In Uganda, over 1.5 million older people experience poverty, loneliness, and isolation. Little consideration and representation of older people in policymaking has left them largely excluded from social services and livelihood programs. Older people meanwhile continue to contribute invaluably to their families and communities. Of the estimated 1.7 million children that have been orphaned in Uganda due to HIV/AIDs, 50% are in the care of an older person.
We’re supporting Uganda Reach the Aged Association (URAA), a member of the Uganda Social Protection Platform, to advocate for an expansion of the Senior Citizens Grant in Uganda. The Senior Citizens grant is a social pension designed to reduce poverty in old age by providing a minimum level of income security. We assist URAA to educate Uganda’s Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development on the benefits of expanding pension coverage and ways to improve its implementation. Currently eligible older Ugandans receive $7 a month through the Senior Citizens Grant.
Through our coordinated advocacy, the Government of Uganda has committed to extending the pension program from 40 to 45 districts. By expanding to 5 more districts, almost half the country will now have access to pension coverage.
Older people have been instrumental to improving implementation of the social pension. The research older citizen monitoring groups have collected has highlighted issues such as long distances to distribution centers and the importance of older people having the option to send a representative to collect payments on their behalf. The monitoring groups found instances where frail or sick older people had to be taken to pay points in wheelbarrows because the program did not have an option to appoint a representative. A different service provider is now distributing payments from a mobile unit, and a means of allowing alternative recipients is under discussion.
Support HelpAge so that everyone in older age can say, “I have the income I need.”
To learn more about the Senior Citizens Grant http://socialprotection.go.ug/senior-citizens-grants-scgs/