- Capital: Kampala
- Date of independence: 1962
- Population: 43.8 million
- Urbanization: 16.1%
- Life expectancy: 59 years
- Unemployment rate: 2.3%
- Population living below poverty line: 19.7%
Find more country facts on: CIA The World Factbook – Uganda
- Date when Habitat started working in the country: 1982
- Individuals served in FY18: 81,795
- Volunteers hosted in FY18: 31
- Housing solutions: New homes, incremental, market development
Habitat for Humanity in Uganda
Since its founding in 1982, Habitat for Humanity Uganda has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 8,500 houses – helping more than 62,000 people achieve affordable quality housing.
The housing need in Uganda
With an average income of $65 a month it is not surprising that over two-thirds of Ugandans live in substandard housing. The lack of quality housing compromises people’s health and development opportunities.
It is estimated that Uganda has about 7.3 million households living in 6.2 million housing units with an average household size of 4.7 persons. The national occupancy density is estimated at 1.1 household per housing unit, giving a total backlog of 710,000 housing units. There is also an estimated backlog of 900,000 housing units as a result of sub-standard houses and structures which were never meant for human habitation. Out of a total backlog of 1.6 million housing units, about 210,000 units are in urban areas while 1.395 million units are in rural areas.
The annual need for new housing for the entire country is estimated at 200,000 housing units of which 135,000 are in rural areas and 65,000 in urban areas resulting from the population growth of 3.2 percent and an urbanization rate of 5.1 percent. The estimated construction rate of reasonably good houses is estimated at 40,000 housing units in the rural areas and 20,000 in urban areas. This creates a deficit of 140,000 houses nationally. This shortage does not include the backlog of 1.6 million housing units carried forward.
By 2022, Uganda’s population is projected to be about 45 million people and the housing need will be about three million housing units.
Habitat’s contribution in Uganda
Habitat for Humanity Uganda aims to improve the living conditions of tens of thousands of Ugandans. We strive to serve these people through four tailored programming approaches: 1) vulnerable group housing; 2) housing microfinance; 3) market-based technical assistance; and 4) support to local governments.
Vulnerable groups housing
The program supports vulnerable communities such as orphans and their caregivers through construction of homes with ventilated, improved pit latrines, bathing shelters and a rainwater harvesting system. Families are provided with skills training, including knowledge of HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, succession planning, inheritance rights, sanitation and hygiene, and malaria prevention. Recognizing the connection between housing and livelihood security, we support youth in these households to develop a vocational skill relevant to their local market such as tailoring, carpentry and masonry.
Addressing urban issues
Habitat Uganda is partnering with local governments and municipal development forums to address urban issues with a specific focus on urban water and sanitation to impact the lives of youth who have migrated to cities to seek employment.
Credit is a real challenge in Uganda’s cash-based society. We help families access financial services to improve their homes. We do this directly and through partnering institutions. We promote the practice of incremental building – an approach where clients build in stages, first the walls, then the roof, then the doors and windows, etc. This helps to keep loan sizes small and makes it affordable for low-income clients.
Market systems development
Only 19.5 percent of Ugandans have bank accounts and current financing products tend to be skewed to higher income earners. To address this problem, Habitat Uganda works with financial partners and others and provides institutional technical assistance to develop housing microfinance products and services that serve middle- to low-income clients.
Meet a Habitat family
When a landslide destroyed three villages in the Mount Elgon region in eastern Uganda, Goretti and her six children were among the 603 families relocated by the government about 175 miles west to Kiryadongo.
“1st March 2010 is a day I will never forget,” Goretti said. “A huge mass of soil broke off from uphill and buried my house, my garden and everything else. We survived only because it was during daytime and we were out of the house. I lost my home. I lost everything!”
After the move to Kiryadongo, Goretti lived in a shelter made of temporary fabric – the kind that is commonly used to make outdoor tents. Rainy days were her worst nightmare. With no mattress, the dirt floor would get wet and muddy and it was impossible to sleep.
Today, Goretti is one of 127 families relocated to Kiryadongo who have been able to obtain houses built by Habitat for Humanity Uganda under its vulnerable group housing program. Each two-bedroom home comes equipped with a 3000-litre rainwater harvesting storage tank, a ventilated improved pit latrine and a shower stall.
“All I can say is thank you Habitat, thank you,” Goretti said. “I don’t know how long I would have been able to stay in that tent house.”
What you can do
You can help Ugandan families improve their living conditions by taking one or more of the following actions:
Donate: Go to habitat.org/donate and designate your gift to Habitat Uganda.
Volunteer: Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips to Europe, Middle East and Africa or lead your own. Contact us to learn more: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tithe: All affiliate tithe gifts are sent internationally to serve families outside of the United States. To support the work of Habitat UGANDA, please send your tithe to: Habitat for Humanity International P.O. Box 6598 Americus, GA 31709-3498.
To learn more about Habitat projects in Uganda or in other parts of the region, please contact us.
Colleen Hughes, Program Manager
Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa