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Regional News Wed, 12 Mar 2008

LEAP to cover more districts within the year

WA, March 12, GNA - Mr George Hikah Benson, Upper West Regional Minister on Tuesday said more districts will be covered by the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP programme this year, and therefore urged the Department of Social Welfare to work with commitment and diligence to ensure its sustainability.

He said the programme showcases the commitment of the government to create an all-inclusive society that provided sustainable mechanisms for the protection of persons living in abject poverty, the vulnerable and the excluded.

The Regional Minister said this in an address read on his behalf by his deputy, Mrs. Winifred Dy-Yakah at a day's regional sensitization workshop on the "National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) and the LEAP programme at Wa. The NSPS, which is a five-year (2007-2012) project, seeks to empower extremely poor citizens to contribute to and share in the benefits of socio-economic growth by freeing them from the malaise of under development.

It will achieve the poverty reduction goals by implementing the LEAP Social Grants scheme that would provide target groups with a reliable and cost effective cash transfer to support their basic human needs.

Mr Benson noted that the programme would fast track the overall development agenda of the government along the lines of the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy two (GPRS II). He expressed his confidence in the success of the programme and was convinced that it would improve and increase the standard of living of target beneficiaries through reduction in the impact of risks and shocks that adversely affected their income levels. Mr Lawrence Azam, the Regional Director of Social Welfare appealed to the NSPS/LEAP secretariat to assist the region with logistics to enable the staff to discharge their duties efficiently. He regretted that his organization's District office in Lawra, which is one of the pilot districts for the programme, lacked basic necessities like a common typewriter not to talk about a computer.

Source: GNA