Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive Director UN-HABITAT and the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development for Uganda, Daniel Omara Atubo (Center Right).
UN-HABITAT Executive Director, Mrs Anna Tibaijuka last week attended a ceremony on in Northern Uganda, to celebrate the completion and presentation to the district of Lira of 64 new homes for teachers built by UN-HABITAT for 16 schools accommodating some 10,000 pupils.
The event was organized by Uganda's Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Lira District and UN-HABITAT, illustrating how the work is helping to rehabilitate the area after two decades of rebel war in Northern Uganda. More than two million men, women and children have been made homeless and tens of thousands of children were abducted by rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The boys became soldiers and countless girls, often as young as 12, were forced to marry elite officers in the rebel army.
“It is not enough to build schools and health centres,” said Mrs. Tibaijuka in a statement. “These places only function through the people that provide the services. We cannot expect teachers to travel long hours daily and still provide the children of Lira the quality of education they aspire to.”
Mr Franco Ojur, District Chairperson for Lira, emphasized an urgent need to provide teachers with better accommodation. He revealed that only 890 of the 2,656 teachers in the district have accommodation at school sites and even those that do often live in old and dilapidated houses. But he sees the commissioning of the 64 houses as an important step forward.
Ms. Anne Attard, UNICEF's Chief of Operations in Uganda, commented, “We have not simply built new homes for people—we have built housing for teachers, the people that care for our children, impart knowledge, wisdom and life skills: the key figures who have the power to become role models and mentors to our loved ones, shaping the minds of the next generation.”
Mrs Tibaijuka announced further funding of USD100,000 to scale up projects in Northern Uganda.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) provided funding of around USD 400,000 for the housing programme while the World Food Programme provided tools and machines for making interlocking bricks used in building the homes. Makerere University and UN-HABITAT encourage this type of brick-making because it does away with the need to use oven-fired bricks in a part of the world where traditional brick firing contributes to deforestation and environmental degradation.