HelpAge’s advocacy in Uganda resulted in the Ugandan government launching its first universal pension in July 2019 for all older adults age 80 and over. The pension means that 365,000 Ugandans will have a secure monthly income, many of whom did not one before.
To support the implementation of the pension, HelpAge mobilized 23 Older People’s Associations (OPAs) to educate older people about their entitlements, increase registration, collect data, and leverage that data to advocate for improvements in service delivery. Because of the evidence collected and presented by the OPA members to government officials, the government increased the number of pension distribution points available, improving access for more older adults to a secure income.
The little money I get helps to improve my agricultural production. I used it to pay to bring my grandson home when he lost his father. Due to the cash grant, I am now able to buy some soap and send my grandchildren to school.
– Okema, Gulu, Uganda
HelpAge’s Age Demands Action, a grassroots advocacy campaign led by older people, helped raise awareness about the challenges Ugandans face in older age, from ageism to barriers to health services. Our ongoing advocacy paid off, leading to Uganda signing the African Union’s Protocol to the Charter on the Rights of Older People. The Government of Uganda also has plans to develop a road map toward ratification.
Through HelpAge’s network partner Uganda Reach the Aged, we are assisting older elected district representatives and OPA leaders across 36 districts. The project provides training and tools for older people to advocate for more inclusive health and social services. Our efforts to increase political participation among older Ugandans have led the government to allocate 5% of its 2019–2020 social development budget to supporting district councils for older people.