The newly introduced Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment – SAGE for the elderly is meeting stiff resistance from some elders in Moroto.
The newly introduced Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment – SAGE for the elderly is meeting stiff resistance from some elders in Moroto. SAGE is a component of new programmes by government to uplift the social well being of elderly and vulnerable people and is supported by the Department for International Development (DFID), Irish Aid and UNICEF.
Each of the 600,000 intended beneficiaries will receive shillings 23,000 each month. The program was recently rolled out to Karamoja. Where as a good number of the intended beneficiaries have welcomed the program some elders are against the initiative and are rallying support of their colleagues to reject it. Christine Akot, Moroto district SAGE technical officer say that only the Senior Citizens Grant – SCG is being implemented in Moroto district.
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Akot says the scheme is meeting very stiff resistance from the elders who are either formally or informally employed in the different government sectors in the district. She claims that she has received report that some section of these people has formed a parallel group moving from village to village de-campaigning the program.
They are reportedly claiming this is a government’s move to identify elders within the retirement age so as they are relieved of their jobs. Akot fears that the program may fail in Moroto.
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She explains that shillings 12.5 billion shillings has been allocated to the Karamoja districts of Moroto, Amudat, Nakapiripirit and Kotido and that whereas government is considering people above 65 years in other regions, 60 years will be the minimum in Karamoja because the area is greatly deprived.
Akot emphasized that the program is non discriminatory and accordingly called upon all the beneficiaries to embrace and take advantage to improve on their livelihoods.
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However, some elders who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimized for sabotaging government’ program insists they will not take this. One of them 63-years-old, working as a porter at Moroto Municipal council says this is a ploy by government to get rid of people about the retirement age.
He says he rather continues receiving the little pay for his work other than exposing himself so as he is fired from work. He says if government is serious about the project, it should sign an undertaking with beneficiaries guaranteeing their jobs.
sage project in karamoja
livelihoods program in karamoja
working class elders