By Violet Katusabe.

International Day of Cooperatives is an annual United Nations observance held on the first Saturday of July. It was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1992 to raise public awareness on cooperatives. The world’s co-operators will celebrate the global movement on 1st July this year under the theme “Inclusion” and the slogan, Cooperatives ensure no one is left behind which were chosen by the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Co-operatives.

One of the strategies to ensure no one is left behind is trough forming and registering cooperative societies as a way for communities to achieve comprehensive development. A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to achieve their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise. In Uganda the cooperative movement has been under the umbrella of Uganda cooperative Alliance (UCA) which strives to provide high quality services to all cooperatives societies and the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperative (MTIC) whose mandate is to promote an enabling environment for the development of sustainable and vibrant member-based cooperatives.

In Uganda today there are many types of cooperatives recognized and they include; Agricultural Marketing cooperatives , mining cooperatives, Fishing cooperatives, Hand Craft cooperatives, Livestock/ Dairy cooperatives, Transport cooperatives, poultry . Those have been in existence with the majority cooperative being the Agricultural and Livestock/ Diary cooperatives which have been in existence for decades.

Housing cooperatives have been considered in the National Housing Policy 2016, policy statement 12 as a model that can be used to deliver adequate and affordable houses to all the Ugandans. Since 2009 the Housing Cooperative Development Project funded by We Effect was set up to support low and modest income communities in the urban and semi urban areas of the central region that was Kampala,Wakiso, Mukono, Jinja, Buikwe and Mpigi to access affordable housing solutions. From 2013, Uganda Housing Cooperative Union (UHOCU) has taken lead in mobilizing and building capacity of members in primary housing cooperative societies. Today UHOCU has membership of about 963 people (395 young people, 233 Adult males, and 309 Adult females) who constitute the 23 primary housing cooperative societies (PHCS) directly affiliated to it. UHOCU has expanded to Luwero and masaka districts as well as in the regions of western and northern Uganda. We are working closely with government of Uganda through ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development (MoLHUD), MTIC and the Local government in promoting the cooperative housing model.

Cooperatives make significant contributions to the economic, political, social and cultural advancement of individuals, communities and entire nation to enjoy their full rights of housing. For four consecutive years, the UHOCU has been participating in the International Day of Cooperatives Day to increase awareness on the cooperative movement and its contribution to resolve major problems among communities. While this year’s event will be hosted by Bugisu Cooperative Union Limited located in Mbale, UHOCU will use the event as a plat form to create awareness on the role of housing Cooperatives, re-energizing leaders at primary housing cooperative level and interacting with other communities at national level towards embracing housing cooperatives as a model for delivery of low cost housing units to Ugandans. UHOCU is working with fellow co-operators including the Uganda Cooperative Alliance, the UHURU institute and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives to celebrate the cooperatives week from 23rd. June to 1st.July 2017 and participate in the exhibition. His Excellency the president of the republic of Uganda is expected to grace the event as Chief Guest.

Come one, come all!

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