From June 6th until July 15th, 2021, the Rwanda Association of Local Government Authorities (RALGA) in collaboration with its partners has conducted a series of blended trainings that consisted of one day physical session and additional three day virtual sessions for six secondary cities district i.e Rusizi, Rubavu, Musanze, Muhanga, Huye and Nyagatare on devising model business plans for affordable housing project. The training covered selected topics such as: (i)why affordable housing in Rwanda, (ii) legal and policy framework for affordable housing (iii) who is the target group for affordable housing (iv) How to get land for affordable housing (v) How to estimate average costs of an affordable houses project, (vi) how to finance affordable housing projects. The training are facilitated by a team of three local experts and two international experts from a Netherlands based urban planning company called We Love the City.
Each of the training sessions was targeting 20 participants from various District organs and department such as District executive committee members, District council member, technical staff from district OSC, planning and M&E, Business development and employment, finance, procurement, JADF and sector land managers. RHA was represented in some sessions by the Housing Finance Specialist. This activity is implemented by RALGA in partnership with VNG International under IDEAL project and in collaboration with RHA.
Local leaders expressed commitment to advance inclusive urban development with gained skills
In all the six Districts, the trainings were opened by the representative District executive committee members. They commended the key stakeholders who supported the organization of the training especially RALGA for its devotion for capacity building of its membership. They emphasized the relevance of such training at the time the secondary cities have updated their city development master plans which need to be implemented with concrete projects considering the current unmet needs in the sector of affordable housing. They pointed out that affordable housing supply is a key enabling factor to achieve inclusive and sustainable urbanization hence the training would provide the relevant tools to achieve this target. They appealed for further collaboration with RHA on the project as custodian for affordable housing projects coordination.
On their side, representatives of District partners such as RALGA and RHA appreciated the sense of ownership and active participation demonstrated by the District leaders and the participants to the training despite the ongoing challenges related to the Covid19 pandemic. They appreciated that the proposed training focus align with the Government of Rwanda priority to solve the issue of insufficient supply of affordable housings in Rwandan Cities and recalled the various policy guidelines programs initiated to support the housing sector especially the affordable housing supply. They emphasize the importance of team work as the trained district participants collaborate working on the building blocks of the customized business plan of affordable housing.
A tool for strengthening district capacity to attract private sector to invest in affordable housing sector for effective master plans implementation
After the training sessions, the contracted experts will support via online coaching sessions the District teams to work on the business plan template constructed around the five building blocks. The coaching program will extend on 4 weeks after completion of the trainings. The districts team will be remotely coordinated and supported by the contracted coaches using ICT platforms and tools. It is expected that the customized business plans to be developed as major outcome of the imparted skills to district team will serve as tool to mobilize private sector investors on the opportunity to collaborate with Districts on the specific affordable housing project in the District.