Blog by Ssebaka Richard, youth documenter Masaka region
As our slogan states that “Okwegatta Gemaanyi” which translates that unity is strength indeed it was the case. This was shown when the federation members from the different municipalities of Kampala visited Masaka on 19/05/2016. The Masaka MDF members had the experience of sharing the ideas of good practice. These range from the common urban challenges like waste management, water and sanitation, crime among others but most important of all the relationship between council and slum dwellers and also the issues of the yellow knife road that are peculiar to the communities and settlements in the municipality. It is perhaps a common phrase that can perhaps be dismissed by those that are not pro-development that “Information is power” said Mr kyeyune when stressing the relevance of the visit to the MDF members. He added the experiences shared promote the idea of learning from each other and vehemently urged communities not to act helpless for God helps those that help each other. A biblical citation that is prevalent through our age. The day went on as expected with bright sunny weather experienced through regions with tropical climate. This enabled a good time as the meeting kicked off just in time with nothing much to worry about to antagonize the arrangement. The team from Kampala arrived in the morning at about 9 am local time, and the smiles of the hosts could not be visibly be hidden. At this time, the MDF team from Masaka waited anxiously from their headquarters to receive their guests. A common gesture of social engagement and conversation picked up at the time when the guests had just arrived. I am impressed by the occasion and truly proud to be a at the moment I am thrilled by the joy and to be able to share in the experience. I begin to think to myself, the arrangement of exchanges between MDFs from the regions country wide should be embraced. This enabled both of us to share a lot of ideas and also promised to have a continued communication between us and them forging a working network that certain shall yield a great impact in terms of soci-economic transformation.
Blog by:Simon Kayiwa Makindye Youth Documenter
Anyone would agree with me that whenever the society comes together at whichever level on whatever issues there is no doubt that its going more further and digging deeper into rocks lying against its own development .The stake holder's meeting defines how and what the outcomes of this unity, are or can be .In his remarks, Ssebuguluse Francis says over 55 groups consist in the region and the federation in Makindye where he chairs, brings all these together and hunt solutions for community problems and burning challenges. Its 2pm local time, stake holders have gathered at Nsambya full Gospel school building in Katwe with a big turn up. Lubega Idris says this is a meeting for a development cause and he continues to explain the mechanism of this forum and the activity of profiling as the audience keeps all ears. "Profiled data is for community use and lobbying is what we use it for ".he continues still
"We picked Makindye to start with and Katwe 2 where profiling team is to be picked from the very community and get handed with all profiling skills with guidance from the city authority but our eye is looking more on the youth”
Hafisa Namuli says elder people are not left out completely as having them on such a team is very crucial. She went on in her words to explain "why land in profiling?" and said that research is showing low income earners covering the largest percentage of land in Kampala. Most of these people are green on whose land they dwell but profiling solves this at once and this will neither be a risk to the slum dwellers nor their land lords but rather tries to change the traditional planning of settlements to a planning that satisfies modern community the best way
"Land is a very sensitive matter”, William Ocheng, LC 3 chairperson will agree with you and for Suzan Alupo who is the OC at clock tower in Kampala, "its nearer to death if disputes are not handled well" so the Lady officer at clock towers urges stake holders to involve police whenever disputes erupt out but cautions against using police persons that don't fall under the land protection unit where in makindye region its headquarters are only at Katwe Police station
All the above tries to justify why the meeting almost focused only on land but if I happen to have quote him well, Idris Lubega says ,"land is a major factor in community development "and that's why issues concerning its ownership will appear on the questionnaire during profiling and therefore Katwe 11 residents like Mohammed Kalungi and Angella Ninsiima whose worries seemed to be so high about land issues and profiling during the meeting should worry no more of evictions but rather cooperate with the profiling team in collecting this crucial information for there's no hidden agenda behind this exercise as Hafiswa Namuli lately enlightened.
On my behalf as a resident of Katwe 11 parish I truly believe there is a lot more my community is to benefit after the profiling exercise than even what was discussed in the two hours of the late Thursday afternoon as it will put reliable information ready on table for lobbying and effective community planning and therefore its cause should be supported whole heartedly by every right resident of Katwe in Makindye and other regions to come forth ,for there is power in information when well shared and used.
