The Role of Traditional Authorities in the Implementation of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Cash Transfer Programme in Krachi East, Ghana

This study examines the role of traditional leaders in the implementation of social protection policies at the local level. In Ghana, traditional leaders play significant roles at the community level and have been incorporated into the modern state as development intermediaries, yet there is a paucity of research on their role in the implementation of social assistance programmes. This paper draws on fieldwork from three communities in the Krachi East District – Dormaben, Addo Nkwanta, and Adumadum – to explore the social interfaces and power relations involved in the implementation of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) cash transfer programme. Data were gathered through semistructured interviews with key stakeholders, as well as through participant observation and informal discussions. The study established that although the oversight responsibilities of chiefs and traditional leaders are limited in the current democratic dispensation, they continue to operate in an informal space through social norms and practices in the community. The research revealed that although traditional leaders’ roles are unofficial, they use their power to influence core LEAP implementation processes: targeting, sensitization and enrolment, payment, monitoring, and grievance redress mechanisms. This study calls for the need to pay attention to the local power dynamics at the community level.