INCLUDE Platform

Social protection in Uganda

Building the economic case for investment in social protection in Uganda

This study looks at how social protection, especially social transfers, can contribute to inclusive development. It will be conducted in Uganda, where the Expanding Social Protection Programme (ESP) has been established to institutionalize national social protection as a component of development planning. ESP has established Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) as its flagship project. Despite political support for the expansion of universal social protection in Uganda, some stakeholders view non-contributory social protection as merely consumptive expenditure, rather than investment in human capital. However, there is a lack of evidence as to how social protection contributes to human capital and productivity in Uganda. Accordingly, this study seeks to provide evidence of the potential inclusive growth effects of social transfers. This will be achieved by comparing the cost effectiveness of SAGE, the Early Childhood Development Programme, the Public Works Programme and the Food for Assets (FFA) programme in Uganda.

The research questions are:

  1. What are the potential effects of SAGE and its costs?
  2. Would alternative social protection programmes be more cost effective than SAGE in achieving human capital development and productive asset accumulation?
  3. To what extent do SAGE transfers produce local economy effects?
  4. Do social transfers foster the economic and social mobility of poor households?

This study employs a mixed-method approach. Quantitative data will be obtained from two already available panel datasets – a panel of SAGE impact evaluation for 2011, 2014 and 2015 and the Uganda National Panel Survey for 2005/06, 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12 – as well as Afrobarometer data for Uganda. The qualitative component of this study will involve semi-structured interviews with households, local businesses and some policy-makers in Uganda.

The study aims to generate knowledge that would be useful in the design and implementation of cost-effective social protection policies. Using the evidence generated, the ESP secretariat will be able to make informed decisions as to whether or not, and how, to expand SAGE nationally. Knowledge processes will include three stakeholder workshops and the presentation of results in academic conferences and during other Platform activities. Policy briefs, research papers and a final report will be developed, as well as a project website to make project resources available and disseminate findings.

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  • Maastricht University
  • Makerere University
  • Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Uganda
  • University of Manchester

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