Kwefako cooperative, houses Uganda’s dream homes

Many homes in Uganda’s suburbs are in unplanned neighborhoods. Stories of the neighbor’s sewer flooding into the next neighbor’s kitchen are not far talk.

Having organized neighborhoods averts such cases.

If you live in many of Uganda’s suburbs, you must have become accustomed to the deafening sounds of loud night bars, community loudspeakers, mosques, and churches. If communities planned their own space, such cases can be controlled.

For Kwefako housing cooperative society, a dream of owning houses came to birth in with the establishment of 24 housing units.

The owners of the estates were former tenants, who were evicted from Kisenyi, a slum in Kampala in 2013; this only motivated them to build their own houses. Now, they are their own landlords, in Bugiku, Wakiso.

As members of the cooperative, to acquire houses in the estate, they each made a down payment of one million shillings, and now pay seventy thousand shillings every month, over a period of 30 years.

With payments paid in installment, the members are happy to be living with the same people with whom they shared a neighborhood within Kisenyi, these have become more than just neighbors but more of an extended family.

The housing cooperative an idea born out of a tragedy, The estate was the vision of Betty Nakiberu, who initially wanted to start an organization providing care for women living with HI/AIDS in Kisenyi.

Betty Nakiberu serves as the chairperson of Kwefako Housing cooperative. Each unit has a sitting room, a bathroom, and two bedrooms.

All houses are the same, which also saves on building materials. The cost-cutting method also brings to the realization of having a more organized and planned development.

Betty Nakiberu met with housing experts in 2008 and was encouraged to change the name and scoop of the organization to Kwefako Housing cooperative, to provide affordable and low-cost housing, to HIV/AIDS positive people.

She says as people living with HIV/AIDS, it is a good idea for them to stay together, as they can care and look out for one another.

For members of the Kwefako Housing cooperative, the houses bring them together to continue caring for each other and inspire each other, the houses provide more than just shelter, they provide security, peace of mind, and a resting point for their aspirations.

Fiona Nshemerirwe, the General Manager Uganda Housing Cooperative Union, says the issue is having affordable housing. She notes that most private developers are building houses that are too expensive for the average Ugandan citizen.

Uganda’s housing deficit is said to be in excess of 8 billion units, with some of the highest rates in the region. Cooperatives housing could help to reduce the price as well as the amount of time that someone uses to access housing.

With many people unable to buy or build proper houses, they are pushed into getting loans, and this takes them a long period of time because they are mostly defendant on their monthly salary. However, through pulling resources together, more Ugandans can access to resources that could not easily be available if they were doing it alone.

Uganda Housing Cooperative Union has been championing housing cooperatives in Uganda with a view of establishing more affordable and decent housing for low and middle-income earners across the country.

Founded in 2013, the union has 17 societies under it, with so far only Kwefako having successfully established houses, the rest are seen as promising with already bought pieces of land to move to the next phase of building housing estates.

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