Each year, we commemorate the “International Day of Older Persons” on 1 October to raise public awareness about the opportunities and challenges presented to the ageing populations and to mobilize the families, community groups and stakeholders to address the difficulties faced by older people.
This year, the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) celebrated the day on 21 October 2022 at under the theme “Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World”, reminding us of the significant contributions that older people continue to make in all our lives.
The day was colorfully celebrated at an event held at KCCA gardens in Kampala. It raised awareness about the importance of leaving no one behind, especially in the context of the declaration of 2021-2030 as the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing.
The Minister for Kampala Hajjat Minsa Kabanda who was the Guest of honor thanked older persons for always supporting the ruling government specifically his Excellence President Museveni.
The minister said the NRM government has so many programmes targeting the older persons and these include the Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE) and the forthcoming Special Enterprise Grant for Older Persons (SEGO).
She urged the elderly to form SACCOs so that the government can support them and also keep their diet for a healthy living.
The KCCA Executive Director Dorothy Kisaka noted KCCA embraces the older persons and has many programs aimed at uplifting their wellbeing.
“We need to respect the elders and take actions that help them live well. They are our elders we must respect them,” Kisaka said.
KCCA is implementing the SAGE, and is paying an average of 1,059 older persons who are 80+ years a monthly stipend of shs25,000.
KCCA is positioning itself for the implementation of the Special Enterprise Grant for Older Persons (SEGO) which is targeting older persons from 70-79 years.
Kisaka reiterated the role the council of older persons in monitoring and evaluating the extent to which Government, civil society, organizations and the private sector meet the needs of older persons in planning and implementing programmes designed for equality and full participation of Older Persons.
She outlined the landmarks KCCA has achieved in the operationalization of the Council for older persons since their elections, saying KCCA had received orientation on roles, received skills training in urban agriculture, and were allocated a budget of shs 23,000,000 in the financial year 2022/23.
“We have got an office space for you at Plot 1 Ssezibwa road. We are refurbishing it and when it is complete we will hand it over,” Kisaka said.
The Deputy Lord Mayor for Kampala Nyanjura Doreen, who represented the Lord Mayor, urged members of parliament to advocate for rights of the older persons including pay raise.
Lubowa A Francis, a representative of the older persons, noted that, It’s a day to celebrate ageing and challenge negative stereotypes about older persons, “It’s a time dedicated for everyone to join hands in breaking ageism that links old age to vulnerability,” he said.
According to the UN report of 2017, between 2017 and 2050, the number of older persons in the developing world is predicted to increase from 652 million to 2.1 billion. The same report projects that by 2047, there will be more of older persons than children.
Uganda is already on the path to this trajectory as evidenced by the increase in the number of older persons from 1.4m in 2015 to 2.2m in 2022 as per the UBOS projections. This increase in population is as a result of improve life expectancy among the population resulting from improved health services, advancement in health technologies among others.
The Government remains committed and prepared to address the concerns and needs that come with increased Older Persons population by eliminating all forms of neglect, abuse and violence as provided for under article 32 of the constitution, while promoting recognition of their contribution to national development.
Government revised the Parish Development Mode guideline to include 10% allocation for older person’s enterprise which will enable them to be active in the money economy. The inclusion under PDM has already been completed awaiting funds to start transacting business
The older persons requested to have the target age of the senior citizens Grant beneficiaries to be lowered and because of the cost implication, the government is still studying the proposal.