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 Adequate 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.