World Habitat Day 2015 and launch of low-cost housing project
On Tuesday October 27th SSA: UHSNET, together with its partners the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, We Effect and WaterAid, inaugurated the "Decent living" low-cost, sustainable housing project in conjunction with the celebration of World Habitat Day 2015. This year's theme for World Habitat Day was "Public Spaces for All". World Habitat Day is celebrated around the world on the first Monday of October every year but was postponed in Uganda this year to coincide with the launch of the low-cost housing project.
The event highlighted the need for continued efforts to build more low-cost houses to cope with Uganda's high population growth rate and the increased urbanisation of the country. With a current population growth rate of approximately 3,2% annually, Uganda's population will reach 68 million in 2035. With such an immense population growth it is evident that the government needs to implement its National Housing Policy, drafted in 2013, into legislation and to invest more financial resources into low-cost housing options for Ugandans with low incomes as this is the target group most affected by the lack of low-cost housing options. The "Decent living" project is a three-year project initiated in 2013 and funded by the Swedish Postcode Lottery through We Effect. The aim of the project is to improve the living conditions for poor people living in slum areas through better access to adequate housing, clean water, and sanitation. The project includes the construction of 34 low-cost houses in the Bujuuko-Wakiso district of Kampala to be completed by the end of 2015. The people moving into the houses are the members of the Kwefaako Housing Cooperative Society, a group consisting of predominantly widowed women. The cooperative has proven themselves a viable partner committed to improving their lives and the lives of their family members through hard work, cooperation and dedication.
Some of the speakers at the event were the Ugandan State Minister for Urban Planning, Madam Rosemary Najjemba Muyinda, We Effect East Africa Regional Director, Mr. Hans Lind, the Chairman of the Board of SSA: UHSNET, Mr. E.M. Byaruhanga, and the Executive Director of SSA: UHSNET, Madam Dorothy Baziwe.
The event also included very powerful performances by dancers, actors and musicians of the Ndere Troupe from the Ndere Cultural Centre including a theatrical sketch to illustrate some of the problems that can arise from inadequate housing.
Finally, we would like to say congratulations to the members of the Kwefaako Housing Cooperative Society who will move into these houses once they are completed. We look forward to equally successful World Habitat Day celebrations next year.