NKOKONJERU CARITAS HOUSING COOPERATIVE SOCIETY
Josephine Nannozi is above 50 years old. She has 2 children and lives with her family in Nkokonjeru, Buikwe district Uganda. Josephine is a member of Nkokonjeru Caritas Housing Cooperative Society where she is the Vice Chairperson of the group. Their main achievements as a cooperative so far have been;
- Buying land as a housing cooperative
- Receiving training in different aspects.
- Companionship and friendship in the cooperative that has made them become like family
Joining a housing cooperative one of the best ways to gain access to land as a woman. Uganda being a patriarchal country like many countries in the south, it is men that own the resources in most societies. Land as a resource is mainly owned by men, some women may get a chance to co-own land when they are married but if they are single then it becomes even more complicated. Land is quiet expensive and one would have to save money over a long period of time to be able to buy their own land. Housing cooperatives are a great avenue through which women can possess land, it doesn’t matter whether they are married or single as long as they are willing to save money every month with other cooperators in the same society, this enables them access adequate and affordable housing over a period of time. Uganda Housing Cooperative Union Limited mobilizes housing cooperatives and builds their capacity on how to save money together, buy land together and build together homes that are affordable and adequate.
As a young lady, Nannozi went to Nkokonjeru for the first time to study as a grade two teacher. While there she got opportunities to teach in a couple of schools. In one of the schools she taught, there was a system where the school collected their Parents Teachers Association (PTA) fees and gave them to one teacher per month until all teachers got a chance. Through this scheme, she bought a plot of land when her turn came. Sadly, she later found out that the land she had purchased had already been sold to another person without her knowledge. Although she lost that piece of land, Nannozi still found another way to raise the money she needed to buy another piece of land. Together with her brother, they sold part of their family land at UGX 3 million. This was enough money to buy land at UGX 1.5 million and the balance, to kick start construction of her house in Nkokonjeru town council. By 2011, the house was complete and she moved into her own home.
She was a member of Nkokonjeru Caritas Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization and the idea of housing cooperatives was introduced to them in 2010. The members of the SACCO were then trained in housing cooperative concepts and governance. “Some members are still in the housing cooperative while others lost morale along the way. Some members did not stick along long enough to buy the land. They had joined with the notion that they were going to be given free houses. When they saw that the houses were not being given to the members they chose to leave the housing cooperative” Nannozi explains. The total contribution when they were buying land was around UGX 600,000. She currently has UGX 100,000 as her savings on the co-op account.
Nannozi already owns a house and is wondering whether she will stay in the old house or give it to her niece or son when the construction is finished for the houses of the housing cooperative. During the interview it was noted that many of the older people in the housing cooperative already own homes even if they are members. For Nannozi, she is glad she owns her home and as a teacher, she does not have to worry when she is transferred to another school. She will still have somewhere to stay. Many schools are not in position to provide accommodation for their teachers and this is a very big challenge.
“Coming together and working as a group is a great thing that is what enabled me to save money with other cooperators and now we are going to build our homes” Nannozi says. “It’s important that one gets a dwelling that is their own” she adds.
She mentioned the fact that If they chose to do things as a cooperative and gave whatever they are doing value addition, they would go far. “Even as we are looking at building we need to agree on something that we can do together as a cooperative at a very good level like weaving baskets that are very good quality” Nannozi explains.