Challenges of the Targeting Approach to Social Protection: An assessment of the Ghana Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty Programme in the Wa Municipality of Ghana
Global debates on social protection have raised concerns about the appropriateness of the targeting approach for better inclusion. This study contributes to these debates by exploring the specific challenges associated with the targeting mechanism adopted by the Ghana Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) programme within the Upper West Regional programme district of Wa Municipality of Ghana. Qualitative data on beneficiaries’ perceptions and experiences with the LEAP programme were collected through in-depth interviews with 30 LEAP beneficiaries and key informant interviews with three LEAP implementers. The findings reveal widespread perceptions of inclusion errors associated with the targeting approach adopted by LEAP. These perceived inclusion errors are as a result of lack of transparency in the handling of procedures, political interference in the selection process and poor data on household’s poverty statuses. Unintended consequences of the approach include poverty-labeling, stigmatization and envy of beneficiaries leading to hatred and conflicts which are capable of destroying social cohesion in rural beneficiary communities. A sense of beneficiary powerlessness to question the ‘ills’ in the operations of programme is also a challenge inherent in the targeting approach. To ensure effective targeting, there is the need for education to be provided on the purpose, selection process and benefits of the programme, particularly, at the community level. There is also the need to strengthen the monitoring of the selection process. It is important that civil society organizations provide complementary interventions to empower beneficiaries to demand for their entitlements from the programme.
Keywords: Social Protection, Cash Transfers, Targeting Approach, Challenges, Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty, Ghana
© 2018 The authors.
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