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.