By Lutwama Muhammed
Last week the Federation of Uganda hosted delegates from Shelter Afrique who came to Uganda for their 29th Annual General Meeting and Symposium. The event took place from the 13th to 17th June, 2010 with the main events taking place in Munyonyo. Slum dwellers participated by showcasing their activities and demonstrating low-cost house models. The event took place in Jinja and over 1500 Federation members from the cities of Mbarara, Kabale, Arua, Mbale, Kampala and Jinja attended this function.
Among the Shelter Afrique delegates were ministers for housing from Namibia, Chad, Central African Republic, Nigeria, and Congo. In addition, directors and heads of delegations from Malawi, Gambia and Zambia attended, alongside officials from the government of Uganda. In his remarks, the minister expressed commitment and readiness to support Ugandan slum dwellers by allocating them land which is available in Jinja, and also to find resources to buy land for the Kampala slum dwellers. He added that his Government is very positive about the community-led process and thanked SDI and ACTogether for spearheading this process in Uganda.
Rose Molokoane the SDI Coordinator thanked the governments of Namibia and Malawi for the tremendous support they have offered the Federation in their countries and requested the government of Uganda to emulate what other countries are doing in supporting the slum dwellers to acquire basic human rights such as housing, security of tenure, and social services.
SDI affiliates form Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia and Ghana also shared their experiences using savings to influence their governments. The visitors highlighted that, “We are not just beggars, we meet the government half way”.
The event also involved a ground-breaking ceremony and the laying of a foundation stone for the Kawama Low Cost Housing Project by Hon. Micheal Werikhe, State Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development. The slum dwellers were allocated 7.6 acres of land by Jinja Municipal Council and are planning to construct low-cost houses that will accommodate 250 families.