The National Social Protection Strategy represents the Government of Ghana vision of creating an all inclusive society through the provision of sustainable mechanisms for the protection of persons living in situations in extreme poverty. Vulnerability and Exclusion II is founded on the principle that every Ghanaian matters and is capable of contributing his or her quota to national development.
This document recognizes the important contributions already made by the formal and informal sectors towards the management of diverse forms of risks and shocks that are not uncommon within the context of a developing country such as Ghana. Some of these instruments and interventions have been in existence over a relatively long period of time and require review in relation to their targeting effectiveness, while others, due to their proven impact deserve replication and expansion. New interventions have also been introduced in response to emerging social protection concerns in the country.
Poverty trends show that an estimated 40% of Ghanaian are "poor", thus referring to citizens who have the capacity to meet their basic nutritional needs, but are unable to cater for additional necessities such as health, shelter, clothing and education. Furthermore, reports indicate that approximately 14.7% of the population are afflicted by "extreme poverty" and are thus unable to cater for basic human needs including their nutritional requirements and additionally suffer from inter-generational poverty.
Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and NEPAD targets will require a reversal of this trend. Development with a human lace through a National Social Protection Strategy of this kind is an appropriate and effective recourse against an array of life cycle risks and shocks such as unemployment, sickness, disability and old age that extremely poor people are unable to absorb.
The NSPS has charted an innovative and context appropriate course by investing in the extreme poor, recognizing the fact that they possess the potential to contribute to national development through pro-poor growth. The Ghana Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy II (2006-2009), the nation’s development goal is to attain middle income status by the year 2015 with a per capita income of $1000. The NSPS supports this vision by empowering extremely poor citizens to contribute to and share in the benefits of socio-economic growth by freeing them from the issues of under development.
The NSPS will achieve its poverty reduction goals by implementing the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Social Grants scheme that will provide target groups with a reliable and cost-effective cash transfer to support their basic human needs. The LEAP programme will not only provide a "spring board" to lift or assist beneficiaries to "leap" out of their current socio-economic status by improving their livelihoods but will assist them to access existing government and social services that will provide them with a buffer against various risks and shocks.
The LEAP programme will assist targeted groups to become socially empowered by increasing their access to education, healthcare, and other human services. By supporting beneficiaries with a reliable minimum income, the LEAP programme provides basic livelihood security and increases the ability of target populations to plan for the future. With their basic subsistence secured, the extreme poor will become full participants in society and will be free to engage m productive activities to support themselves! Ultimate!} contribute to national development reducing the incidence of domestic poverty’.
This Strategy will guide stakeholders and implementing agencies in the administration) Social Protection programmes with a view to bringing meaningful change in the lives) Ghanaians. To this end it is with a deep sense of commitment that the Governing through the Ministry of Manpower. Youth and Employment presents the first National Social Protection Strategy for implementation by Ministries. Departments, Agencies Civil Society Organizations.
The Ministry is deeply appreciative of the contributions and support of the Technical Working Group that supervised the formulation of this strategy. Membership consisted the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs. Department of Social Welfare, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health. Ministry of Food and .Agriculture, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and various Civil Society Organizations.
Finally the Ministry extremely grateful for the continued technical and financial support provided UNICEF. the Department for International Development (DflD), and members of Vulnerability and Exclusion Sector Group.