Low cost houses to remedy slum development in Rwanda

24 April 2017

Kampala’s Kibuli, Kitintale, Kansanga, Kamwokya, Kawempe and Katanga areas are famous for their low cost houses. The houses in these areas are built to accommodate majority of the middle income earners in the city and some parts of these areas are fast developing into slums.

According to Emmanuel Mukubwa Byaruhanga, a human settlements consultant who carried out a physical and social planning of a low cost housing scheme commonly known as Midugudugu in Rwanda, it is difficult for local governments to provide social services like education, water and sanitation, hospitals and shopping centres to scattered populations because it becomes too expensive for them to reach such communities.

He points out land access as the main challenge hindering establishment of organized settlements in Uganda. This, he says, is attributed to the fact that people are too attached to their land, and are backed by the constitution which states that land belongs to them.

Byaruhanga suggests that there is need for a national housing authority to be created so that government can buy land from individuals and through housing cooperatives, construct settlement schemes where social services such as schools, hospitals, shopping centres and security are concentrated like in Bunagana district in Rwanda where such a scheme has succeeded.

He added that rather than having houses everywhere, the housing authority can ensure that urban houses are properly planned so that social and physical services can be provided.

According to Peter Umimana, the Integrated Development Program coordinator of Bunagana District in Rwanda, the government decided to identify the most vulnerable people who were landless and bought land where it constructed the low cost houses and took closer common services to them.

They then proceed to make amenities such as schools, health centres, water, electricity and environmental protection programmes available in those settlements. He explains adding that through the approach, economic activities like cooperatives for bananas, livestock cooperatives, bird rearing cooperatives, green houses for growing fruits and vegetables have been developed.

Those living in the settlements have become aware on family planning with regards to land allocation. There is also a spirit of neighborliness fostered by the closeness in proximity. Security, water supply are just some of the guaranteed amenities they enjoy.

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