Soroti, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Four other districts in Teso sub region have been added to the Social Assistance Grants and Empowerment- SAGE program. The districts include Bukedea, Ngora, Serere and Soroti.
They are among the 14 more districts that were added on the list of SAGE program countrywide.
The Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) was introduced as a pilot project in 2010 under the Expanding Social Protection (ESP) programme specifically targeting labour-constrained individuals and households. Each beneficiary receives a monthly stipend of 25,000 Shillings.
The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development launched another phase of SAGE program in March this year in Mbale but the roll out was disrupted following the outbreak of COVID-19.
Unlike the initial beneficiaries of SAGE who were 65 and 60 years for Karamoja sub-region, the new beneficiaries should be 80 years and above.
More than 10,000 elders have enrolled for SAGE in the four districts totaling to 28,428 beneficiaries in Teso sub region. There are more than 1.6 million elders enrolled under SAGE across the country.
Speaking at the launch of the SAGE payment at Mukura town council, Ngora district, Peace Mutuzo, the State Minister for Culture said the money is expected to help the elderly persons live a comfortable life. She revealed that the government has secured at least 170 billion shillings to ensure that the beneficiaries get their money on time.
Naume Ariebi, the district vice chairperson of Ngora says although the SAGE initiative has been extended to the area, many other eligible elders have missed out on the program due to lack of National Identity Cards.
Erisama Okello, one of the beneficiaries in Mukura says that he will use the 150,000 shillings to renovate his grass-thatched house which is on the verge of collapse.
“This money is a blessing to me. I have been living in a dilapidated house. Whenever it rains, I get soaked in the house but God has heard my prayers”, he said.
The government introduced SAGE in 2010 with 15 districts selected from different parts of the country.
According to the Social Development Sector review report, the SAGE programme has since its inception benefited 178,984 out of the targeted 194,808 older persons by the end of the last financial year.