Secure tenure has been one of the biggest benefits for Slum Women’s Initiative for Development (SWID)’s members. Before, they were subjected to evictions and land grabbing and they were constantly living in fear of losing their homes. Now many of the members are in the process of getting their land titles and with that security, being able to focus on other things in life, like their families and livelihood.
Eligibility for a bank loan requires security. SWID members often only had land agreements, rendering them unable to acquire bank loans since the government and banks did not recognize the documents as security. But having been given certificate of completion, and later on land titles, they are now safe and able to get bank loans to operative who have not yet managed to buy their own land.
SWID’s Certificate of registration of their housing co-operative.
Women’s empowerment is crucial for development. In the past, the land agreements were always in the man’s name, but through sensitization and recognition of women’s contribution to the household economy it is now more accepted for women to have their names on the land titles. Also the children’s name can be put on the titles, enabling both sons and daughters to inherit family land and property. Joint titles and family titles are very important issues for SWID, since it is impossible for a man to kick his wife out of the house in case of a separation or dispute.
Agatha Adongo, a member of SWID, standing on her land with piles of interlocking Soil Stabilized Blocks that she has manufactured.
Not having to live in the slums in dirty and poorly constructed houses has greatly improved the health and quality of life for the members of SWID and their families. Members who didn’t have electricity and access to water, who lived in poor houses with asbestos roofs have now improved their lives immensely through the access to new houses with better facilities in better environments.
Creating the housing co-operative has brought with it a social change for its members. When you have a house you are considered someone in the community, you are respected and recognized. Members testify that they feel more included in the community as a result of joining the housing co-operative. SWID has also obtained recognition from the municipal/local council as an organization that has contributed to the development of the community.
Grandchildren of a SWID member posing outside their old house. Their new house, which is under construction can be spotted in the background.
With the support from international partners and other platforms, the chairperson has even been given a medal by the President of the Republic of Uganda for her work and contribution to improve the lives of slum dwellers.
Slum Women’s Initiative for Development (SWID).
SWID was established in 2003. SWID works towards an empowered community with a home for every woman. The group has over 200 members, of which many have been able to buy land thanks to their join savings efforts. SWID does urban farming, paralegal support, block making amongst other things. In 2015 the group registered in Jinja Housing Co-operative, which consists of thirty women and five men. The co-operative are now actively saving to be able to buy land together.