The Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development through the Expanding Social Protection (ESP) Programme, has provided 135 motorcycles to district local government District Community Development Officers to support the implementation of Senior Citizens Grant at the grassroots. The motorcycles were funded by development partners – UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and Irish Aid.
Officiating at the handover ceremony at Kololo ceremonial grounds, Hon. Sarah Kanyike, the State Minister for Disability and Elderly, appreciated the governments of the UK and Ireland for the technical and financial support they have extended towards the implementation of SAGE Programme over the years.
Mr. Aggrey David Kibenge, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, commended the district leadership for embracing and supporting the Programme. He said the motorcycles would enable community development officers (CDOs) to reach out to the weak and frail older persons who would otherwise miss the grant to ensure that they are enrolled and paid. He said the equipment would further support coordination and monitoring of Programme activities.
The Head of the ESP Programme Management Unit, Mr. Stephen Kasaija said the CDOs play a big role in the planning and coordination of SAGE implementation in registration, verification, identification and payment of eligible beneficiaries as well as managing complaints and grievances that occur during the process. The provision of motorcycles will make mobility easier for them and enhance service delivery.
The motorcycles were handed over to the chief administrative officers, who oversee the implementation of the Programme at the district level.
Ms. Betty Ikanza Kasiko from the FCDO who represented development partners, commended the Government of Uganda for rolling out the Senior Citizens Grant across the country despite the challenges that came with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said with the motorcycles provided, the 41,000 beneficiaries that had missed out during the mass registration would now be reached.
The Chief Administrative Officer, Masaka, Mr. Nathan Lugemwa, on behalf of CAOs, lauded Government for providing the tools that were critically needed for the execution of Programme activities. He pledged commitment to ensuring that the motorcycles are used well and for the work they were intended.
Through the Senior Citizens Grant under the Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE), Government provides a monthly grant of UGX 25,000 to older persons who are 80 years and above in all the 135 districts. Beneficiaries in the pilot districts who were enrolled into the Programme at the targeting age of 60 years and 65 years (in Karamoja region) as well as those who were enrolled under the oldest 100 per sub county, were maintained in the Programme.
Started in 2010, the Programme has over the years generated tremendous impacts on the lives of beneficiaries. With the SAGE Grants, beneficiaries are able to meet their basic needs, access basic services, form savings groups and start income generating activities at household level.
. The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, delivers the grant to older persons across the country, to reduce vulnerability associated with old age and reduced labour capacity.
Working together with the Programme Regional Technical Support Units, the Senior CDOs in charge of SAGE are constantly in touch with the Sub-county and Parish Chiefs, work for the Programme.