An ideal African will use information about him or herself as self-defense and will hide it until he or she knows who completely who needs it. The recent meeting has done its purpose and the way is now clear.
Blog by Mawejje Francis, intern documentation department June-August 2016
Over the years, the concept of having a people led development has been a development conundrum that many countries in the developing world have grappled with. Efforts to realize a people centered development by the current government in Uganda can be tracked way back to the decades in the aftermath of the political instability the country faced in the 70s through the 80s in the decentralization policy. However, the policy has over the years not provided the leveled kind of public participation in development that was envisaged for reasons majorly attributed to political interference. This challenged development stake holders to design yet another program that would deliver greater people and community participation in their development. About 5 years ago, the ministry of lands, housing and urban development designed the MDF (municipal development forums) as a way of deepening democratic governance and stake holder engagement in the development planning. The MDF approach has a structure that brings on board representatives from all jurisdictions of urban development such as security, health, academia, business, professionals, youth, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, civil society, culture, religion, politicians, media, technical, special interest groups, business fraternity, and private sector. MDFs operate on a pro- people development agenda and are structured in a way that insulates their operation and activities against political interference and dominance. In this way, much as the municipal development forums executives have representation of the politicians, members with political inclinations or interest are mandated by national MDF constitution to step down in order to make development oriented judgements that may not have good political implications. Development is about making tough choices that people in power may be afraid to take on. Leadership on the municipal development forums is by volunteerism and the executive is by constitution allowed to serve for only 2 years but may be re-elected by the executive in event of good service for another 2 years beyond which they step down and become change agents in communities. Membership on the municipal development forums is by virtue of one’s residence. The policy on MDF has taken root with over with 14 municipalities currently on board including Masaka, Jinja, Tororo, Moroto, Fort portal, Arua, Hoima, Entebbe, Mbarara, Mbale, Soroti, Gulu, Lira, and Kabaale. Like the decentralization structure, MDF are at all levels from national, regional, district, municipal, parish and villages. Purposely, MDFs serves as a lobbying tool, creates awareness and mobilization, performs the oversight function on government and private sector programs and also promotes networking through exchanges and carry out research on local problems to obtain real community experiences. However, despite the benefits that have been realized and still envisioned through the MDF approach, challenges of misunderstanding from the political offices, meagre resources to execute MDF activities and dependence on government are yet to be overcome.
Regional MDF presidents dailogue senior citizens representative
with civil society, governemt and private sector on the exexcutive committe for Entebbe MDF
Blog by Ssebaka Richard, youth documenter Masaka region;
As the general party of Masaka municipal Council (MMC), the slum dwellers in Masaka invited in a two day workshop. It is 9am local time and the sun is shining enough to make it a good morning for most us. Business is booming and people are about their businesses. From traders in the nearby shops to those selling merchandise in shops that are on the streets of the town. It is a vibrant morning and all hope in anticipation of another good day is underway. For those around me (MDF), we are at the municipal council office to participate in a two day work shop aiming to sensitize new MDF members and the newly elected community leader about their responsibilities, duties and roles. Yes, the time is right to set a side our political differences and work to improve our communities said Mr. Baguma Edward as he introduces the members to the common cause. As the Kiganda saying goes, “Okwegatta g’emananyi..” which translates to unity is strength the MDF structure incorporates the values of working together as primary to realizing the objective transforming communities of the urban poor. We believe that local problem have local solutions form the very people that are faced with these everyday challenges. I think to myself as I stare in amusement about the level of volunteerism that community puts to it. Unlike other technical, political and administrative positions, members of the MDFs purely operate as volunteers to a common cause to bring about meaningful change and transformation in communities.
Information is power when shared, another value that is inherent in the operations of the MDFs. It is essential in delivering consistent and sustainable growth and development rate. Information shared is about development initiatives, programs, and projects that are yet to be implemented. The municipal economic planer thanked Mr Ssebaka Richard for continued sharing of information between the council (MMC) and slum dwellers.
In his words the president slum dwellers also thanked the council for the workshop and the training and promised to continue the total support from the slum dwellers.
The MDF president promised that the slum dwellers to have exchange visits with other communities as part of the learning experience for the good practice and help realize that regions from across the country develop at similar levels. On this, he assured the slum dwellers to be part of the meeting which will be held in Arua on a date that was to be yet determined.
