SAGE roll out Dependent on Government Commitment

Published By UNNGOF |  March 9, 2015

On behalf of the Uganda Social Protection platform the Uganda National NGO Forum (UNNGOF) partnering with Kabarole Information and Research Center (KRC) organized an awareness meeting on Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment Program. The one day meeting held on 27th February 2015 at Gardens Restaurant- Fort Portal was attended by at least 110 people that included, RDCs, LC V Chairpersons, elders, District Speakers, ULGA representatives, District Planners, Community Development Officers, CSOs and the media.

The meeting fostered understanding of social protection and developed realistic proposals and approaches to influence processes towards the institution of a valid senior citizens grant.

Mr. Alfred Nuamanya, Head of Programs at UNNGOF, informed participants that the Uganda Social Protection Platform is a loose coalition of CSOs engaging on social protection issues in Uganda, is currently chaired by Uganda National NGO Forum and housed by Development Research and Training (DRT). The platform is implementing a number of activities that will enhance grassroot demand for national roll-out of SAGE; these include study tours of local leaders to SAGE beneficiary districts, regional awareness workshops on social protection/SAGE, radio programs and dialogue meetings with Uganda Local Government Association.

Mr. Steven Asiimwe the RDC Kabarole called upon CSOs to use media to mobilize citizens for the social protection campaigns while emphasizing the need for people to work hard and plan for their old age. He emphasized the need to have accurate data about the elders to support the advocacy campaign. He pledged to work with the elders associations to advocate for the roll out of SAGE in the Rwenzori districts.

Members committed to use their structures to advocate for the roll-out of SAGE in all Uganda districts which gave hope to the elders. Members also resolved to do more sensitization and mobilization for SAGE roll-out in the whole country and the need for accurate statistics about elders so that government is engaged effectively. Members called upon the local councils to should pass policies that will respond to elders’ demands in their respective districts.

Mr. Wilson Isingoma the RDC Ntoroko re-echoed the need for senior citizens to have decent livelihoods. He added that this requires government’s intervention and commitment to support the elderly. He emphasized the need for government to improve its planning and for citizens to engage their Members of Parliament to improve on the planning and budgeting processes. He called upon citizens to mobilize and take advantage of the prevailing peace in Uganda to work hard and save for their old age so that SAGE comes in as a supplementary income.

At the closure, participants testified to this being their first close interaction with SAGE information after the SAGE presentation by Mr. David Lambart Tumwesigye of the Expanding Social Protection Program from Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development. Mr. Tumwesigye disclosed that development partners had committed some funds to support SAGE  program but demanded government’s commitment to roll out the program. This therefore requires “big noise” from all corners of Uganda so that government could prioritise funding the program.

“The funds needed to roll out SAGE can only be raised if government prioritizes the programme,” said Mr. Tom Mboijana, a member for the Kabarole Elders Association.