By Our Reporter
The Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD), Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, has revealed that the government introduced the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) program in a bid to uplift and improve the livelihoods of elderly persons in Uganda.
In his message to all Ugandans to commemorate the International Day of Older Persons, the Minister noted that as we celebrate the International Day of Older Persons, which is observed every October 1st, remember that government through the Expanding Social Protection (ESP) rolled out the SAGE program to help the elderly.
Quick Facts About SAGE
Here are some of the facts about SAGE:
Since 2010, the government of Uganda, through MGLSD’s under the ESP, programme has implemented the Senior Citizens Grant initially in 15 pilot districts, eventually rolling out in a phased way. By June 2019, the Programme was reaching some 169,000 beneficiaries in 61 districts. Of these 60% are female and 40% male.
The government announced a national roll out of the Senior Citizens Grant to reach all 135 districts in the country. By the end of August 2020, the Programme had been rolled out to all districts in the country, reaching some 350,000 older persons.
The Senior Citizens Grant is implemented under the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) under the Expanding Social Protection Programme (ESP) in the Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development.
The Ministry of Gender implements the ESP programme with support from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Officer (FCDO) and Irish Aid.
During the 2019 International Day of Older Persons, H.E Vice President Edward Ssekandi, who represented H.E President KagutaMuseveni, launched the national roll out of the Senior Citizens Grant to all districts, during a function that was held Boma Grounds, in Kumi District.
To qualify to be enrolled on the Programme this year 2019/20, one must be 80 years and above, registered with NIRA for a national ID and not receiving any other government pension.
Of the 1.6 million older persons in Uganda, only about 7% access a pension; over 93% have no reliable income in their old age. Moreover, 64.5% of these older persons have disabilities, 10.7% live alone, while 72% of households headed by older persons have children they care for
The Senior Citizens Grant is meant to address poverty and vulnerability among older persons by providing regular and reliable income support by way of monthly grants. Older persons receive Shs25,000 per month, paid out every 2 months.
By supporting older persons with SAGE they are enabled to access basic health services, send children in their care to school, build secure, sustainable and productive livelihoods, and become more active and productive members of the communities.
The Senior Citizens Grant enables older persons to access basic services e.g clothing, healthcare, food, etc and where they can, to invest so that they can multiply their income and enhance their income security.
Although the Senior Citizens Grant targets older persons, the grants benefit more than only the senior citizens. The SCG have significant impact on development outcomes as older people tend to invest a portion of their grant money in meeting their grandchildren’s nutritional, health, education needs
Currently, the Senior Citizens Grant is paid out through Post Bank and Centenary Bank. For an older person to be enrolled in the programme, they must be 80 years and above, registered with NIRA and not benefiting from any government pension.
There remain many older persons who are not registered with national ID. Many of such unregistered Older persons missed out on the payments during the national roll out. Older persons should go register for a national ID in order to benefit from the SAGE program.
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