Strengthening Urban Local Governments in Uganda

ICMA worked with five key municipalities to help achieve the goals of a national slum upgrading project, Transforming the Settlements of the Urban Poor in Uganda (TSUPU).


In 2010, ICMA entered into a partnership with the Urban Authorities Association of Uganda (UAAU) and the Municipal Development Partnership (MDP) to assist the government of Uganda in their desire to proactively manage rapid urbanization and improve living conditions for the urban poor. With funding from the Cities Alliance, ICMA and its partners helped five municipalities (Arua, Jinja, Kabale, Mbale, and Mbarara) improve their urban management and planning systems and helped strengthen UAAU as a sustainable municipal organization representing the interests of urban local governments in the country.

Uganda is one of the least urbanized countries in Africa, but urban populations are growing rapidly and are expected to triple by 2025. About 60 percent of urban dwellers live in slums.

The aim of the program was to help Ugandan local governments carry out their part in implementing a national program: Transforming the Settlements of the Urban Poor in Uganda (TSUPU). The TSUPU program is an initiative undertaken by the Government of Uganda and its support partners to align urban development efforts at the national government, local government, and community level. It aims to:

  • Develop a national urban policy that will guide sustainable urbanization in Uganda
  • Ensure the empowerment of local governments and reinforce the importance of active community participation
  • Build the capacity of local governments to strategically manage urbanization
  • Empower organizations of the urban poor to actively engage in local development
  • Focus on secondary cities, such as the five pilot cities.

ICMA conducted training for the leadership of the UAAU, the leadership teams in the five municipalities, and the municipal employees who were actively engaged in meeting the TSUPU goals. The objective of the training was to instill an awareness of the “public service” philosophy on which the TSUPU project rests. Based on the session, ICMA designed a template for public service training that can be used by other local governments in the country.

Additional activities included:

  • Assessments of the five pilot municipalities to identify gaps in organizational operations, systems, and capacity
  • Development of management improvement plans designed to address the gaps in each municipality
  • Joint sponsorship of a conference with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development in November 2012; UAAU/ICMA made presentations focused on lessons learned from the TSUPU project, strategic municipal leadership, and the need for a strong municipal association to advocate for urban interests in the country.


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