Regional News of Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Source: GNA

More people benefit from LEAP programme

A total of 73,134 people in 100 districts in all ten regions of the country have received social grants to improve their socio-economic status under the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme.

The grants are also to ensure the survival and development of their children as well as promoting the welfare of the vulnerable and excluded in society, Nana Oye Luther, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) announced on Tuesday.

Taking her turn at the meet-the-press series in Accra, Mrs Lithur said another 4,676 people have been identified and are ready to be enrolled. “This represents well over a third of the 232,000 people in the target population”

She said the Ministry further registered 288 people with disabilities (PWDs) to better target service delivery and successfully piloted four rounds of electronic payments of LEAP grants, piloted in three ecological zones for the purpose of ensuring secured, timely and efficient transfer of cash to beneficiaries.

She said the Gender Ministry has also submitted a Cabinet Memo and received approval to expand the Ministry’s mandate to include the power to establish institutional arrangements with the aim of coordinating social protection interventions in Ghana.

The Ministry further provided 7,331 market traders affected by fire in four markets with cash grants to replenish their businesses, thereby enabling them to recover and improving their ability to generate income.

The Minister announced that the Ministry has initiated plans to renovate the Efua Sutherland and Dansoman Children’s Parks to serve as good recreational centres for patrons in the country.

UT Bank is providing funding for the renovations, which forms part of measures to renovate all parks in the country for recreational activities.

The Minister explained that, the Ministry had already identified various children’s parks in the country which it intends to partner others to develop them.

To ensure gender equality and equity, the Ministry sponsored the draft Affirmative Action Bill, which is now ready with a second draft being prepared by the Attorney-General’s Department before submission to Cabinet.

The Ministry also co-sponsored the Intestate Succession and Property Rights of Spouses Bills with the Ministry of Justice as well as undertook fistula repairs for 68 women from the Upper East, Upper West, Volta and Central Regions of Ghana, in collaboration with a team of doctors at the Mercy Health Centre, Mankessim.

Beneficiaries have also received assistance to reintegrate into their society

Under the Gender Responsive Skills and Community Development Project (GRSCDP), the Ministry granted scholarships to 668 girls from 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 academic years, and presented equipment in 59 districts, including 25 to Department of Community Development-run institutions and eight to the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI)

The Ministry is also undertaken a research to increase research and improve data and information on children and Kayayei (Female porters) under a national registration exercise, adding that, there are currently about 17,000 female porters in the country with 51 per cent coming from a particular region.

Mrs Lithur explained that the “Kayayei” phenomenon was more of a developmental, cultural and social issue, which needed to be researched into, so that appropriate measures could be adopted to address it.

Under its programmes and policy for the aged, the Ministry established the Aged Desk in the Ministry and adopted Terms of Reference for the Aged Advisory Committee and raised awareness in three regions on issues concerning the aged.

The Minister said the Ministry had initiated a policy to implement free public transport and priority access for the elderly on private transport and in hospitals and banks while 3,530 people have been registered on the National Health Insurance Scheme database this year in a piloted biometric registration programme for the aged.

She said it is in collaboration with the National Health Insurance Authority, and that, “another 500 people will be registered this week”.

The National Council on Persons with Disability has also gained momentum as the Council has drafted accessibility standards for inclusion in the preparation of universal design principles for access and communications and equipping 2,100 beneficiaries with hearing aids in conjunction with the Starkey Hearing Foundation.