Margaret Mugweri is a very happy woman because of having a better roof over her head.
For years, like many languishing in the world’s urban centres, the 45 year-old had to contend with landlords who charged an arm and a leg for housing. Not any more, thanks to a unique partnership involving UN-HABITAT, a local private firm and the government.
Margaret is one of the beneficiaries of the houses which came up as a result of the partnership and she bubbles with joy when she says her way her life – and that of her friends – has taken a turn for the better.
The members of the Mpumudde Jinja Women Group were the beneficiaries of 20 new homes built as part of the first phase of UN-HABITAT project supported by real estate developers, Akright Projects, and Uganda’s government, which donated the piece of land on which the houses stand.
Akright Projects brought in the technical know how for the project benefiting women of Mpumudde in Jinja district, some 80 kilometers east of Kampala. The repayment of the funds by the beneficiaries of the first phase will be reinvested for the second phase of another 20 homes.
Margaret is one of the first beneficiaries.
“It was very difficult to get accommodation that was both affordable and culturally sensitive in Jinja and when UN-HABITAT came up with these houses we thanked God for them,” she said during our interview near her house.
A poultry farmer with eight children – four of her own, and four adopted orphans – says that most of the houses she has lived in the past were inadequate.
“At least now I have a two-bedroom house and the children can have a bedroom to themselves,” she says adding that the rent of Uganda Shillings 100,000 per month was affordable.
According to Ms. Lucia Kiwala who heads the Gender Mainstreaming unit at UN-HABITAT, the housing project was proof that it is possible to pool resources and have people living in decent housing.
The State Minister for Housing, Mr. Werikhe Kafabusa, was all praise for the project saying that it underscored the Ugandan government’s commitment to provision of adequate shelter for all, especially low and middle level income earners.