The government of Uganda is doing its part to help the country’s increasing elderly population, by offering them a monthly cash grant as part of the Expanding Social Protection Program (ESP).
The program has received support from Irish Aid and the UK Department for International Development in order to help the elderly meet their basic needs, while teaching them how to invest further to improve their income security.
an older couple from Baakijjulula village in central Uganda told the Guardian that the monthly grant of 25,000 Ugandan shillings (£5.60), has totally changed their lives.
“We had no money to spend. The house was very weak. It leaked when it rained. This [new house] is very good. We are now okay,” Eseli Nambi said.
The couple, who don’t have children, are among the more than 150,000 Ugandans who are benefiting from the ESP initiative.
Improved Quality of Life
Through the program, the government hopes to address the plight of hundreds of thousands of Ugandans aged 65 and above.
The project, which was started in 2010, is now available in 40 districts across Uganda, with many people who were initially skeptical now offering their support.
According to the Guardian, research shows that the small stipend given to senior citizens each month is having a “big impact,” with some experts saying that it’s helping address serious issues, such as extreme poverty and vulnerability of the elderly, especially in rural areas.
“People who used to have one meal a day say they can have three meals a day. The quality of the food has improved as they buy more nutritious foods,” ESP Director Stephen Kasaija explained to the Guardian.
BY FREDRICK NGUGI.