The role of social protection programmes in reducing household poverty and vulnerability in Katakwi District - Uganda

Doctoral Thesis


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This study examined the role of social protection programmes in reducing household poverty in the post-conflict area of Teso in Eastern Uganda and focused on Katakwi district. Mixed methods, was used in the form of qualitative and quantitative tools drawing on a sample of 200 respondents and 20 key informant interviews and 30 participants who were part of focus group discussions. The study results showed that 45% of the sampled population in Katakwi district was poor; 20% were at risk of being poor if social protection is removed, and 35% not poor. We further established that 53% of the female non-beneficiaries live in poverty compared to 49% of female beneficiaries. In contrast, male beneficiaries (51%) were found to be living outside the poverty line compared to male non-beneficiaries (47%) who live in poverty (see Figure 4.2). This variation in poverty levels among male respondents is attributed to the overreliance of household beneficiaries to social protection services, which in most cases are delayed; hence, they fall back into poverty These findingsfurther show that social protection cash transfers constitute the most direct approach that the Government of Uganda uses to address household poverty and vulnerability. Social protection cash transfers can raise living standards; reduce the severity of poverty and vulnerability at the household level and distribute income to the poorest which, thus, reduces the poverty gap between the rich and poor. We further, established that male heads of households who shoulder the burden of paying school fees do not actually receive cash transfers. Factors that significantly influence the standard of life of households include having a university graduate in the household, receipt of income and access to social services. Access to social protection services such as education, health and water were shown to significantly influence a household's status. Although households in Katakwi district that receive social protection support have better chances of escaping poverty, the district is more susceptible to insecurity as a result of continued the cattle rustling compared to those districts that are not closer to cattle rustling warriors. The value of the study is that it provides a better understanding of social protection services in reducing household poverty in post-conflict areas. This study contributes to the limited body of literature on household heads experiences in dealing with vulnerability poverty and household vulnerability to community poverty in post-conflict settings. It provides a disaggregated analysis of social protection measures in responding to poverty and vulnerabilities at the household level.