Combating Poverty towards Actualizing the Millennium Development Goals and Beyond: Do Cash Transfer Programmes add up to the Agenda?
The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) among other things have not only brought poverty reduction onto the global development agenda but have also urged countries to help halve poverty by 2015. Various policy initiatives have been implemented towards actualizing the first MDG. Ghana, through its policy programmes is at the verge of meeting MDG 1 well before 2015. One of such programmes is the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) which provides direct cash transfers to extreme poor and vulnerable. Do cash transfers add up to the agenda? By invoking a non-parametric chi-square test, we find evidence of the contribution of the cash transfer programme in LEAP-ing beneficiaries out of poverty by supplementing their income levels as well as improving their livelihoods. At least in our study area, we found a 29% decrease in the number of beneficiaries earning below the lower poverty line while 61% have been able to meet part of their basic needs. To ensure a continual reduction in poverty, we argue for the need to fundamentally go beyond short-term gains through co-ordinated, purposeful social and complementary services that will create opportunity for empowerment among the poor and vulnerable households.
International Burch University