The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed our way of life but also the way we accomplish tasks & get work done. Despite the setbacks caused by the pandemic, COVID 19 pandemic has also shown a new face and a reality to the housing sector! Housing has become the front-line defense against the coronavirus. Without a decent and secure place to call home, it is extremely difficult to self-quarantine, stay safe, or even regularly wash your hands.

This is not the story for 119 families now in Kumi, Mayuge, and Kabarole Districts. Habitat for Humanity Uganda held its first virtual ceremony on 15th July due to the lockdown that the country is currently facing. These families now have access to other vital rights-based services like access to clean and safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation, and health among others. Testimonies from homeowners showed that a decent home is more than the physical structure but the key to access wider development opportunities that contribute to the wellbeing of humanity. Habitat Uganda’s Vulnerable Group housing (VGH) Program empowers vulnerable families with decent shelter that comes complete with a ventilated pit latrine, a shower stall, and a 3,000 litre water tank. The Families are also trained on environmental protection and management, pre and post-construction, HIV/ AIDs prevention, succession and inheritance planning, psychosocial support, and malaria prevention.

Margaret testifies that her old house had weak walls infested with termites which continued weakening the walls and whenever it rained, they slept in fear of the house burying them alive. They also had no sanitation facilities and always used the neighboring school’s toilet to help themselves. With her new house, she is not scared of the rains destroying her house anymore, and they now have their own Ventilated Improved Pit latrine and shower stall to promote hygiene and sanitation in their home and enjoy their privacy.

Margaret with her family in front of their new home.

Remarks from Mr. Dave Khayangayanga; the Director of housing from the Ministry of lands housing and urban development pledged to continue supporting Habitat for Humanity to ensure that more Ugandans have a decent place to call home.

The connection between housing and livelihood security and its contribution to the long-term financial resilience of the families served; one youth is also selected from these families and enrolled in an accredited vocational institute where upon completion, they are given start-up kits to take forward their skills and become the income earners and support base for their families. The virtual ceremony witnessed the graduation and handover of tool kits to 90 youth. To date, 600 youth have been empowered in areas such as hairdressing, tailoring, carpentry, welding and fabrication, catering, bricklaying and concrete practice, motor vehicle, and motorcycle mechanics. This intervention has enabled youth who had dropped out of school to acquire practical skills and certification which could enhance their productivity and earning potential.

Bosco is now a renowned welder in his community in Ongino Sub-county, Kumi District.

Congratulations to all our beneficiaries on the new journey they have embarked on to strength, stability, and self-reliance.

Watch the virtual event via Habitat for Humanity Uganda 2021 Graduation and Dedication Ceremony – YouTube