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Social protection programme’s role in tackling female genital mutilation highlighted

25/03/2019

Uganda’s Senior Citizens Grant (SCG) is contributing to the combating of female genital mutilation, the Government of Uganda has highlighted.

A video from the Government’s Expanding Social Protection programme – responsible for the implementation of the SCG – says that the social pension provides an alternative income source for those practicing FGM. In addition, the pension, piloted since 2011 with support from UK Aid and Irish Aid, provides a way to engage older persons over FGM and gender issues on payment days. Thus, this has also helped in moving away from some traditional cultural norms such as FGM. 

The video focuses on Karamoja and a grassroots campaign against the practice. It points to the work of the National Association of Women’s Organisations in Uganda, with support from the Republic of Ireland, in campaigning against the practice, which was outlawed in 2010. 

 Recipients who are reformed former FGM practitioners indicate the important role of the pension in the push against FGM. Doody Aine, Head of Cooperation in the Irish Embassy in Kampala, says that social protection is “a tool for strengthening gender equality and empowering women and girls”. Only last week, the agreed conclusions of the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women put forward measures to bolster the voice, agency and leadership of women and girls as recipients of social protection. 

A Development Pathways paper in 2012 shared the finding that pensions may be contributing to a reduction in female genital cutting in Karamoja, Uganda. That paper suggested that we need to understand much more about how social and economic interventions can work together to tackle harmful traditional practices. 

Meanwhile, a recent comprehensive evaluation of the Senior Citizens Grant was carried out by Development Pathways for ESP and Uganda’s Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development. This provided further evidence of the benefits of the social pension for both recipients and their households.

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