Historic enumerations to begin in Uganda


Uganda’s urban population is estimated at 5 million people (2009) of which 60% live in slums; Uganda is targeting to uplift the lives of at least one million people by the year 2020 through implementing the developed slum upgrading strategy and action plan. This localization of the MDG 7 target 11 is in direct recognition that slums are a development challenge that must be addressed to create harmony in our societies. This therefore calls for coordinated policies and actions related to slum-upgrading, environmental management, infrastructure development, service delivery and poverty-reduction at large.

Kampala is the largest city in Uganda, and the country’s capital city. It is a rapidly growing city with a 5% increase in population annually; it has an estimated nighttime population of around 1.5 million people, doubling during the day as people travel into the city for work. Infrastructure and service provision with the capital are severely deficient, and the city lacks the capacity to adequately serve the growing population. The government has no clear information about how many slums exist in Kampala and this shows the lack of basic information that can be used for planning any development and consequently the informal settlements have been left out of the city plans.

After 8 years of working together towards poverty alleviation and improving access to basic services, the slum dwellers of Kampala have realised the need to undertake research to better understand their community problems but also to ensure that they can use the information to lobby and advocate for their rights.

The study will be undertaken in five divisions of; Nakawa, Makindye, Rubaga, Kawempe and Kampala Central. The process is expected to involve; a count of structures, Households, Health Facilities, Drainage, estimated population by sex, Adult _Children Ratio, community development programs and interventions etc.

The process

This journey to what has been considered by the communities as a successful settlement profile has not overlooked the involvement of the City Council of Kampala and the Central government through Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban development as consensus meetings were held to agree on the activity and the roles of the different stakeholders. The Local council leaders are consulted through meetings that are being held at the 5 divisions that make up Kampala City. The federation has organised meetings to select the enumeration teams and facilitators that are leading in the process of data gathering.

The goal

The federation will be conducting enumerations in 5 cities, and will represent the largest and most comprehensive enumeration of the urban poor in Uganda’s history. The task is now for the federation to mobilise the communities and begin to identify members who will be trained to conduct the surveys.

Zimbabwe federation holds forum, Southern African hub meets

Zimbabwe forum 2011

By George Masimba, Dialogue on Shelter

The Zimbabwean Alliance hosted the second National Forum whose theme was ‘strengthening our process through savings’. The Forum which was held in the Midlands Province in Gweru was attended by Federation members from the seven regions namely Harare, Matebeleland South Matebeleland North, Masvingo, Mashonaland West, Manicaland and Midlands.

SDI affiliates from South Africa, Namibia, Malawi and Zambia graced the occasion and assisted greatly with the discussions. The Forum’s main agenda involved presentation of regional reports, reflection on the Federation rituals and drafting of regional work-plans.

The various regions reported how they had expanded the Federation coverage through opening savings schemes in new areas. In areas around Harare, new initiatives like Shamva, Bindura, Guruve and Marondera had now been mobilised whilst Matebeleland South now encorporated areas that include Plumtree, Kezi, Gwambe, Esigodini and Tsholotsho. The countrywide mobilisation of new areas had seen uMfelandawonye chapters grow from 32 areas in 2008 to the current 54 areas. The different regions also reported on the establishment of networks in their areas – a strategy that had seen participation of more members and strengthening of groups through breaking regions into smaller clusters. Networks were also reported to be facilitating the decentralisation of regional budgets.

A majority of savings schemes outlined how they had started the creative usage of savings through the mobilisation of money for buying groceries, pre-purchasing building materials and availing loans for business projects. Some of the products from the business ventures were also on display at the Forum. Harare region, for instance, showcased products from a project that was producing building materials and herbal medicines. The various regions also highlighted that the move to ensure the immediate usage of savings had been necessitated by the lack of trust in the banking sector.

The regional reports were then followed by specific presentations on the Federation rituals and components. Under the health component, it was reported that a pilot mobile clinic had been set up and been functional for close to three months. The clinic was currently stationed at the Crowborough Federation resource centre catering for the wider community as well.