The sensitization had a composition of most of the bodies of council which include; Planning, environment, slum dwellers, finance and community affairs.
MDF members and other participants take a photo after the work shop
Blog by Irene Namaganda, livelihood department ACTogether Uganda;
Walking along the narrow alleys, I have to maneuver carefully in order to avoid the rusty, sharp edges of makeshift roofing. My footing is unsure. There seems to be a stream of foul-smelling sewage running right under my feet. I have to cautiously be on the lookout in all directions, just to make forward progress. One misstep and I could either end up in the waste that runs through this entire neighborhood, or worse, end up with a large gash across my forehead from the jagged scraps of old metal hanging from the shacks that the poor call home.
Bwaise is one of those famous slums in Uganda with a night population of over 35000 people. In Bugalani, Bwaise 3, we finally meet Nakijobya Sophia a mother of three children, busy washing clothes as she told us to stay where we were because of the water lagging in her compound, this did not give us a chance to reach her house where she carries out her business. Sophia is the chairperson of Twekembe group that is made up of 30 members (4 males and 26 females). The group is engaged in poultry keeping as a group project but also give out loans to individual members to add capital in their small businesses using the profits from the project and savings from members. The group managed to secure a loan of UGX 3M from ACTOGETHER/ NSDFU with support from COMIC relief through LWF. They used the loan to add into their poultry project by buying feeds and more birds.
As a married woman, Sophia refused to just be a house wife but rather decided to get a loan of UGX1 million from her group and bought a fridge where she started selling cold drinking water and munanansi (juice made out of pineapple peelings) as her side business. With time after realizing profits of UGX10, 000 a day, she added in more drinks like soda, mineral water and milk to expand her business. .
From this business, Sophia is paying her children’s fees and providing the basic and her personal needs on top of what her husband is providing for the home. She goes on to encourage women to have a small business at home rather than just sit and wait for their husbands to provide. ”I didn’t know that even saving 200sh would make a difference” Sophia did not just get started with her business from the group but also got friends who help her be a better person each single day. “I thank my friends for helping me understand the relevance of saving. Words can’t explain how thankful I am, and appreciate each moment I’m living just because of LWF and ACTOGETHER.” She says.
Sophia is not the only lady with a home based business, so is her neighbor and friend within the group Namatovu Jane, a 48 year old mother with three grandchildren to look after. We found Jane cutting onions preparing lunch for her customers. Sophia offers to help Jane so that she can talk to us. Standing in her compound covered with sacks she has used to cover up the mad from the previous heavy rainfall.
Jane, also got a loan of UGX 700,000 and started up a home based restaurant and poultry keeping as her personal businesses. Although out of the 300 birds only 150 survived death, Jane has not given up on her goal. ”if it wasn’t for the heavy rain fall that left many of my chicken weak and helpless I would be better than before. However I’m hoping to get more chicken out of the few that I’m remaining with and expand my poultry farm God willing” she narrates. She continued to tell us that she used the small profits she got from selling the remaining chicken to buy necessities for her business like, the fridge where she stores drinks like water and sodas in her restaurant business has made for herself. She has also managed to secure the Buganda land title certificate of the land where she resides and has hired another lady to help her out in the restaurant business. Besides all the negative forces that tried to ruin her business and goal, Jane is grateful to ACTOGETHER/NSDFU for thinking about the poor and trying to help them. ”getting a loan or money from even a family member is impossible, they always think the worst from poor people, they think we cannot pay back or we are not business oriented” she remarks.
