Cooperatives & Communities

West Nile Cooperative Union members to benefit from housing project

ARUA – West Nile Cooperative Union in partnership with a private firm, East Eden, plans to provide low-cost housing units to its members.

Through the project dubbed, ‘Holistic Empowerment and Revival Approaches for Integrated Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation’, East Eden will build 66,000 low-cost housing units for the former and current tobacco growers in West Nile Sub-region.

According to West Nile Cooperative Union officials, the project is also aimed at reviving the defunct infrastructures at the 23 primary societies affiliated with the cooperative union.

Moses Etukibo, the manager of the cooperative union, says the project seeks to address the problem of poor housing in the West Nile Sub-region. The union has more than 40,000 members.

Etukibo adds that farmers with land titles will be required to make an initial deposit to benefit from the housing units. The rest of the money will be paid in installments as a loan that will attract about 10 percent interest per annum.

However, a memorandum of understanding yet to be signed between the two sides will determine the cost each former will incur to own a small house.

“This project is aimed at empowering farmers and improving their standards of living. Growing tobacco is tedious work that is done throughout the year. As such, many don’t have time to do other things to supplement their earnings. So this project is aimed at improving farmers’ standards of living,” Etukibo said.

According to East Eden, the project immediate beneficiary will be farmers who are in the 23 primary cooperative societies. The first housing units will be established at Wandi trading centre in Terego district where the union has its head office.

The chairperson of East Eden, Sandra Zawede, says that in the beginning, 2,000 units will be constructed targeting such farmers.

Christopher Adia, the chairperson West Nile Cooperative Union, believes that the initiative has come at a time when the union has a functional board. It had spent two decades without any.

He says the project will help revitalise the past glory of the union.

Primo Drama, the union’s vice chairperson says that the initiative has full support from the board. “As new board members, we will rally our support to this project and help where necessary,” he said.

This project comes at a time when West Nile Cooperation Union received Shs 2 billion from government in 2020 to help its revival.

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