The presentation on land noted that negotiations with both central and local government institutions had since yielded a total of around 5354 stands across the country. Infrastructure was however reported to be the biggest challenge hence there was a now a well-coordinated campaign for alternatives like boreholes and ecological sanitation units. Whilst on one hand lobbying was going on with officials to have buy-in, the Federation’s capacity to build the eco-san toilets was being developed through training sessions and exchange visits. Seven artisans training sessions have so far been conducted in the country’s six regions.

Enumerations as a powerful tool for negotiations had been expanded and sharpened to include mapping. The national enumeration team reported how they had started building and strengthening their teams in preparation for a number of surveys as well as the Harare Slum Upgrading Programme. Lastly, the Forum participants then grouped according to the regions in order to prepare regional work plans on the basis of the different areas’ priorities.

Southern African hub meeting

Consistent with current practice with other SDI hubs, the Southern Hub of Africa met in Zimbabwe around the latter’s National Forum. The five SDI affiliates in attendance appraised each other through country reports.

The Malawians provided feedback pertaining to their National Forum held in 2010 and thanked the other affiliates for their support. The Malawians also reported on a series of exchanges around water and sanitation that had taken place with Zimbabwe. The activities in Malawi had also started to have impact on policy as shown by the Malawian government’s Growth and Development Strategy which was modelled around the Federation concept.

The Zambians indicated that they were currently busy with a number of housing projects as well as building resource centres hence they had plans to strengthen their capacity through artisans training programmes. In addition, the Zambians had scheduled two Forums on Housing and Health in the first half of the year which drew a lot of interest from other affiliates.

In Swaziland, the need for Federation strengthening emerged as the main priority although it was mentioned that interaction with central and local government had significantly improved. A national forum held in December inn Swaziland had helped to boost the savings schemes.

In Harare, the Federation was implementing Slum Upgrading Project in partnership with the City of Harare and already an exchange had taken place with the Malawians around this project. The Zimbabweans noted that there were plans to scale up current health programmes.

In Namibia, a countrywide 5-year programme (Community Land Information Programme CLIP) documenting informal settlements, was reported to be underway. The Namibians also informed the meeting about the pending programmes aimed at supporting the emerging process in Angola.

The South Africans invited other affiliates to their National Forum earmarked for March 2011. In particular, FEDUP requested support on health issues from other affiliates during the Forum.

After the country reports the meeting then went on to discuss the UPFI call for proposals whose sum total for the entire hub was US$100000.00 with a repayment period of 3 years. The affiliates discussed the terms for accessing UPFI funds and the following country-level issues were noted as the basis for allocation;

  • Fully-fledged status
  • Existing city-wide processes
  • Existing revolving community-based loan fund
  • Existing country-wide network of federations
  • Existing partnerships with government.

On the project level, the following specific considerations were observed as critical for the disbursement of funds;

  • Impact – the extent to which a project will yield results and benefit members
  • Policy – the extent to which a project will influence central and local government policy
  • Leverage – the extent to which a project has scope to attract additional resources
  • Innovation – the extent to which the resources will go towards new alternative
  • Sustainability – the extent to which the resources will go beyond the project period

In the end, the affiliates agreed on the following allocations for the UPFI call;

Country Loan Amount Project Description
South Africa US$40000.00 Housing project in North West Province
Zambia US$20000.00 Completion of Federation resource centre in Lusaka
Malawi US$20000.00 Construction of Chinsapo Community Hall
Zimbabwe US$20000.00 Scaling up of the health initiative in Harare

*Namibia did not have a proposal during the time of meeting

The following exchange programmes for the hub were planned for the year 2011.

Visiting Countries Destination Country
Malawi and South Africa

Malawi and Zambia

South Africa and Zambia

South Africa and Namibia Swaziland
Zimbabwe and Malawi South Africa
Swaziland and Zambia Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Francistown
South Africa Gaborone

Solving the land information gap through GIS

By Jack Makau, SDI secretariat

Traditionally land information held by most governments (certainly all developing world governments) is stored in cadastral formats. What this means is that governments store records of plot boundaries and who owns those plots.

Meanwhile urbanization has rendered this level of information irrelevant. Often a slum will consist of one or two or three plots, while there are 1000 families living, trading, worshiping, schooling in those plots. If the economic, judicial, and governance systems are based on cadastral information, it is no wonder we cannot solve urban poverty issues, regardless of how much money we throw at the problem.

