Selected Results


Capacity Strengthening for Inclusive Urban Development in Uganda.  Launched in 2010, the Uganda Country Programme began with the Transforming the Settlements of the Urban Poor (TSUPU) programme. Working closely with the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD), the programme produced a national urban policy to guide more inclusive development and formed active urban forums that provide the space for participatory urban planning and policy making at the national and municipal levels. The programme fostered strong partnerships and a culture of dialogue that is underpinning urban development efforts and has already had a significant impact. The percentage of city residents living in slums decreased by 10%; average municipal expenditures increased by 168% per person; and the average percentage of low-income households with regular electricity connections increased by 43% between 2013-16.


Empowering the urban poor with Community Upgrading Funds. The Community Upgrading Fund (CUF) is one of the most successful components of the Cities Alliance Country Programme model. It provides financing for small infrastructure projects selected by the communities themselves, helping residents see tangible progress quickly while the longer-term objectives of the Country Programme unfold. The CUF model was first implemented in the Cities Alliance Uganda Country Programme, where communities implemented 123 upgrading infrastructure projects in 5 municipalities to the benefit of 523,185 inhabitants of urban poor neighbourhoods, at a cost of US $848,395.


Creation of the National Urban Policy Programme.  With Cities Alliance assistance, National Urban Policies (NUP) have been prepared by the Governments of Ghana, Uganda and Vietnam. The Cities Alliance, UN-Habitat and OECD created the National Urban Policy Programme which continues to support the development and implementation of NUPs globally.


Local Capacity Development. Cities Alliance supported local capacity for over 4,800 local government staff in Ghana, Uganda and Vietnam.


Mobilising and empowering slum dwellers.  Cities Alliance and Slum Dwellers International (SDI) have strengthened slum dweller federations in more than 30 countries in Africa and Asia to partner with local governments, often replacing antagonism with trust. Cities Alliance Country Programmes mobilised over 609 community savings groups across Ghana, Uganda, Liberia and Vietnam.


Institutionalising participatory planning in Uganda.  Municipal Development Forums, which were designed to bring all stakeholders into the urban development process, have been made statutory bodies. 


Integrating formal, informal and customary land rights - the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM).  Security of tenure is one of the most critical challenges for sustainable urban development. The process of STDM provides an opportunity for the authorities and slum communities to initiate dialogues for inclusive planning, access to basic services and infrastructure, and ultimately to improve land access and records. The STDM model is an innovative land information management system which integrates formal, informal and customary land rights, initially piloted in Mbale, Uganda. Combining the technology brought by UN- Habitat and GLTN with community engagement and participation from decades of experience by SDI proved not only possible, but transformative, and the STDM project formalised relations between communities and the local government. As a result, the communities are now recognised as legitimate development actors and not merely the beneficiaries of upgrading initiatives. The Municipal Council awarded the community several contracts for sanitation units, and the community implemented eight water point projects.

Through the programme we can articulate that we are slum dwellers, but not just poor. We should be involved in decision-making - if we are not, development will not take place and programmes will not work. The programme is effective regarding involvement, and this is very important.

Representative of slum dwellers in Uganda. COWI, Independent Evaluation of Cities Alliance, 2012.