“Viens, voir ma belle domicile” was the joyous welcome that ushered me into the new residence of my friend’s grandmother, who I often visited in the former lower-Kiyovu.
The purpose of the visit was two-fold; to visit old friends and also a study tour of the Batsinda Housing Scheme.
A brain child of Kigali City Council, and jointly financed by the Caisse Sociale and a local bank, to its residents this is what social security was all about. Few, dreamt of ever moving out of their former shacks. Their new homes are a physical, social, and psychological ladder climb.
The new simple, decent houses, complete with power and running water are owned on a 25-year mortgage, payable at a monthly rate of Rwf 10,000 ( about Ugshs 30,000).This is less than what they were paying previously.
Another aspect of this project is that it is a living testimony of the effective use of foreign aid. Besides to the national power grid, the homes have a bio-gas system, fed by their own flush toilets.
This innovation was made possible by the Kigali University of Science and Technology, the country’s innovation centre created out of a former military academy with GTZ and UNDP support among others, as the country recovered from the ravages of Genocide.
That same evening as I shared a plate of brochette with my friend and former landlord, he told me that his estate development business is now focused on the low cost housing projects, which, according to him, cost less than the ‘ministerial bungalows and flats’ he had been constructing, besides adding to the beauty of the city and affording citizens a decent housing
I wish that my fellow countrymen in Uganda, and especially Kampala, could think about providing low cost housing for our citizens as well.
Amon B Mbekiza