In this paper Development Pathways’ Stephen Kidd discusses the success of Uganda’s Senior Citizens’ Grant (SCG), with evidence from the evaluation of the programme. The SCG, a Government of Uganda collaboration with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Irish Aid, is a universal old age pension pilot for everyone over 65 years of age – and 60 years in the Karamoja region – across fifteen of the Uganda’s 112 districts. Its universal nature makes it very different to most other schemes piloted by donors in Africa, since it is designed to be an entitlement rather than social assistance for the poor.
The paper highlights the significant improvements in the lives of the 125,000 beneficiaries and their families since the SCG commenced. Recipients of the pension report that some of its benefits include the ability to meet daily basic needs, access private medical services in times of illness, and provide monetary support to grandchildren. The pension gave beneficiaries a greater sense of dignity, as recipients saw improvements in their status in the community because they were less reliant on begging. The paper also notes positive spillover effects of the SCG in the wider community.
The second phase of the Expanding Social Protection Programme (ESP II) is implemented by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) of Uganda, funded by the UK Department for International Development and Irish Aid, and managed by Maxwell Stamp in association with Development Pathways.
The SCG is very popular programme in Uganda and the Government of Uganda has recently committed to its expansion across the country, and it is currently being rolled out.