The idea of habitat for humanity was coined by a farmer and Biblical scholar Clarence Jordan in Georgia, USA.
However, it was Millard and Linda Fuller who eventually turned the idea into a housing organisation called Habitat for Humanity International. The concept was about partnership housing where those in need of adequate shelter worked side by side with volunteers to build decent and affordable houses at no profit. New homeowners were supported by no-interest loans from the Fund for Humanity. Millard and Linda Fuller set up the Fund for Humanity through funds from supporters and fundraising initiatives.
In 1973, the Fullers decided to take the Fund for Humanity concept to the Democratic Republic of Congo where they succeeded in launching a building program. Upon their return to the USA in 1976, the Fullers then founded Habitat for Humanity International.
In 1982, Habitat for Humanity International birthed Habitat for Humanity Uganda. Habitat for Humanity Uganda is affiliated with Habitat for Humanity International and an ecumenical Christian Ministry.
As a leading housing organization in Uganda, Habitat for Humanity Uganda is dedicated to eliminating poverty housing in Uganda. It empowers the most vulnerable communities in Uganda to overcome the chronic lack of decent and affordable housing.
Habitat for Humanity International now works in more than 70 countries in the world and has helped more than 39 million people to achieve strength, stability and independence through safe, decent and affordable shelter.
Every human being has the right to a house. Both The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the East African Community Treaty recognize housing as a basic human right.
The government of Uganda in the 1995 Constitution under the General Social and Economic objectives pledges decent shelter for all Ugandans. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that all families have decent and affordable houses that are safe, secure and fit for human habitation.
In its Vision 2040, the government of Uganda also recognizes the role of housing in the socio-economic transformation of the country.
Uganda currently faces a growing housing deficit of 2.4 million housing units. Owning a house is something that most vulnerable communities in Uganda never dream of. The majority of houses in the country are made of poor structures. It is estimated that around 900,000 housing units in Uganda are substandard and in dire need of replacement and or upgrading.
As the country’s population shoots up, the need for housing units also goes up. By the end of this year, Uganda will have a population of about 48 million people thereby raising the housing deficit to more than 3 million. And by 2025, there will be about 52 million people in the country with a housing deficit of about four million.
Habitat for Humanity Uganda has been working in partnership with beneficiaries, volunteers, public and private sector partners, civil society organizations and governments to build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter for vulnerable communities.
There are about 7.3 million households in Uganda occupying 6.2 million units with an average household size of 4.6 persons. It should be noted that the national occupancy density is estimated at 1.1 households per housing unit. Uganda has a total backlog of 1.6 million housing units and of this, about 210,000 units are in the urban areas and 1.395 million in rural areas.
In a year about 40,000 good housing units are constructed in the rural areas and 20,000 in the urban areas but the need for new housing is estimated at 200,000 housing units of which 135,000 are in rural and 65,000 in the urban areas.
Habitat for Humanity Uganda contributes to this housing deficit through four tailored programming approaches; Vulnerable Group Housing, Provision of Housing Finance, Market Based Technical Assistance and the Urbanization Program that gives support to local governments.
The Vulnerable Group housing program has to date supported over 10,000 vulnerable rural families with social housing that comes with a VIP latrine and shower stall thereby enabling about 60,000 individuals to have a place they call home.
The Provision of Housing Finance program has supported low-income households with home improvement loans and so far over 30,000 families in Uganda have benefited from this program.
For 40 years now, Habitat for Humanity Uganda has built and improved over 40,000 houses-transforming the lives of over 240,000 vulnerable families hence contributing to a 1.67% reduction in the housing deficit in the country.
A recent national housing survey report from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics showed that 20.3% of the population is living in poverty with a high housing cost burden and this
impacts a family’s ability to provide for basic needs like quality medical care
and education for children. It is believed that when a family is supported
with a home, these challenges are greatly reduced and the family can move from
surviving to thrive.
Habitat for Humanity Uganda’s strategy (2022-2026) is aligned toward complementing the government’s efforts at realizing Uganda's Vision 2040, National Development Plan III, Sustainable Development Agenda and the National Housing Policy 2016.
By 2025, Habitat for Humanity Uganda projects to serve over 10,000 vulnerable families and this will be a humble success in comparison with Uganda’s widening housing deficit estimated at 2.4 million housing units.
Habitat for Humanity Uganda has always thrived through collaborations and partnerships with families, volunteers, public and private sector partners, civil society organizations and governments.
To mark the 40thanniversary(Link to Habitat at 40 landing page), Habitat for Humanity Uganda is therefore calling upon you to support their goal to build 40 new houses for vulnerable families in Uganda and also celebrate the handover of at least 100 new houses on October 4. Your support will contribute to making Uganda a place where everyone has a decent place to live.
A decent home is the first step in a family’s journey out of poverty. A home and the community that surrounds it should be a source of solace, strength, stability and self-reliance.
However, access to adequate housing is still a big challenge in Uganda. It is estimated that over 12 million Ugandans lack a safe place to call home. The COVID-19 pandemic also exacerbated the problem as it pushed more people into severe poverty thus deepening the housing crisis. Therefore, now more than ever, there is a need to support the expansion of housing both as policy and practice.
Habitat for Humanity Uganda believes that no one lives in dignity until everyone can live in dignity. Everyone has something to contribute and something to gain from creating communities where everyone has a decent and affordable place to live.