Many Ugandan households do not have regular, basic incomes and are exposed to a range of vulnerabilities, including food and livelihood insecurity. Before the start of the Expanding Social Protection project, Uganda had a number of social protection schemes in place. However, these were often inadequate and failed to reach many of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable.
Then, in 2011, the UK’s Department for International Development contracted Maxwell Stamp and Development Pathways to carry out a long-term project to build a comprehensive national social protection system that would help reduce chronic poverty and income insecurity in Uganda. The first phase of the project entailed the development of a national social protection policy and the implementation of a cash transfer pilot called Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment. SAGE piloted two schemes – a Senior Citizens’ Grant and a Vulnerable Families Grant – and is underpinned by a Management Information System that we developed.
Throughout the project, we have played an integral role in building political support for a more cohesive social protection system. Whereas in 2009 the Government of Uganda did not support the introduction of cash transfers, following the end of the first phase of the project it committed to a national rollout strategy and a progressive handover to be financed by the Government. We also provided a number of reports looking at different aspects of the project, including on the effectiveness of targeting; the success of the Senior Citizens’ Grant; and how to make systems lifecycle inclusive.
For the second phase, we are building on the successes of the first and will continue to provide strategic technical support and capacity building. The Senior Citizens’ Grant is being expanded and further advocacy work is being carried out to ensure governmental commitment towards embedding a comprehensive social protection system.