As we reach the one year milestone of the Philips Livable Cities Award, I am happy that the Shade Stands project is progressing well. We can really see now that the project will leave an impressive legacy, benefiting people in Kampala for a long time.
My greatest surprise over the last year- which also came as a relief! - was the realization by city authorities of the need for shelters in Kampala. Before the Shade Stands project commenced, there were almost no shades in Kampala city. But as a result of our work to pin-point areas that needed shades, as well as publicity generated by the media, shades were built in those areas by the government of Uganda.
The biggest challenge I encountered over the last year was the issue of land ownership. Some pieces of land had multiple owners and, with so many landlords claiming ownership, we were delayed as we tried to get permission from all of the owners to put up the Shade Stands. The other challenge we faced was the delay in relation to city planning processes; these decisions can take some time.
The feedback I have received from the people using the Shade Stands has been good. Both local people and the authorities have appreciated the need for the project as well as the health education messages for Kampala to become a ‘livable city’. The project has been welcomed by all age groups – young people, the elderly, women and children.
Plans for the Future
My plan for the future is to design a fully-fledged project based on the lessons learned from the pilot, widening the operational base and also increasing the budget to benefit a wider community.
To start with, my plan for the project is that it will be replicated in other parts of Uganda. I hope the benefits of the project will also be publicised on blogs, health websites and journals as good practice for healthy living outdoors in cities.
On a smaller scale, I am continuing to work with local communities to construct more shades. So far we have been allocated a spot in Gayaza Town by the council and we are going to put up some more Shade Stands in this area.
The work continues!