The word Namungoona is a Luganda word for a pied crow (corvus albus); a common bird species in Uganda. It, however, does not live in tropical forests.

Namungoona is primarily a middle-income residential neighbourhood, although it used be mostly occupied by low income earners. Most of the original land owners sold huge chunks of their land to National Housing and Construction Company, middle class and wealthy individuals.

The area comprises high-rise apartment complexes and semi-detached family housing. It is on the Kampala–Hoima Road, approximately 6.5 kilometres northwest of Kampala City Centre.

Many of the residents do not know the history of Namungoona because they are new in the area.
According to an elderly man who preferred to remain anonymous, it is believed that there was a big slaughter house in the area that these noisy birds used to flock, earning the place the name Namungoona.

Namungoona is also famous for being the headquarters of the Orthodox Church in Uganda. If you went to the taxi park in the city centre to ask for taxis to Namugoona, taxi touts will ask if your stop over is at the Orthodox headquaters or around that area.

Recent developments
With the erection of very many private schools both secondary and primary, residents are very optimistic that the education needs of children is well taken care of. The road network has also been improved, especially with the road that constructed a year ago, stretching from Munaku to Namungoona-Luyinja.

The construction of the Kampala Northern Bypass that passes through the area has also eased transport as it provides an alternative route allowing residents easy access to the neighbouring areas.

Land and housing
The rising population has made acquiring land in Namungoona quite expensive. According to Samuel Lubwama, a real estate broker, an acre of land goes for between Shs600m and Shs1b though it is hard to find land on sale in this area as most of the people are constructing houses for tenants.
The presence of the National Housing and Construction company estates led to various developments in the area, leading to the increase in the cost of housing in Namugoona.

Impala Estate, the National Housing estate, partially owned by the government, has semidetached houses for well-to-do families. It has 64 apartments and 131 semidetached bungalos. Each bungalow costs Shs250m.

The presence of Impala Estate put rent a bit high as the area is considered more developed than before. Namugoona used to be very dusty with a poor road network, but once the road was partially constructed to attract people to the estate, landlords in the area started hiking rent.

Renting a double room self-contained house will costs between Shs200,000 and Shs300000. A two bed roomed house is between Shs350,000 and Shs400,000. This rent is likely to go even higher when the road eventually gets completed.
With a population of more than 10,000 people, the area boasts of a big market base, especially small scale businesses.

Services
The Orthodox Church has a hospital that has boosted the area’s health services. Residents get health services at relatively cheap prices.

People can also access piped water provided by the National water and Sewerage Corporation. For those without piped water, a 20-litre jerrycan of water goes for Shs200. The area is also connected to the national power grid and there is constant electricity supply.
Challenges
According to Lubwama, residents have for a long time choked on dust and this has been the biggest challenge but due to the ongoing road construction, the dust has reduced and will be no more if the construction that seems to have been suspended, gets completed soon. Residents say construction equipment was taken off the road more than a month ago.

Namugoona used to struggle with sanitation but the local council members are trying their best to put issues of disposal of rubbish in order.

Security and crime
Monica Atuhairwe, a resident, says Namugoona is relatively safe. She is able to take her son to school at around 5.30am without worrying about security.

According to a police officer, who preferred anonymity, despite the increasing population and settlement of people in the area, the crime rate has gone down. He says the local council committee has also helped them by sensitising residents about the need for security. Residents say the setting up of a police post at the Orthodox Church helped to curb crime in the area.

dsmukooza@ug.nationmedia.com