Findings of a new quantitative assessment of the impact of the Senior Citizens Grant in Uganda show that the programme has made deeper impacts than previously discovered. The findings of the impact evaluation indicate that among households receiving the grants, poverty reduced by 19 percentage points and household expenditure increased by 33 per cent.
The study undertaken by Development Pathways highlights that many older persons and their families use the income from the social pension to invest in productive assets such as livestock and to become active in the labour force. It also found that the grants reduced child labour among benefiting households, and improved education outcomes among children living with older persons who receive the grant.
The study is the first to look at the grant’s impacts over a number of years and assessed the effect on the wellbeing of older persons and their households looking at poverty, material deprivation, livelihoods and productive assets.
Stephen Kasaija, head of the Programme Management Unit at the Expanding Social Protection Programme in the Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development said: “This study is unique because it covers the SCG’s impact on beneficiaries over six years of implementation, and it uses the most recent available national data from the 2014 Census and 2017 household surveys.”
“This is the first quantitative study to show the effects of the SCG on employment, child labour and education outcomes,” Bjorn Gelders, one of the authors of the report said. “The SCG appears to enable some older persons to stay active longer…the pension also brings positive benefits to children co-residing with older people: it reduces the prevalence of child labour and increases the average number of grades completed by school-age children.”
For last 8 years, the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has, with support from UKAID and Irish Aid, implemented the Expanding Social Protection Programme and the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) scheme. Under this scheme, the government provides a social pension (the Senior Citizens Grant) to older people of Shs 25,000—about £5 a month—to nearly 160,000 beneficiaries in 61 districts every two months.
The study focussed on the original 15 pilot districts in the first phase from 2011 to 2015, where all older persons 65 years and above (60 years in the case of Karamoja) received the grants.
Since its inception, SAGE has disbursed over UGX 244 billion to some 191,000 beneficiaries in 61 districts.
The impact evaluation, Quantitative Impact Analysis of Uganda’s Senior Citizens Grant, can be viewed by clicking here. Coming soon: reflections on the findings from Stephen Kidd.