Local Government Minister James Musoni (L) hands over GPS equipment to Gasabo vice mayor (economic affairs), Jean Claude Munara, yesterday. Districts have received new kit to help accelerate the Imidugudu programme. The Sunday Times / J. Mbanda.

All districts, yesterday, received equipment to help accelerate planned settlements, best known as Imidugudu.

The tools, which included Laptops, Cameras and Global Positioning System (GPS) in land surveying, will be used by districts to plan the villages properly, according to officials.

The equipment were, yesterday, handed over to district vice mayors in charge of economic affairs by the Minister of Local Government, James Musoni, at the end of a two-day meeting convened to assess the quality and standards of the planned villages.

According to the national Human Settlement Policy, every resident is expected to settle in planned and systematic standard villages.

Minister Musoni urged district leaders to use the tools to speed-up the process of implementing rural settlement development.

“The status now is that 67.5 percent of total households in rural areas were in planned settlement villages (Imidugudu) but we are targeting to reach 100 percent in 2020 or even before,” he said.

He said that, with the help of GPS machines, districts were now in position to come up with well-planned and organised settlement villages.

According to Claudine Uwineza, the vice mayor for economic affairs, Kamonyi District, the machines will play a vital role in the designing of the villages.

At the end of the workshop, the vice mayors agreed to finalize the identification of sites for settlement and validate them through District Advisory Councils, by the end of this month.

They also committed to ending construction of houses in marshlands and to emphasise on conducting environmental impact assessment for all projects before their execution.

The leaders resolved to accelerate the establishment of One-Stop-Centre for Land Management, Human Settlement and Infrastructure in all districts, and recruitment of land managers at the sector level by the end of the month.

Augustine Kampayana, Chairman, Rural Settlement Task Force (RSTF), said: “When people are well settled, it becomes easier for the government to provide them with social services like roads, water, schools, health centres, electricity, and recreational facilities.”

The meeting also discussed access to low cost housing materials, sustainable land management, human settlement (urban and rural), climate change, business development services, post-harvest handling, among others.

By Frank Kanyesigye, The New Times

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