We need equitable social targeting and registry

Thursday June 24 2021
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Author: Benard Mujuni

By Benard Mujuni

The absence of a clear system for targeting the vulnerable groups for the delivery of livelihood interventions has resulted in the need to develop an equitable Social registry sooner than later. The possibility of mistargeting and excluding the most in need, during these social protection interventions provide an opportunity for Uganda to address this challenge . 

There is, therefore, need to support the development of the social registry to address, among others, the following; providing evidence-based framework for targeting and delivery of social protection interventions, providing nature and magnitude of vulnerabilities among the vulnerable groups, availing unemployment and underemployment levels at household level, capturing the birth and death information system at community level, capturing the levels of immunisation, vaccinations including Covid-19 at household level, identifying and targeting the most vulnerable and other  groups at household and community level, providing a framework for local governments effective targeting of the vulnerable groups for inclusive service delivery, inventoring the inclusivity of government  programmes at household level.

In terms of their core social policy function, social registries are inclusion systems. They provide a “gateway” for people (individuals, families) to register and be considered for potential inclusion in one or more social programmes based on an assessment of their needs and conditions. That assessment usually takes into account measures of socio-economic status, categorical factors or a combination of both.

More specifically, from a functional perspective, social registries are information systems that support registration and determination of potential eligibility for social programmes. Along the “delivery chain,” they support the phases of outreach, intake and registration, and assessment of needs and conditions to determine potential eligibility for inclusion in selected social programme(s). 
Social registries can serve one or multiple programmes. These functions require structures and processes for citizen interface, for example via mobile teams, at local offices, or via digital service windows. They also require clear legal and institutional arrangements. 

As information systems, social registries intermediate as a bridge between citizens on the one hand, and delivering institutions on the other hand. With this pandemic, it would simply require the pressing of the computer button to know who should benefit and from where in this country. Local councils are a political and so may not effectively help in identifying and targeting the beneficiaries of programmes such as cash transfers without unconscious or conscious bias.


 In terms of population covered, social registries contain information on all registrants, whether or not they are deemed eligible for, or enrolled in, select social programmes, allowing transparency and social accountability in the determination of eligibility and record-keeping. Such information is needed to allow people to file appeals or grievances and support eventual reviews of their potential eligibility for social programmes.  The unique feature of social registries is that they have the function of registering individuals, families or households (called “registrants” or “applicants”) and determining potential eligibility for social programme(s).

  They gather and retain information on all registrants (applicants), whether or not they are eventually enrolled in social programmes since there is no guarantee that application or registration in the registry would provide any entitlement. 

The Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development should be supported to embark on this nascent activity that will arraign government interventions. Once developed it will provide leverage in addressing  disaster beneficiaries or war claimants, grants beneficiaries, vaccination targets; cash transfer targets, employment/unemployment levels, child/antenatal mortalities or interventions to address poverty or a social economic need/challenges.

Benard Mujuni is a social capital, policy and legal specialist.benardmujuni@gmail.com