Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Prioritizing Adequate Housing - Media Breakfast, 26/06/12 Imperial Royale Hotel

Last Tuesday morning, on the 26th of June, a media engagement breakfast was organized by SSA:UHSNET in collaboration with Uganda Cooperative Alliance- Housing Cooperatives Project (UCA-HCDP) at the Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala. The media, key-government officials and other actors within the human settlement sector gathered for a breakfast meeting on the topic: Prioritizing Adequate Housing. It was aimed at ensuring different stakeholders, particularly the media, to know about the current challenges within the housing sector and engage in advocating for it to be given priority on the national agenda.
Various presentations were given on the topic of prioritizing adequate housing. Topics discussed ranged from current plans to build more affordable houses to the role of government in the future. Guest of Honour was the Minister of State for Housing: Hon. Sam Engola. The Minister explained some of the current plans within the housing sector, as building new affordable houses in every district the upcoming years, and identified opportunities, like Public Private Partnership arrangements for funds and financing. After the presentations the media and some other stakeholders were given the chance to ask (critical) questions.
Key finding was that adequate housing is equal to sustainable development. With a multiplier effect of between 5-12, which means that every UGX invested in housing generates an effect of between 5-12 UGX, housing could become a major economic drive. The challenge is providing the necessary funds. SSA:UHSNET chairman Mr. Byaruhanga emphasized once again that active government intervention is needed in the housing sector, only through the government adequate and affordable housing for ALL can be achieved.

The government made some important promises. First of all the minister pledged that government would re-enter in the issue of providing social housing, particularly in the new districts. This certainly is promising, as we as SSA:UHSNET believe that active government intervention is needed to provide more affordable houses. Moreover the Director of Housing pledged to ensure transformation of informal settlements in Uganda, meaning that government will improve infrastructure and services in these settlements. If realized this will be a very big improvement for people living in informal settlements.

The media can also play an important role in Prioritizing Ad
equate Housing. Sharing materials and information is an effective way to make more people aware of the issue of adequate housing.
We thank all participants for their contribution and participation.

Ugandans told to save for Houses!

Flavia Nassaka a reporter of the East African Business Week ran a captivating story that the Network is pleased to share with the rest of the world and it reads...
Kampala, Uganda-stakeholders in the human settlement sector have urged the public to participate in income generating activities so that they can accumulate savings that can aid them build a house.
"People should engage in activities that can enable them at least save Shs500 ($0.2) a day, through saving people can be able to build a reasonable three-bed room house", said Mr. Emmanuel Byaruhanga, the chairman Uganda Human Settlement network (UHSNET) during a settlements' exhibition  in Kampala recently.
Among the items show cased was a banner which the stake holders and the public have to sign and present to Parliament before Independence Day. Byaruhanga who advises the low income earners who can't raise resources to construct a house solely to build formal settlements through cooperatives, says a three-bedroom house is cost effective, gender friendly and also health sensitive if well planned.
UHSNET is a network comprised of civil society organizations, individuals, and private sector stakeholders working together with the main purpose of lobbying, advocating and sharing information for better policies, programs and practices towards sustainable improvement of human settlements. Atleast 60% of Ugandans in urban areas  live in slums with low  latrine coverage. The high level of  congestion creates pressure on land leading to degradation.
"The existence of poor households in Uganda's urban areas should be blamed on the government since there is no political will to support the housing sector. Only 0.3% of the budget was allocated to the land, housing and urban development ministry", said Mr. Charles Ofwono Chairman Foundation for Rural Housing, an organization that advocates for transforming rural settlements.
Ofwono says that in some parts of Eastern Uganda, grass species such as the spear grass are extinct because of the poor housing facilities since most homesteads use grass for roofing than iron sheets.
"Uganda's population has been growing at an annual rate of 3.2% to the current 30 million people while the urban areas have registered an annual rate of 5.1%. At this rate, Uganda will have a population of about 68 millions by 2035, 30% of which will be in the urban areas", said Samuel Babara, Commissioner Urban Development.
With such a population increase on the limited land of about 241038 sq km, Ugandans are urged to venture into building storied buildings such that the rest of the land is left free for practicing large scale agriculture since farming is the greatest foreign exchange earner for the economy.
You can also read this article on the officail website of the East African Business Week: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.newspapersites.net/newspaper/east-african-business-week.asp