Background

Our Purpose

The purpose of the Expanding Social Protection Programme is to embed a national social protection system that benefits the poorest people among the population, as a core element of Uganda’s national policy, planning and budgeting processes Social protection is concerned with measures to ensure an adequate, acceptable standard of living for a country’s most vulnerable and excluded citizens; a means to ensuring dignity and the rights of citizens, which is also enshrined in Uganda’s Constitution.

At the core of all social protection systems are Direct Income Support programmes; these are regular, small transfers of money to individuals or households that provide a minimum level of income security.  The Senior Citizens Grants and Vulnerable Family Grants, being piloted by the ESP, are examples of Direct Income Support programmes.

ESP Programme Structure

  • (i) Policy:The objective of this element of the Programme is to put in place a policy framework for Uganda that guarantees and guides implementation of social protection in the country. Under this element, the ESP seeks to strengthen leadership on social protection issues across various institutions (Ministries, Departments and Agencies) of the Government of Uganda to implement social protection. This calls for a coordinated government approach to ensure that the requisite policy framework, funding, institutions and human resources are in place to support the social protection agenda in Uganda
  • (ii) Direct Income Support Pilot: This part of the Programme is responsible for the implementation of the two pilot schemes: The Senior Citizens Grants and the Vulnerable Family Grants. Under the Senior Citizens Grants, older persons 65 years of age and above (but 60 years in the case of Karamoja region) receive Uganda shillings 23,000 – about US$8 per month. The Vulnerable Family Grants are paid out to households with low labour capacity owing to age, physical disability, etc. and a high dependency (on others because they cannot work). Both schemes are being piloted in 14 districts in the country.For more information go to

Uganda’s Commitments to Social Protection

Article XIV of The Constitution of Uganda (1995) states that: The state shall endeavour to fulfill the fundamental rights of all Ugandans to social justice and economic development and shall in particular, ensure that…..All Ugandans enjoy rights and opportunities and access to education, health services, clean and safe water, work, decent shelter, adequate clothing, food security and pension and retirement benefits Under the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution, it states that “The State shall make reasonable provision for the welfare and maintenance of the aged.” Uganda’s 2010-2015 , National Development Plan (NDP) highlights social protection as one of the mechanisms to achieve social and economic development It outlines objectives for expanding social protection to reduce vulnerability and enhance productivity of the country’s human resource.

The identified activities include developing and implementing direct income support programmes for the elderly, persons with disabilities and the poorest section of the population, formulating a comprehensive social protection policy and strengthening mechanisms for coordinating social protection programmes.

Direct Income Support is therefore already enshrined in the country’s development plan. Further, the Government of Uganda has expressed its commitment to scaling up social protection through endorsing the Livingstone Call to Action (2006) which sets out commitments to social protection and calls on countries in Africa to put in place costed plans for the implementation of Direct Income Support programmes Uganda is also a signatory to the African Union Social Policy Framework (2008) which calls on member governments to recognize that social protection is a state obligation, with provisions in national legislations. Uganda’s National Policy for Older Persons, 2009 includes “Priority interventions” to “establish an older persons grants scheme”.

The National Orphans and Vulnerable Children Strategic Plan, 2010 identifies the need for “grants to vulnerable households” Ahead of the 2011 national elections, all major political parties in their election manifestos committed to provide Direct Income Support to senior citizens