UNICEF / Ghana - Android and web-based app for digital monitoring and reporting for Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Program
In 2008, the Government of Ghana launched the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) program to provide financial support to the extreme poor and vulnerable households with members who fall into at least one of the four categories: elderly (aged 65 and above without support), severely disabled without productive capacity, orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) and pregnant women or families with infants under 12 months. As of March 2018, LEAP was reaching over 213,000 households in all districts across the country.
Since its introduction, the LEAP program has progressed through many implementation revisions and improvements, from manual to digital data collection, and storage. Nonetheless, the processing and distribution of beneficiary transfer payments was being done manually. The Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection sought to update the operational processes by introducing electronic transfer payments through the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS). As such, GhIPSS had to register all beneficiaries onto the e-zwich digital payment platform.
Additionally, the LEAP systems needed to refine their monitoring framework to build upon the existing reporting application of LEAP payments which was facilitated by the District Social Welfare Officer (DSWO). To support the LEAP Management Secretariat (LMS) with this modification, there was a need to build an application for electronic monitoring, payment, and reporting of LEAP activities by District Social Welfare Officers (DSWOs.
To scale up the operations of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) program, the Government of Ghana with funding from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) sought to develop a software for digital monitoring and reporting of district-level LEAP activities and aggregation of district reports at the national level.
The design and implementation of the monitoring and evaluation application were contracted to Bewsys by UNICEF. In scoping the requirements of the application, Bewsys worked in close collaboration with the LEAP Management Secretariat and the UNICEF team (Social Policy Specialist) to identify existing evaluation indicators and monitoring processes. The team also reviewed the existing district monitoring and reporting forms, PF-1, PF-3, DF-1, and DF-2 among others, to help design the desired application.
The technical team worked on developing an Android App and a Web-based portal that fit the functional requirements. The application was custom-built on the registration, payment, case management, system administration, report generation modules of the Bewsys Social Protection MIS. The existing LEAP module was integrated into an open-source software application for reporting and monitoring. The application was designed to easily input data both on and offline.
The application featured a payment monitoring and reporting component and a component for logging LEAP activities by the District Social Welfare Officers (DSWO). The Bewsys technical team also enabled the management information system to ‘push’ updated district household lists onto mediums accessible through the DSWO login feature. The application was made to feature a graphical dashboard interface for users to generate reports based on user-defined data or indicators. Performance reports at the national, regional, and district levels were made to be automatically generated from the dashboard. Administrator rights were provided to the LEAP Management Secretariat program managers to manage the authorization of data entry officers for the app. GPS marking of data was also featured in the development of the application. In-built field validity checks were considered to ensure automatic data entry quality control.
After the development of the application, a pilot test was conducted to ensure functionality and feasibility. Additionally, the Bewsys technical team provided capacity building support and hands-on training to the LEAP MIS team and the other ‘super-users’.
The application was established in 30 districts across Ghana. The modification of the LEAP monitoring and evaluation framework has improved the operational processes within the program. The key stakeholders (i.e. LMS, DSWO, GhIPSS, and MoGCSP) have been able to collaborate perfectly to administer automated beneficiary payment administration, once every two months. The system is helping to ensure that beneficiaries are not denied their social protection rights. There have been few to no cases of reported leakage of benefits to non-deserving individuals or households.
The switch to e-payment has reduced the travel to and from the collection of payments. 85% of recipients reported spending 30 minutes or less to receive stipends through e-payment as opposed to two (2) hours of travel time for cash payments. This modification of LEAP’s operations contributes to effectively reducing poverty and hunger, and building resilience while promoting more inclusive and sustainable growth.
With the aid of the efficient Social Protection MIS, the objective is that the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, Ghana can increase coverage and targeted provision of social protection stipends to vulnerable households.