Social Policy and Protection

UNICEF works with the Government of Ghana to design policies and services aimed at providing a safe and inclusive environment for children.



Despite the positive trends in economic growth, the rate of inequality has increased with disparities both between and within regions, and between rural and urban areas

Nearly one person out of ten still lives in extreme poverty. The extremely poor are particularly vulnerable to sickness, unemployment, disability and loss of assets. This in turn increases the risk of falling even further into poverty and deprivation.

The poorest groups of the population are mainly small-scale farmers. While they produce enough cereals and tubers for household consumption, access to livestock and fish is limited and the food sources are primarily carbohydrates, resulting in limited variation in diet.

In these households with limited resources, a combination of factors leads to inadequate nutrition and an unhealthy life for the family. Such households frequently have limited access to foods that are rich in nutrients or potable water. They cannot often access adequate health services and often cannot practice appropriate sanitation and hygiene management. 

This trend is passed onto future generations of children, affecting their growth and development, hindering learning in school and subsequent future productivity.

A boy rests his head on his mother's shoulder at the Plaza Health Center in Bolgatanga, Ghana on Thursday November 11, 2010.

When it comes to poverty and inequality, children bear the heaviest cost

According to UNICEF research, 3.65 million children in Ghana live in poverty and 1.2 million live in extreme poverty with inadequate resources to meet their basic food needs.

Additionally, a child is 40 per cent more likely to live in poverty than an adult. The Under-five Mortality Rate remains high - one child in every 17 born in Ghana not making it to their fifth birthday.

Malnutrition is among the key underlying causes of high mortality in children. The effects of lack of nutritional food persist into adolescence and adulthood, with close to half of adolescent girls aged 15-19 being anemic.

A woman holds her child while they wait at the Plaza Health Center in Bolgatanga, Ghana on Thursday November 11, 2010.


Since 2008, UNICEF has supported the Government of Ghana to design and implement the LEAP Programme. The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme is a social cash transfer programme, which provides of cash to poor households to empower the poor and vulnerable populations to “leap” out of poverty. 

It is targeted at extremely poor families with the following four specific categories of persons: The elderly (65 years and above without any productive capacity), orphans and vulnerable children, persons with disabilities who are unable to work and pregnant women and infants under 12 months old.


Find out more about how UNICEF works with partners to give every child in Ghana a fair chance in life