poultry project run by Jane Jane as she tell her story
By Ssebaka Ronald,youth documenter Masaka region;
Today more than ever, cities in Africa are urbanizing at a high rate, the World Bank estimates that this rate shall more than double by the year 2030. Whereas this presents an opportunity for growth in Africa, it nevertheless poses an enormous challenge that governments and authorities must address through planning at an earlier stage in time. The problems of urban development such as crime, youth unemployment, drug abuse among others. Masaka municipality is one of Uganda’s highly urbanizing towns found in the central region of Uganda having an estimated population of about 73,300. Like other growing towns, Masaka has a number of informal settlements that have made urban planning difficult. However, the national slum dwellers federation in Uganda (NASDFU) an umbrella body for slum dwellers is taking strides in changing the course of urban planning. Through settlement meetings, greater participation in development planning is being registered. As an approach towards building inclusive cities that are livable and sustainable, the federation provides space for dialogue between development stake holders and the urban poor communities. In the most recent experience, the physical planning department of Masaka municipal council helped by a data center in-charge (Mr Ssebakka Richard) made a community awareness drive around all municipality settlements displaying the physical plan of Masaka Municipality. High level community involvement in the development of the municipality and greater collaboration for all development stake holders is being realized. The community initiated the campaign to be made aware of the municipal development plans which the urban authority did through the outdoor campaign in the business hub. The move was envisaged to avert possibilities of future evictions of residents due to the need to establish development infrastructure in specified locations. The activity was well conceived by the communities and investors that unanimously agreed to observe and work together towards building their community to a city status by 2040. The initiative went further to air out community problems that residents face and inculcate into them a spirit of unity and togetherness towards building a green and clean city. The local councils for the settlements made an effort to make copies of the municipality plan displayed on community notice boards.
In his words the president slum dwellers showed concern and also explained why he will continuously remind Masaka municipal council (MMC) for the issues raised in the settlement meetings. In the meeting the in charge of the data center was elected to represent the community on the municipal planning committee.
settlement meeting for Masaka municipality
and MDF members.
By Ssebaka Richard, youth documenter Masaka;
Communities of the urban poor have for long been sidelined by urban planners. In many instances, they have been thought of as helpless and ignorant. This perception has seen many development programs designed with minimal participation of the urban slum dwellers. Through community organization, the national slum dwellers federation of Uganda (NSDFU) has brought on board the participation of the poor communities in a way that promotes their dignity and worth. Recently, community savings groups in Masaka municipalities met to share experiences on progress and challenges communities are facing in a bid to device means of overcoming them. The event was fun and members were excited as they brainstormed ideas with their leaders about what to do to uplift the standards of living in settlements. In attendance, a total of 89 members from different groups of Masaka Municipal Council sent their representatives led by the physical planner and the assistant town clerk. Among the problems that communities identified included; the poor state of roads most especially in Kimaanya which they identified as an impediment to farmers linking with markets especially during the rain seasons when conditions get soggy and slippery. During the dialogue, the roads were identified as a health hazard during the dry seasons when they turn extremely dusty hence causing colds. Inadequate access to CDD funds yet they have met the pre-requisites of the program together with the youth Livelihood funds. It is a good initiative when communities and planners come together to dialogue about community development and pave a common way towards achieving sustainable transformation. The residents and municipal planning committee consequently agreed to support in this noble cause. This shall be great in realizing prompt implementation of infrastructural programs in the settlement and enable the residents to have key contribution in infrastructural development projects. The physical planning committee promised to avail timely communication on the development plans and involve communities in the project and program designs during conception.
Members of the Masaka MDF in a meeting
By Mawejje Francis, intern under documenation department June-August 2016.
It is estimated that nearly 800 million people worldwide lack access to adequate sanitation. Many of these are found in what has come to be identified as “slums” or informal settlements. To many development practitioners then, slums were illegal settlements that were to be eradicated thinking this would ultimately solve the urban problems, but the test of time has proven them wrong and now slums constitute the “inevitable growth problem”. ACTogether Uganda a local based NGO partnering with COMIC relief is transforming the sanitation Kampala slums by establishing bio-fil toilets. These respond to the unique challenges that have haunted the urban poor communities for long. The toilet technology uses environmentally friendly tools to digest human waste into fertilizers by worms. The technology is also user friendly as it hardly requires digging ordinary pits considering that many of these communities are in low lying areas where the water table is high. The toilet facilities are also reported to be hygienic by communities and remarkably easy to clean. In addition, the biofilm toilets reduce the propensity to spread diseases as they hardly contain flies or any other insects or vectors. Under the program, community participation is a vital aspect in form of resource mobilization and support which envisages the viability and sustainability of the program. In many of the communities where the program has been implemented like Lungujja, and Kawempe, residents have reported good feedback and have shown enormous gratitude to the national slum dwellers federation of Uganda (NSDFU). The federation is the umbrella body that advocates for the rights of people living in informal settlements. For some, the intervention was timely as it halted the city authority from closing off their business areas for failure to adhere to the required sanitary conditions. It has also made evident improvement by bringing down the incidence of communicable diseases in the settlements where the project has been established. According the world health organization (WHO) established the physical availability as an indicator to improvement in sanitation, there is hope that with such new innovation, sanitation in many of Kampala’s slums shall improve.
