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Resources, City Spotlights Nansana Municipality

City Spotlight: Nansana Municipality, Uganda

Nansana Municipal Council, which attained its municipality status in September 2015, is located 10 kilometres from Uganda’s capital of Kampala. The Municipality is currently led by Mayor Regina Bakitte Nakkazzi Musoke, the only female mayor at a municipal council level in Uganda. It comprises four divisions, 29 wards and 130 ‘cells’.[1] Mayor Bakitte envisions the Municipality will become “a transformed city [with] a prosperous and well-planned society by 2040” and aims “to ensure efficient and effective provision of sustainable services for improved livelihoods within [it]”.

Nansana Municipality joined Strong Cities Network in April 2023 but has participated in Strong Cities’ activities since October 2022, when Mayor Bakitte attended the Inaugural Workshop of Strong Cities’ East and Southern Africa Regional Hub. Further, as chair of the Alliance of Mayors and Urban Leaders for Community Action at Local Level, Mayor Bakitte played a pivotal role in mobilising other city officials from across Uganda for a dialogue that Strong Cities hosted in Entebbe in April 2023 among mayors, other city officials and representatives of the national government on enhancing national-local cooperation in the prevention of hate, extremism and polarisation. The meeting followed an initial national-local dialogue that was held in October 2022, at which Strong Cities presented a mapping of the state of national-local cooperation in prevention in Uganda.

[1] Uganda has multiple tiers of local government. In urban settings, the largest is the district level, followed by city, municipal, division/town, ward and cell levels. In rural settings, districts are divided into counties, sub-county councils, parishes and villages.

What is the local government concerned about?

From 2021 to 2022, the number of reported crimes in Nansana increased by almost 20% – this, in a municipality already known for having a high crime rate. The causes of this increase in crime are multiple – firstly, high unemployment rates, which were exacerbated by COVID-19, have resulted in young people feeling idle, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation by extremist groups and gangs. Indeed, over the past years, youth have been responsible for committing violent robberies and raiding schools, leaving multiple people injured or dead.

The city is additionally concerned about rapid urbanisation, noting that as a municipality on the periphery with Uganda’s capital, its population has increased significantly over the past decade (for example, Nansana had an estimated population of 89,900 in 2011, while currently boasting more than 530,000+ residents). and that it expects this growth to continue as people from across the country migrate to seek jobs both within Nansana and in Kampala.

How is the local government responding?

Mayor Bakitte and her administration have committed to reducing youth unemployment from more than 50% currently to 25% by 2026. To do so, and to address broader concerns about youth being idle and vulnerable to exploitation, the Mayor has launched a number of development initiatives to improve infrastructure and social services and promote growth as well as engagement with young people. This includes the establishment of a dedicated Youth Desk within the Mayor’s Office, which is responsible for coordinating with youth councils across the city, to invest in youth engagement more broadly, as well as to compile and analyse municipal-wide youth-related data. For example, it has:

Through these data collection mechanisms, the Municipality has identified numerous actions it will take forward over the coming months, including:

What’s next?

In addition to the above priorities, Mayor Bakitte and Nansana Municipality more broadly will continue to seek ideas for better and more sustainably engaging Nansana’s youth, mitigating the idleness that has left them vulnerable to exploitation by gangs and extremist groups in the past. For example, in November 2023, the Mayor took part in a Strong Cities learning visit on city-youth engagement in prevention, in which she and other counterparts from Uganda and Tanzania traveled to Mombasa (Kenya) to learn from the County Government’s comprehensive approach to working with young people to prevent hate and extremism, and investing in youth engagement more broadly. The meeting has inspired Mayor Bakitte to draft a by-law on and create a department specifically for prevention of hate and extremism as a means to more formally embed this responsibility into the local government; emulate Mombasa’s Fursa initiative in Nansana (Fursa is a geo-fenced job-seeking application with the aim of making job applications and job searches less time consuming for young people); and invest in ‘artivisim’, or youth-led art and other creative activities as a means to enhance social cohesion.

The Mayor will also seek support – including from Strong Cities – on how best to navigate its constantly growing population while maintaining social cohesion and ensuring public service provision sufficiently meets the needs of all residents – old and new.

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