Image Alt​​​​​​​​​​​ The Ghana Social Opportunities Project (GSOP) has through the Labour Intensive Public Works programme, delivered 248 small earth dams and dugouts in rural communities mostly within the northern section of the country to guarantee all year round water availability for poor rural households and also as a means of improving food security. The rehabilitation/constructional works included improvement in the earth embankments, rip-rapping and the planting of vertiva grass to protect the upstream and downstream slopes respectively and in some cases increasing the reservoir area by extension of embankments or expanding dugouts into small earth dams. There were also other works like de-silting reservoir areas, widening and restoration of spillway structures, as well as repair of irrigation structures. GSOP, which came into being in 2010, is a Government of Ghana initiative with funding from the World Bank. The LIPW programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) through the various beneficiary District Assemblies, with support from the National Co-ordinting Office of the Project and 5(No) Regional Co-ordinating Offices spread across the country. The LIPW programme sets out to maximize local employment, while rehabilitating productive infrastructure/ assets which have the potential to generate local secondary employment and protect households and communities against external shocks". The rehabilitated small earth dams are located within 37 of the 60 beneficiary District Assemblies, in the country. Apart from the community members being temporarily employed and in the process earning cash, the secondary benefits include the use of the dams for dry season farming, provision of water for livestock watering, building and maintenance of local housing structures, among others. “Implementation of the small earth dam and dugout sub-component of the Projects, for instance, has till date provided job opportunities for over 66,567 extremely poor persons. These persons have over the last five years all together earned a total of GH¢35,288,205 (more than 50% of the budget) in the form of wages,” The LIPW programme has also engaged over 64,198 unskilled persons from rural communities to rehabilitate feeder roads to improve access and another 35,973 unskilled persons to participate in climate change mitigation interventions such as re-afforestation and the establishment of plantations of fruit trees and other woodlots. Some of the measures put in place to achieve results include the implementation of Social Accountability and Grievance Redress Mechanisms; quality works supervision, an Electronic Payment System to enhance delivery and monitoring of payments to beneficiaries. BACKGROUND The Ghana Social Opportunities Project (GSOP), in a broad sense, is a Government of Ghana initiative that seeks to further the objectives of the National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) by strengthening the implementation of two key Social Protection (SP) interventions namely the on-going Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme and the newly introduced Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW) which is aimed at employment generation for the unskilled poor through public sector works. OBJECTIVE OF GSOP Improve targeting of Social Protection programs and provide income support to poor households through LEAP grants and LIPW infrastructure in targeted districts OBJECTIVE OF LABOUR INTENSIVE PUBLIC WORKS (LIPW) To provide targeted poor rural households with access to employment and income earning opportunities, in particular during seasonal labour demand shortfalls through rehabilitation and maintenance of public or community assets ELIGIBLE ACTIVITIES/SUB-PROJECT CATEGORIES (LIPW) - Rehabilitation and maintenance of Rural Feeder and Access Roads. - Rehabilitation of Small Earth Dams and Dug-outs/Irrigation Systems and related works. -Soil and Water conservation activities e.g. Afforestation /Re-forestation Grassing and other \Biodiversity Conservation activities. - Any other eligible public works or activity with high labour content that will generate productive employment. KEY FEATURES OF GSOP LIPW - Sub-projects are located close to the rural poor to ensure minimum transactional cost to the poor - Sub-projects deemed eligible must have high employment generation capacity (for unskilled labour) - At least 50% of a sub-project’s budget must go directly to the poor in the form of wages - Implementation is carried out mostly during agricultural off season (dry season) - The works are designed in such a manner that would encourage high for female participation read more Story By: Daniel Kwarteng (GSOP- Web - Based Communications Assistant)