Urban Livelihoods Project

The Urban Livelihoods Project in Uganda sought to generate income for households, groups and enterprises through environmentally sound activities.

The project built upon and compliments the project activities of the Public-Private Partnerships for the Urban Environment, which was completed in 2004.

Project Background

Public-Private Partnerships for the Urban Environment (PPPUE) was developed in Uganda in 1994 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The initiative was set-up to increase the access of the urban poor in developing countries to basic urban services; including waste disposal, water, sanitation and energy services, through the promotion of public-private partnerships (PPP).  The initiative developed from the idea that by working together, local government, business and civil society could merge their resources and draw on their expertise to develop the most sustainable and mutually beneficial services to improve the living conditions of the urban poor.

Early findings from the PPPUE initiative, identified that although there were significant benefits for mid-level organizations, few activities focused on the poorest communities in the participating municipalities. In response to this, LEU established the Urban Livelihoods Project (ULP), to directly address this issue and address the specific needs of the poorest communities in the six municipalities.

Project Objectives

  • Generate income for households, groups and enterprises from disadvantaged localities in 6 municipalities through environmentally sound activities
  • Facilitate the involvement of groups and enterprises in partnerships with local government, which address environmental problems in the poorest areas of the 6 municipalities
  • Build the capacity and confidence among community organisations to engage government and ensure the voices of disadvantaged groups are heard and their right to a safe and healthy environment is respected
  • Facilitate sustained environmental improvement for the poorest communities in the 6 municipalities
  • Share and spread income generating waste recycling activities at a household level

Project Activities

Drawing on its previous project activities, LEU identified a number of successful household level initiatives that recycled waste and generated income. The project was designed to encourage the spread of such activities, with a particular emphasis on women; through training and demonstration as well as wider promotion through various media.

Activities included backyard gardening, the growing of fruit, vegetables and mushrooms in sacks and tins for sale or consumption, manufacture of cooking fuel briquettes from plantain/banana peelings for domestic use and sale through to the production of liquid fertiliser using either household waste or domestic animal waste.

Support emerging small enterprises
LEU identified and worked with a number of community groups engaged in addressing environmental problems and whose activities have emerged as economically viable enterprises.  They are constrained in developing these initiatives to their full potential because of the need for business development advice and the lack of capital/credit.  The project addressed these constraints through the establishment of a business advisory function, based within LEU.  The key role of this advisory function was to provide operational business support – planning, marketing, growth – delivered by a combination of in-house expertise, consultants and experts working within the private sector who provide their services as part of their organisational corporate social responsibility directives.

Build capacity of local community groups and organisations
A structured capacity building programme was offered to community groups/enterprises enabling them to compete in bidding to provide services required by municipal authorities. As well as increased capacity to engage in the project objectives, the programme enhanced these organisations’ effectiveness to address wider problems and reinforce their long-term viability.

Facilitate the development of partnerships with local government through micro-projects
The barriers of skills and capacity for disadvantaged people in developing partnerships with local government was addressed through activities outlined above.  The perceived lack of credibility needed to be overcome by establishing a track record of delivery and, to this end, the project facilitated project partnerships between poor peoples’ organisations and government.  Examples of such partnerships are in the areas of service provision such as waste management, clearing of drainage and structural improvements.

Documentation and dissemination of project learning
Promotion of successful activities is carried out through local mass media, particularly local radio. A series of working papers and a partnership “toolkit” for community groups is to be produced.  A conference on urban development which was convened in April 2008 served both to publicise the project and to enhance linkages and integration between key stakeholders.

Project funding

The project was funded by Comic Relief.