June 30th, 2010: The Director of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Savino Katsigaire, officially launched the Mbale Municipal Forum in front of hundreds of urban development stakeholders, including numerous dignitaries from across the country. The launch began with a march from the Islamic University to the Mayor’s Gardens at the Mbale Municipal Council. Members of the Ugandan National Federation of Slum Dwellers followed a brass band and carried a sign proclaiming that they are Homeless But Not Hopeless. Indeed, the launch represents a breakthrough in the battle to have the urban poor engage more directly and more substantively with their governments and other urban development stakeholders.
Attendees also heard presentations from Mbale mayor, Hajjat Jamira Naleba; Sarah Ibanda, CEO of ACTogether; Samuel Mabala from the Ministry of Urban Development, and the Mbale Assistant Town Clerk.
Musical performances were given by savings groups in the Mbale slum dwellers network.
The Municipal-level urban forums are designed to provide a space where all urban development stakeholders can meet and exchange views on effective strategies. Under the theme, “Sustainable Development: A Collective Responsibility,” the forums aim to increase dialogue, participation, and cooperation in the urban development process.