She said media organisations needed to make social protection and poverty reduction relevant to the public by allocating more editorial space and airtime to such issues and making them a key feature of mainstream reporting.
Ms Arthur made the call when Challenging Heights, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Winneba organised a one-day media workshop on the theme, ‘LEAP and its effects on child well-being, care and family cohesion.’
The workshop was aimed at building the capacity of Ghanaian journalists on social protection interventions such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme.
Ms Arthur noted that social protection is an effective tool to prevent and fight poverty, promote pro-poor growth and make economic growth more sustainable and therefore, there was the need for the media to include the views of the less privileged including the problems and challenges they face and the solutions they feel are needed to reduce poverty in their reportage.
She said because the media plays an important role in creating greater public debate and awareness, journalists needed to be supported to develop their range of knowledge, skills and contacts to enhance the quality of their media content.
“Journalists also need to scrutinise and hold governments, state bodies, politicians, donors, businesses and NGOs accountable for their actions on poverty reduction, thus acting as a force to increase the transparency and accountability of decision-making,” she added.
The Advocacy Officer of Challenging Heights, Ms Akua Boatemaa Duah, explained to the journalists the linkages between social protection and the quality of children’s care; social protection and the loss of parental care or family separation; and how social protection influences decisions about foster or kinship care.
She said LEAP, despite its challenges, is making significant contributions in addressing poverty and vulnerability among the poor and poorest households in Ghana.
“Social transfers such as LEAP can directly and immediately reduce the vulnerability of the young and the old and are an effective tool to fight poverty,” she said.
Ms Duah urged government to increase the amount of money given to beneficiaries to ensure that the intervention serves its purpose of alleviating poverty.