 households in all 10 regions of the country. The Deputy Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, Justice Samuel Adjei added his voice that the LEAP programme aimed to provide a safety net for the poorest and most marginalized groups in the country. He again noted that it seeks to protect and empower extremely poor families consisting of the elderly aged 65 and above without sustainable source of livelihoods, care-givers of orphans and vulnerable children, persons and severe disables. Mr. Adjei added that it’s to provide them with financial support as well as enabling them to access complimentary services such as the National Health Insurance Scheme and education. He noted that the LEAP programme in the region started as a pilot at Techiman Municipal Assembly in four communities. According to him, 153 households benefiting from the pilot project, saying, the programme has been expanded to include 13 Assemblies with a combined total of 182 communities and a total of seven thousand 534 beneficiary households. Mr. Adjei pointed out that the long term goal is to contribute to poverty reduction and food security in Ghana. He entreated the MMDCEs to contribute effectively to enable them contribute towards the improvement of the LEAP programme and also help in the implementation of the programme.

Source: Biiya Mukusah Ali/http:/newspaper.developghana.com/

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