A group of elderly persons in the district of Kabarole district have come out asking government to consider enrolling them on the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE).
The SAGE Program which started in 2010 supports older persons above 65years with monthly grants of Shs25, 000.
The program is currently operating in 47 districts, and in the Rwenzori region it is only in the three districts of Kasese, Kyegegwa and Kyenjojo.
Joyce Atuhaire ,72, hailing from Kidubuli village, Busoro Sub County, in Kabarole district noted that fellow elderly persons in the district need this program because they currently can’t afford basic needs.
“I lost my children to HIV/AIDS and now I’m living a hopeless and misery way. I don’t have money to buy items like soap, salt, sugar among others. I request government to consider us come next financial year,” said Atuhaire.
Stella Kajumba another elder aged 68 of Kamengo in Fort Portal municipality said as older persons, they would be happy to hear that government has put all the districts on the SAGE program.
“We are appealing to the government to enroll all the districts on the program but also increase on the grant from Shs 25, 000 to Shs 70,000 or shs100,000,” Kajumba said.
Christopher Monday, the Kabarole District Community Development Officer said the district has 29,550 elderly persons and as the district, they don’t have any money to look after them.
Monday commended local NGOs such as Christ Aid International for extending a helping hand to older persons with monthly grant of shs 54,000 to meet basic needs, medical insurance at MK clinic Fort Portal and constructing decent permanent houses for them. This aid, according to Monday has brought hope to the orderly persons in the district.
For the last five years, Christ Aid International, a faith based NGO that operates in Kabarole district has been offering financial support to older persons (grandmothers) above 60 years, supplementing the government program.
According to Grace Karungi Mugasa, the Country Executive Director Christ Aid International, under the grand mum program, they give support to the elderly in the district of Shs 54, 000 per month to buy basic needs, construct permanent houses and payment of medical bills at MK clinic.
“Majority of the older persons in the district are helpless and need financial support because we conducted a survey and found they living dilapidated structures and their health is wanting,” she said.
According to the 2016/17 UBOS household survey released last year, poverty rates countrywide increased from 19.7 percent in 2013 to 21.4 percent in 2016 but in the SAGE benefiting districts, it dropped from 31.1 percent to 30.8.
According to the Social Development Sector review report, SAGE has since its inception benefited 178,984 out of the targeted 194,808 older persons by end of the last financial year.