The housing issue is still a very big challenge in Uganda.
According to Irene Gwokyalya, the Acting Commissioner Housing Development and Estate Management in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning, the country is grappling with inadequate housing in terms of quality and quantity both in rural and urban areas. This means there is a housing deficit of two million units.
“By 2022, Uganda’s population is projected to be about 45 million people. With the current household size of five persons, the housing need resulting from population growth will be about three million housing units.
On the other hand, 4.5 million people are living in substandard housing.
The reality is clear – the lack of affordable quality housing compromises people’s health and development opportunities which perpetuates the poverty cycle in the country.
However, the good news is that Habitat For Humanity (HFHU) has been working around the clock to change the narrative.
Since its founding in 1982, the Non-Governmental Organisation has built, rehabilitated, repaired and improved more than 40,000 houses – helping more than 240,000 vulnerable people achieve affordable quality housing.
In Mayuge district alone, HFHU has built more than 300 houses since 2008 through the Vulnerable Group Housing Program that aims at reaching out to orphans, vulnerable children or families taking care of vulnerable children.
“I cannot thank Habitat For Humanity enough for building for me a good house,” says Anthony Wanyala, a resident of Ngayama village, Bukalenzi sub county in Mayuge.
Wanyala is one of beneficiaries of HFHU’s charity work.
Before his new house was completed in June this year, the 48 year old father of six was living in a ramshackled grass thatched house with a leaking roof.
“My wife died in 2016 and left me with six children. Our living conditions were so horrible in that whenever it used to rain at night, we used to spend the entire hours of darkness standing,” says Wanyala.
“My life changed for good. Habitat For Humanity even took my eldest daughter to a vocational institute where she is offering a tailoring course.”
Efrance Nabiryo is a potential beneficiary of the Vulnerable Group Housing program. She is also a resident of Ngayama village.
The excited 49-year old widow discloses that she always wanted to sleep in a decent home but did not have the capability.
Currently, Nabiryo sleeps in a one room house with a leaking roof together with her nine children and a goat. Her pit latrine is also substandard with a fallen wall on one side.
“We sleep in this one room house and because I fear thieves taking my goat, I cannot leave it outside at night so we sleep with it,” she says.
Adding, “My area chairman told me about the organisation that helps people living in my condition. We then had a community meeting, my fellow residents selected me for the opportunity and the next thing was officials from HFHU assessing my home and they indeed came to a conclusion that I deserve a decent house.”
Gilbert Omeda, the Vulnerable Group Housing Manager at HFHU states that Nabiryo was able to fulfill all the needed requirements to get a free house with quality standard.
“The construction of her house starts this month and by December it will be complete.”
According to Omeda, some of the requirements include; a beneficiary must have orphans below 18 years under his/her care, must have been identified by community as vulnerable in need of a decent shelter and must have a secure tenure of land on which to build.
Juliet Nakanda is also another potential beneficiary who cannot wait to escape poverty housing.
Nakanda’s poor living condition is not so different from that of Nabiryo.
The 35-year old widow lives with her five children in a grass thatched single room house in Ngayama village.
“My husband died in 2016. He left us in this house with a leaking roof. If I had a job, you never know I would have repaired it but I’m unemployed,” she divulges.
“Now I feel happy that Habitat For Humanity has come to my rescue.”
The homes built by HFHU come with a ventilated pit latrine, shower stall and a 3,000 liter water tank. Families are also trained on environmental protection and management, pre- and post construction , HIV/AIDS preventation, succession and inheritance planning, psycho-social support and malaria prevention as well as vocational trainings for youth who are high school aged.
HFHU to spend more than Shs1b in FY2020:
Robert Otim, the HFHU National Director Robert says that in this Financial Year(FY) 2020 they will be spending Shs1.039 billion on 42 housing, youth vocational trainings and social life training.
“In FY 2018 we spent Shs600 million, in 2019 we spent Shs1 billion and in this FY we are going to spend Shs1.039 billion.”
Otim further notes that there’s still a great need to bring more funders on board if the desirable affordable housing goal is to be achieved in Uganda.
“Currently the organisation has two main donors Foster Foundation in USA and the Dutch Post Code Lottery in Netherlands but we are committed to bringing more stakeholders on board to join the cause.”
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