Accepted paper:

Internal migration and the Senior Citizens Grant in Uganda: intra-household dyanamics and well-being in multi-local households


Matthew Walsham (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

Internal migration is a significant phenomenon in Uganda and remittances are common. A new social pension may impact on resource allocation within 'multi-local' households containing migrants. Qualitative methods were used to explore effects on financial remittances and the well-being of pensioners.

Paper long abstract:

Internal migration is a significant phenomenon in Uganda. Over a quarter of households receive remittances from internal migrants, with both rural and urban migrants primarily remitting to rural family members. The Senior Citizens Grant (SCG), a non-contributory social pension, is currently being rolled out across rural Districts in the country. Evidence from a range of contexts suggests that social pensions may have significant impacts at the household level, including on the migration choices of household members and resource allocation within 'multi-local' households containing migrants. Social pensions may thus have distinctive effects on intra-household dynamics in 'multi-local' households and, in turn, consequences for the well-being of pensioners at sites of origin. This paper presents the findings from a qualitative study carried out in one district of Uganda to explore these issues. Households were found to be highly complex and 'multi-local' in character, and the pension operates alongside a varied landscape of informal forms of solidarity and support. The SCG was perceived to have little direct effect on migration decisions - including whether to leave children in the care of grandparents - but opinions differed between migrants and pensioners over the impact on financial remittances, with gender a key factor in responses on this issue. In the context of high rates of in-migration to the district, pensioners' perspectives on migration strategies at the household level - and the effects of these on their own well-being - were also framed by their own (positive or negative) experiences of migration.

panel E1
Large-scale migration, remittances and development: historical and contemporary evidence