LOTOMORE – The Kakwa term for social cohesion or togetherness and unity in the community. 

From May 8 to 22, a team of SPRI Global researchers, including Erëblina Elezaj, Patrick Llewellin, Míriam Carrera, and Mariam Sène, joined hands with Pius Ongom Okello and a team of dedicated social workers, and interpreters hailing from Kampala and West Nile. Their mission revolved around an integral component of a study, “Social Assistance Targeting – Implications for Social Cohesion in Communities”, commissioned by UNICEF Uganda.

The aim was to procure qualitative data, offering a deep-dive into the effectiveness of various social assistance program targeting strategies in Uganda, and analyzing their subsequent impact on the social fabric of the communities involved. The investigative process was enhanced through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, touching on multiple aspects such as:

  1. The overall well-being in the communities,
  2. Potential issues concerning the design and implementation of social assistance programs, and
  3. Exploration of improved future program designs to bolster impact on well-being and facilitate sustained social inclusion.

Over the two-week period, our team interacted with a diverse array of stakeholders: from government institutions at both central and district levels, community targeting groups, community development officers, civil society organizations, to development partners specializing in social protection. This gave us the opportunity to engage in enlightening and insightful dialogues with communities where several programs like the Senior Citizens Grant, Urban Cash for Work Programme, Girls Empowering Girls (GEG), NutriCash, and DRDRIP (Development Response to Displacement Impact Project) are being implemented. These exchanges encompassed beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries from both host and refugee communities.

The rich findings from this fieldwork will be woven into the broader study, which also involves a detailed mapping of the targeting strategies used in Ugandan social assistance programs. It further synthesizes comparable evidence from other countries. The ultimate objective of this study is to disseminate crucial insights from each targeting approach, and propose actionable recommendations to boost targeting efficiency and enhance social cohesion in the realm of social assistance in Uganda.