The challenge of common toilet the biofil toilet established at kitunzi-lungujja
facilities in slums. market.
By Amaniyo Gloria, the manager, Jinja Material Training Centre.
Located on Kyabazinga road, a multi-purpose community Centre of opportunities lies, this is Walukuba-Masese division of Jinja district. Clear sign that signal the dawn of socio-economic transformation for “our generation” thinking to my-self as clouds come floating over my face in the seemingly frigid evening. I am there for the very first time to meet a colleague that asked me to speak to a group of youth the next morning. A heavy down-pour is threatening but with the tenacious structure over me, I am more than certain to be safe. Inquisitive as always, I move past the playful children propelled to talk to the old man in the near corner, he later turns out to be a member of the federation. Instinctively I feel he knows a lot about this place of common interest, perhaps the old saying “old is gold.” rings a bell. After a few introductory remarks in my broken “Lusoga” (local dialect), he agrees to speak to me about it all. I learn that the Centre houses three active departments, a multi-purpose community hall; production and hostels he later explains to me in the details below.
The community hall/Centre: The SDI(shack/slum dwellers international) family has since 2015 made the Centre a hub for learning different skills and it has since then had members from different countries come for different exchanges including the East African Hub. It is also a Centre for community members to have space to meet and share on issues affecting their areas with their leaders, carryout settlement planning and above all a recreation Centre for the community. There is DSTV, a pool table and a temporary volleyball court where the youth have recreation activities in the evenings. It also offers venue for workshops, seminars, trainings, meetings, parties, among others.
The production department; makes low cost building materials, offers free training to the youth and women in Jinja and Uganda at large. The training is free, however the participants have to cater or purchase the training materials. Participants from outside Jinja have to cover their transport, accommodation and feeding costs. The training is both theoretical and practical. The method of training is “learn by doing”. The materials are manually produced using molds made of steel and wood. Certificates of attendance are awarded to those who successfully complete the training course. The training duration is a minimum of two weeks.
The hostels offer decent accommodation to different people from different walks of life at affordable rates. It also offers accommodation to students on training, members of the federation from long distances, ACTogether staff, and other guests both local and international.
The rooms are self-contained, with well treated mosquito nets to prevent any opportunities of mosquito bites. Catering services and refreshments are also available at the Centre.
Overview of activities
- Community meetings
- Federation meetings
By, Ssendegeya Jonathan, Youth Documenter, Kawempe region;
Kalimali settlement in Bwaise is located 5km from the Kampala central business district and has an estimated population of more than 1000 people. However, the day population of the area is much bigger due to the road side business in the zone. This settlement is predominantly peril-urban in that it portrays both rural and urban characteristics in terms of economic activities, social relationships and the built environment; Kalimali is one of the informal settlements. The inhabitants of Kalimali face a lot of challenges and among them include the garbage issue that breeds ground for communicable diseases like cholera, diarrhea, and dysentery among others. In partial fulfillment of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda (NSDFU) and ACTogether in conjunction with their partners; Makerere University, Association of African Planning Schools (AAPS), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and others have developed a program of garbage management in the settlement to manage garbage from its initial stage up to its disposal. It all began with the profiling and enumeration exercise plus mapping for the better planning of the community whose data is well known. This was put on the next level of dividing the settlement into five clusters based on the geographical location for the better coordination among the community.
The campaign began at 6am with the general cleaning of the 7 dumping spots and the drainages in Kalimali as identified by the community. In this initiative, dumping bins were given to the communities for purposes of proper waste management. Participation in the cleaning activity was well embraced by many, among them included; the community, the National Slum Dwellers Federation members from all the five divisions of Kampala, the national working team, KCCA workers, and the core partner ACTogether and many others.
The garbage from the community is collected in the specified places making it easier for the KCCA trucks to pick them for disposal. Bravo to ACTogether Uganda which facilitated this exercise with all the required equipment which included the hoes, rakes, gloves, dumping drums for the new dumping sites, overalls, sacks and wheel.
Community sensitization The cleaning exercise
Dumping bins that were introduced Garbage collection exercise in Kalimali
Garbage collection by KCCA