updated 8/10/2007 4:17:37 PM ET 2007-08-10T20:17:37

Uganda will pay a $10 monthly allowance to the country’s “chronically poor” who live on less than a dollar a day, officials said Thursday.

The $7.7 million program is being funded by Britain’s Department for International Development and aid agencies, including British-based HelpAge International. An additional $6 per month will be given to families who support the elderly, disabled or orphans.

“We want to ensure that these vulnerable groups are developing at the same level as all other citizens of Uganda,” said Sulaiman Madada, Uganda’s minister for elderly and disabled people. “The allowance will put them on the first step of the ladder and allow them to move themselves forward.”

The three-year pilot program will start in 2008 and affect 9,000 households identified by community workers and the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

More than 25 percent of Uganda’s 30 million people are chronically poor, according to the government. The United Nations puts the figure at 39 percent.

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