Uganda is experiencing a rapid urban growth of 5.4% annually. The urban areas are developing with minimal or no planning and proper guidance thus contributing to the growth of informal settlements. Slum settlements now occupy more than 50% of the land area in most of Uganda’s urban centres and provide accommodation to more than 70% of their population.
When the urbanization process is planned and effectively managed, it can result into a competitive and productive urban sector that drives socio-economic development through creation of employment and improving of livelihoods.
Sustainable Development Goal 11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable) emphasizes the need to significantly transform approaches for building and managing urban spaces for sustainable social and economic development. It points to the essence of having human settlements with all persons able to enjoy equal rights and opportunities. Housing is a basic human need and right, which is essential to the well-being of all mankind. It has profound impact on the health, welfare and socio-economic development of an individual.
Most of the land in urban areas is characterized by multiplicity of tenure. This has caused conflicts over land leading to forceful evictions and insecurity of tenure which is detrimental to transformative and sustainable urban development.
Women in urban areas encounter challenges that differ from those in rural areas. Among these challenges is poor land use planning and management, inflating economic value of land hence making affordability and security of land ownership almost impossible. It is therefore imperative that all stakeholders including government, the private sector,Civil society organisations,academia and urban dwellers, i.e men and women, youth and old, vulnerable/marginalized collaborate and exploit capacities to achieve sustainable urban development for Uganda.
The policy paper is a compilation of different concerns, recommendations,and a tool we hope will kick-start the conversation on implementing plans that are gender responsive for urbanization.