This huge gap in the ability of Southern governments to understand and govern urban centers is in large part an information gap. The cadastral format cannot reflect the reality of how land is organized in urban areas. It cannot account for 1000 families in 3 or even 20 plots of land. The reality of urban land usage completely belies the fundamental concepts of the cadastral system: families living in ungovernable 10 foot by 10-foot spaces and having their primary toilet function 20 meters away in a 3 foot by 3 foot carton shade; and their kitchen on the sidewalk.

What does this all mean? The contract between citizen and state in Nairobi, Kampala, Cape Town and more in Mumbai cannot take place. The contract is based on the cadastre.

So what about GIS? If we were to change how land information is defined then the challenges of urban slums would not be so intractable. GIS allows you to capture, easily and cheaply, the actual use of space. So instead of government having a plot boundary and owner’s name, they could have, for far less than it costs to survey the plot conventionally, the boundary, the size and type of structures, the actual arrangement of structures, the trees and the owner’s name.

And fortunately this is not just about slums. For example, how does the Cape Town municipality manage water if they do not have a land information system that recognizes swimming pool? How is climate change reversed when plot owners are cutting down trees to put up gazebos? Because planting trees at the outskirts of the cities is not enough.

It’s not the cost of the technology that matters — all of a sudden the constraints of plot sizes are removed. The limitations associated with the management of land (by government) do not exist. They have a true picture of the city. And if someone comes along and builds something at night, government can find out and manage it the very next day. It’s cheap, it’s real time and it’s true.

And, when they are done GIS-bombing Bagdad and Afghanistan and putting navsat in every Bentley, Bimmer and Boxter, what are they going to do with all those satellites?

So, the UN Habitat’s Global Land Tools Network (GLTN) and Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) experiment in Uganda is the first stirrings of change in altering the way urban land is managed.  STDM at the back-end is a land registry system (sort of a cross between Google Earth for governments and the Land Act). At the front end is GIS and Microsoft Excel that’s appropriate for capturing enumeration and mapping information at household level, one base lower than plot level cadastre-type information.

In January, GLTN and SDI started a discussion on testing the newly developed STDM platform in Uganda. This isn’t the first land tool interaction between the two agencies. At UN Habitat, the developers of STDM studied the federations’ enumeration experiences in Mumbai, Nairobi and Kisumu and coded them onto the open source Quantum GIS program.

However, the STDM discussion was a plugin to an activity already underway: The Government of Uganda, Cities Alliance and SDI urban transformation program that targets transformation of urban slums in five secondary cities (Jinja, Arua, Kabale, Mbale and Mbarara). Estimated to reach 200,000 slum families, the program seeks among other things to register all informal settlement in these cities.

So significant is the application of GIS technology to Uganda that the STDM plugin could attain program engine status. Uganda has one of the most complex, un-resolvable urban land tenure systems in the universe. In certain places, like Kisenyi slum right at the heart of Kampala city, the Kabaka — constitutional king of the Buganda kingdom — owns the land. Over time, landowners have recieved land grants, held at the king’s pleasure.  In turn they have parceled the land and made out their own leases to structure owners who have built a sprawl of 35,000 shacks and rent them ever month to the city’s urban poor. Any attempt at slum upgrading is confronted with the question, “who among these layered interests is the beneficiary?”

SDI’s Ugandan affiliate, the 29,000-family-strong Uganda Slum Dwellers Federation, and the federation’s support NGO, Actogether, seek solutions that recognize all interests. Solutions that are underpinned by the corresponding usage and investment on the land. That integrate with the city’s aspirations of future sustainability and prosperity. So citywide enumerations and mapping exercises planned for early 2011 are important for determining the usage and investment patterns, are critical in anchoring possible solutions.

The success of this experiment, at least on the land information side, is hinged on the ability of UN Habitat and SDI to get the Ministry of Lands to buy into STDM. Then the federation enumerates, maps and puts the information into STDM and voila! A real urban land information system and 200,000 slum families in Uganda are in the government registry. And thereafter if anyone invests in infrastructure or housing it doesn’t matter because once the land information system changes so will the definition of land ownership. The title deed will be replaced by the use-deed.  Effectively we circumvent a herculean slum land tenure mess. And then we take the show to the next land mess in Nairobi or any other rapidly growing city with byzantine understandings of land usage.