Icon Our WorkUganda’s National Single Registry: a foundation for a digital social protection system

This report about the National Single Registry explores Uganda’s journey to establish an integrated and digital information system for social protection. It analyses the rationale, key functions, implementation approaches, institutional arrangements, and the place of the registry within Uganda’s digital ecosystem. It also presents insights and practical lessons gleaned from design and implementation of the digital platform.

The report was written by Development Pathways senior management information system specialist, Richard Chirchir, to showcase the importance of establishing digital and integrated information systems for social protection in developing countries.

It was produced as part of a collaborative project between Uganda’s Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the World Food Programme and Development Pathways. The project’s technology platform was financed by the Swedish, Irish, and United Kingdom’s governments. The hardware infrastructure was procured through the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund Phase 3 under the Office of the Prime Minister with funding from the World Bank.

Globally, there is a growing recognition that digital and integrated information systems are important policy tools for coordinating social protection programmes. There is however a dearth of literature on the practical design issues and reflections on journeys taken by countries to build such critical infrastructure. Consequently, many countries invest a lot of resources in study tours when they plan to design registries and information systems. This report therefore helps shine a spotlight on the crucial topic of information systems for social protection by systematically unpacking key considerations taken by Uganda in the design of its Single Registry.

Overall, Uganda’s National Single Registry is one important building block in its quest to establish a digital social protection ecosystem. The research shows that while technology elements are crucial for setting up integrated and digital information systems for social protection, they are not the only success drivers. In fact, Uganda’s Single Registry was underpinned by strong coordination mechanisms, a strong social protection policy environment, coordinated multi-stakeholder funding, broader e-governance system, a strong legal and governance framework and a young but growing data protection environment.