– Year founded: 1984
– People served: 4,085 FY16
– Volunteers hosted: 458 FY16
– Capital: Lusaka
– Gained independence: 1964
– Population: 15.51 million
– Urbanisation: 40.9% live in cities
– Life expectancy: 52.5 years
– Unemployment rate: 15%
– Population living below poverty line: 60.5%
Habitat for Humanity Zambia
Habitat for Humanity Zambia is part of a global non-profit housing organisation whose goal is to eliminate poverty housing around the world by working in partnership with poor and low-income families. Habitat Zambia believe that every man, woman and child should have a safe and affordable place to live. This is provided through holistic solutions such as secure land tenure, provision of safe drinking water and sanitation, housing finance and advocacy.
The Housing Need in Zambia
Despite Zambia having one of the world’s fastest growing economies, it remains one of the world’s poorest countries. Currently, close to 64 percent of Zambians live under $2 a day and the majority of those who earn more barely make ends-meet.
According to Mercers (2010), living in Lusaka costs more than living in Washington, D.C but the incomes in Zambia are much lower. The ‘higher’ incomes and jobs in Zambia are concentrated in urban areas. This has led to an urbanisation rate that is almost twice the population growth rate. In consequence, there is a higher demand for jobs which is slowing wage growth and increasing land and house prices beyond the reach of the average worker.
Additionally, Zambia has a current urban housing deficit that stands at 1.3 million housing units, projected to reach 3 million housing units by 2025. Due to the lack of affordable housing, about 70 percent of urban dwellers in the country live in slums with inadequate access to water, sanitation and extension facilities. The lack of decent housing exacerbates people´s poverty.
How Habitat for Humanity addresses the housing need in Zambia
Habitat Zambia runs a number of programs to address the housing and water and sanitation needs in the country, including house construction for vulnerable groups; provision of interest-free mortgages to families that can afford repayments; installation of boreholes and water kiosks; awareness raising on issues affecting poor and vulnerable groups; HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment training; advocating for fair and just housing policies and volunteer engagement.
Here are some examples of Habitat projects in Zambia:
Maanzi water and sanitation programme
The program aims is to provide safe drinking water and sanitation; hygiene promotion through increased access to clean and safe drinking water; promotion of good personal and environmental hygiene in order to protect health and ensure the optimal use of all water supply and sanitation facilities which will impact on beneficiary’s health and promote sustainability.
Habitat for Humanity Zambia is engaging in advocacy through an integrated Advocacy Project that seeks to address policy issues and systems improvement in the areas of land, housing and OVC integration in National Registration Systems. The organisation seeks to strengthen its approach in public policy engagement and as a result, change and affect policy and legislation that improves outcomes for Zambia’s poor particularly women and vulnerable families.
Pamwesu orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) program
The project provides a fully subsidised three-room house and secures housing rights for marginalised and vulnerable communities (with mainly Orphans and Vulnerable Children families) in Zambia’s peri-urban areas of Lusaka, Chilanga, Kabwe and Ndola districts. The solution includes a ventilated improved pit latrine, trainings on inheritance planning to caregivers to secure assets for their children and HIV/AIDS awareness and OVC care for the families and the community. Learn more about this programme here.
Meet a Habitat Family
Belita Cheelo has been a resident of Linda compound for over thirty years. Belita is taking care of her late son’s three children and one great-grandson. Formerly, the family lived in an old two-room structure built of mud bricks and roofed with iron sheets. Stones were placed on the roof to prevent it from being blown away by wind. “My old house used to leak in rain season and was dark inside, a thing which made me long for decent shelter as school going children were adversely affected,” said Belita.
In 2015, Habitat for Humanity Zambia built a new four-room house and a ventilated improved pit latrine for the family, under the Orphaned and Vulnerable Children housing project. “I used to cry day and night after my son’s death because he was our only hope to decent shelter. But my hope of adequate housing was restored by Habitat Zambia. Thank you so much for the house and toilet you constructed for my family, life has changed for better,” shared Belita. She adds that the new house offers a conducive environment for the children to study, it is well ventilated and very safe as it has lockable windows and doors.
To learn more about Habitat projects in Zambia, or in other parts of the region, please contact us.