Poverty Eradication, Women Empowerment Dear To My Heart – Hon. Otiko
June 4, 2018 2:43 pm
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba has disclosed her unrelenting dedication to the empowerment of women and the fight against poverty in Ghana and Africa at large. The Hon. Minister while delivering her keynote address at the opening of the Learn Innovative Impact Model-UN (LIIMUN) Summit held by Footprints Development International at the Ashesi University said poverty eradication and women empowerment are of great concern to her personally since she suffered childhood poverty.
Narrating her ordeal to the enthusiastic youth at the Summit, Hon. Otiko said she had to wash bowls and work as waitress at restaurants and bars to be able to further her education. She however advised the youth not to allow any condition in life deter them from pursuing their dreams.
The Summit on the theme; “THE ROAD TO 2030: EMPOWERING WOMEN ECONOMICALLY AND ENDING POVERTY” focused on two topics;1. Social protection as an instrument for poverty reduction and 2. Empowering women economically for development. Participants at the summit were expected to produce two project concepts congruent with forgoing goals to be implemented after the conference.
The Hon. Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection said “these two topics are of great concern to me personally and my ministry as well, since I suffered childhood poverty and the topics are geared towards discussing how Ghana can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals one (1) and Five (5).”
In her address, she indicated that, based on the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS 6) data, the levels of poverty have dropped significantly, with poverty rates reducing from 28.5% in 2002/2003 to 24.5%, and extreme poverty rate reducing from 18.2% to 8.4%. “Despite these positive trends, the rate of inequality has grown with significant difference between regions and between rural and urban areas” .
She added, the extreme poor are particularly vulnerable to shocks and risks such as sickness, unemployment disability, loss of assets and old age, pushing them even further in poverty and deprivation. According to the Hon. Minister, the Ghana National Household Registry data on Upper West Region disseminated only last two weeks indicates there is extreme poverty of 56.5% in that area. The data also indicates that there are over 30,000 individuals with various forms of disabilities.
Hon. Otiko added “poverty and disability are not excuses for one to beg on the streets, begging is not a profession and nobody should encourage begging on the street, therefore, all should join hands to take beggars off the streets, as the ministry walks the talk with the ‘#Operation Get Off the Streets for a Better Life’, our walk is incomplete as long as there is 1% of poverty” she stressed.
Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba mentioned that Ghana Social Protection has introduced social intervention tools as a means of combating poverty. “The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) cash transfer programme currently has 212,545 households and individual beneficiaries for 216 MMDAs. It caters for the aged who are 65years and above, care givers of orphans and vulnerable children, persons with severe disabilities without productive capacity, pregnant women and Children under 2years old. Last year, MOGCSP collaborated with NHIA to enroll 13816 prisoners in Ghana unto The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). A Help Line of Hope Call Centre, with a toll-free number of 0800 800 800 and 0800 900 900 was launched last year by the Ministry as part of improving case management system in Ghana, and so far, 300 cases have been resolved. The Ghana Schools Feeding Programme currently covers over two million pupils in 5,528 schools across the 216 MMDAs (37%)”.
Amidst these achievements, there are some challenges such as the lack of comprehensive sustainable financing for social protection implementation, inadequate capacity building, inadequate logistics, inadequate staff and lack of legal backing for social protection implementation.
The Hon. Minister therefore admonished the students to be well disciplined, have regular exercise and have good eating habit to prevent an amorphous shape. They should endeavour to grab all opportunities being rolled out by the Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo’s government such as the Planting for Food and Jobs which has created 750,000 direct and indirect jobs, Nation builders Corps among others.