Habitat Uganda representative makes Thank-You stop in Midland

Posted August 25, 2011 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Charity ~ 3,833 views


By Audrie Palmer, Midland Reporter-Telegram ~ For the last 11 years, Midland Habitat for Humanity has partnered with a sister office in Africa, and on Tuesday, volunteers and staff got to meet one of the representatives from the Uganda branch.

Habitat Uganda’s resource development and communications director, Ronald Kiconco Ongopa, spoke at a luncheon about the work the organization is completing in his country, as well as the housing needs they face.

More than $134,000 has been sent from Midland since the affiliation began in 2000, providing 45 homes to families in need.

“In the United States, that’s a small amount but in Uganda we feel like millionaires,” he said.

Each 360-square-foot home costs approximately $6,000. Some of the money also goes to purchase a water tank and pit latrine and to provide training to the recipients in HIV and AIDS prevention, financial literacy and education, malaria prevention, hygiene and education in inheritance rights.

The country has a population of more than 32 million and about 40 percent of the residents do not have a home, he said. Many of the available homes are overcrowded and infections within the community spread, making diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS, pneumonia and tuberculosis a large problem.

Ongopa said the Habitat Uganda office is hoping to provide houses to an additional 100 families this year and assist with 600 housing micro finance loans to those looking to complete their home construction projects.

“In poor rural communities they cannot master build homes but build bit by bit. We support that process,” he said.

Their project sites are outside the capital city, a minimum four-hour drive for some, in parts of the country where war, famine and AIDS have taken a toll.

The partnership between the Midland and Uganda offices started when a past Midland board president said he thought their office needed to help the orphans in Africa.

Each Habitat office is required to tithe off the unrestricted funds the organization receives, said Midland executive director Alynda Best. That money is sent to a country the board has chosen to support and is used internationally directly for building houses.

“It’s pretty amazing. We reach out in many, many ways,” she said, adding that the Midland Habitat office also supports agencies in Fiji, Haiti and Guatemala.

Ongopa’s visit was the first by a representative of any of the affiliations the Midland office supports.

He said he wanted to stop in the Tall City to express his appreciation of the partnership and to strengthen and thank the partners who have teamed up with his Uganda branch over the years.

“I’m just saying thank you to the community that’s enabled Midland to support us,” he said.

Audrie Palmer can be reached at

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