Habitat for Humanity Malawi

Habitat for Humanity Malawi is a registered non-profit Christian housing organization affiliated to Habitat for Humanity International. Habitat Malawi seeks to provide shelter as one way of eliminating poverty and improving the lives of orphans and other groups of people; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to improve the sanitation status and wellbeing of slum dwellers; and Disaster Risk Reduction and Response to improve access to better and safer shelter for families living in areas prone to disasters.
The housing need in Malawi
In Malawi, poverty is prevalent and about 4 out of 5 families in Malawi live in substandard homes with little hope of ever being able to afford a decent house. A typical village hut is built of mud bricks with a dirt floor and grass thatched roof, which requires frequent repairs. These conditions put the families at high risk of all kinds of diseases with leaky roofs making the house damp and mud floors attracting insects. There are about 1.5million orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi out of a population of 18.57 million and approximately 21,000 new units are needed every year for the next 10 years to meet housing demand – this far exceeds supply.
Malawi has a high rural to urban migration – 5.3% per annum which is one of the highest in Africa. People are migrating to urban areas to look for economic opportunities. This trend has led to the rapid increase of Slums in the cities. 76% of the population in Lilongwe, the capital city leaves in Slums and with an average of 5 people per household and an average of 6 families per latrine results into quick fill up.
How Habitat addresses the need in Malawi
Habitat Malawi provides new fully subsidized homes for orphans and other vulnerable groups. Habitat Malawi also provides Housing Support Services (HSS) to low-income people in partnership with housing microfinance institutions. Habitat Malawi strives to enhance the resilience of households living in flood-prone areas by supporting and enabling them to have permanent, durable and flood resistant shelter.
Here are some examples of Habitat projects in Malawi:
Orphans and vulnerable groups (OVG)
The OVG program started in 2009 and to date, Habitat Malawi has constructed over 446 houses for the vulnerable families. The project intends to improve the living conditions for 450 OVG families and reduce their vulnerability by June 2018. In FY17 alone, 146 families were served with decent housing. The services include:
Improved housing: Two, three or four-room houses for vulnerable families including a ventilated improved pit-latrine to improve sanitation and hygiene.
Malaria prevention training: Three insecticide-treated mosquito nets are provided per family. Families are also trained in good sanitation and hygiene practices to prevent diseases, including malaria.
HIV prevention training: The training is aimed at preventing new infections arising from sexual exploitation, especially of the girls and caregivers.
Vocational skills training: Provided to older children, especially those who dropped out from school. The package includes provision of tools and equipment, like carpentry or sewing machines.
Property and inheritance rights training: Aiming to protect orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) from property grabbing, the training is offered to OVC caregivers and gate keepers.
Housing support services (HSS)
The HSS project aim is to increase resources available to low-income families, making it easier for them to obtain and develop decent housing, through the provision of microfinance loans and construction technical assistance. The project is being implemented in partnership with a Microfinance Institution. The partner offers loans to clients while Habitat Malawi provides technical advice. The project intends to assist 24,000 clients with housing support services by June 2018. To date, over 22,000 clients have benefited from this program across Malawi.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
The aim of the project is to improve the sanitation status and wellbeing of 450 slum dwellers in Kauma Slum in Lilongwe through equitable access to better sanitation by June 2018. Over 1,800 families have accessed water and sanitation services since May 2014 when the project began.
Disaster risk reduction and response
The project was initiated after the floods that occurred in the early months of 2015 and affected 1.1 million people, including displacing 230,000 people. The aim of the project is to provide shelter solutions that will assist in recovery and promote resilience by enhancing the capacity of the affected population.