Habitat for Humanity Launches ‘Home Equals’ Campaign to Eradicate Informal Settlements in Uganda

Habitat for Humanity’s Uganda chapter has launched an advocacy campaign called “Home Equals” to address the critical issue of informal settlements in Uganda and improve the living conditions of millions of residents.

Uganda currently grapples with a severe challenge, with around 7 million people living in informal settlements, a number expected to rise due to urban migration. “Home Equals” seeks to transform lives through comprehensive policy changes at municipal, national, and regional levels.

The campaign will engage with slum dwellers, local leaders, policymakers, and implementers to change mindsets regarding living conditions. Secure land tenure, empowered community participation, and access to essential services are among the campaign’s key objectives.

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Robert Otim, Habitat For Humanity Uganda Managing Director, believes that addressing these issues can combat poverty, improve health and education, and create opportunities for all.

A report by Habitat for Humanity International highlights that informal settlements are a global concern, with projections suggesting that by 2030, one in every seven people worldwide will live in such settlements. Rapid urbanization is a driving force, with over half of the global population expected to reside in cities and towns by 2030.

Access to safe drinking water and sanitation remains a significant challenge in these areas, and secure land tenure is often lacking.

Affordable housing is a central focus of the campaign. Informal settlements struggle to provide affordable housing, with formal units being considerably more expensive. Investing in affordable housing not only alleviates poverty but also stimulates economic growth by creating jobs and boosting local businesses.

To promote the campaign, the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Uganda, will host the Uganda Housing Symposium, focusing on “Affordable Housing in Urban Informal Settlements as a Driver of Economic Growth.”

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The symposium aims to explore solutions that can transform affordable housing projects into catalysts for micro-enterprise development within these settlements.

Access to affordable housing directly impacts health and education. Adequate housing provides a safe and healthy environment, reducing disease prevalence and improving overall well-being. It also enhances school attendance rates, leading to better educational outcomes and a more educated workforce, vital for economic growth.

Affordable housing initiatives are also seen as drivers of infrastructural development in urban informal settlements. Housing projects require improved infrastructure like road networks, water and sanitation facilities, and electricity supply, which not only enhance residents’ quality of life but also attract further investments and economic activities to these areas.

The “Home Equals” campaign, along with other initiatives, represents a significant step towards improving living conditions in informal settlements, fostering economic growth, and enhancing the overall well-being of Uganda’s urban population.

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