Speach by the Board Member of Habitat For Humanity on World Cities day


• The Guest of Honor, Minister of MoLHUD, Hon. Anna Namathanga Kachikho, MP
• His Worship the Mayor of the Lilongwe City Council
• The CEO of Lilongwe City Council
• The Principle Secretary for the MoLHUD
• Senior Government Officials from Ministries, Departments and Agencies
• Civil Society Leaders
• Media fraternity
• Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Habitat for Humanity Malawi is glad to be part of Malawi’s commemoration of the International Day for World Habitat and World Cities Day today on 31st October, 2018 at Masintha School Ground, in Lilongwe. The World Habitat day, being commemorated under the theme “improving municipal solid management is critical for sustainable urban development” while the World Cities day is commemorated under the theme “building sustainable and resilient cities”.

2. Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 in USA as a grassroots effort. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in nearly 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower.

3. In Malawi, Habitat for Humanity was established in 1986 and has since transformed the lives of over 40,000 families through various interventions including:

a. Housing Microfinance under which people obtained loans to construct a new house or improve an existing house,
b. Construction Technical Assistance to people obtaining home improvement loans from other organizations,
c. Vulnerable Group Housing focusing on the housing needs of orphans and other vulnerable children including persons with disabilities,
d. Disaster Risk Reduction focusing on empowering local communities on how they can build better and safer;
e. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene focusing improved sanitation and water facilities in schools and communities in peri-urban areas.
4. Ladies and gentlemen in its new Strategy Habitat for Humanity is promoting access to adequate and affordable housing, sustainable cities, and increasing security of tenure hence its involvement in this year’s World Cities day.

5. Habitat for Humanity believes that cities are dynamic hubs of activities that are interconnected and continuously evolving. Housing can serve as a platform that connects and improves urban quality of life as an integral and integrating element of sound urban development and urban policies. But housing also relies on a broader enabling environment to fully foster strength, stability and self-reliance. Thus, in addition to boosting access to adequate and affordable housing, Habitat for Humanity commits to promoting sustainable cities, increasing security of tenure and catalyzing market development to implement the New Urban Agenda.

6. Habitat for Humanity Malawi believes that Housing is at the center of inclusive and prosperous cities for all. As such improving urban resilience for cities to withstand the prevailing shocks and stresses is of paramount importance as it can have a greater impact on the household income, food security and equity let alone on economic returns of the country.

7. Malawi living conditions in urban areas have significantly changed due to prevailing demographic, environmental, economic, social and spatial challenges. Yet over 16.4% of the Malawi population are residing in urban centers. Moreover, it is estimated that 30% of the population of Malawi will be urban based by 2030. As the nation continues to urbanize, there is a need to address the challenges that this poses in achieving sustainable, safe, equitable and resilient human settlements across the country, underscored by access to affordable housing and security of tenure. In recent years, numerous global agreements have been signed including the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, and the New Urban Agenda or NUA, laying a critical foundation for improving living conditions in our cities.

8. Habitat for Humanity Malawi commends government for its commitment in adopting the New Habitat Agenda by working towards the formulation of the National Urban Policy or NUP. Habitat for Humanity Malawi calls on government to expedite the finalization and adoption of the National Urban Policy as it is an essential component in achieving development outcomes of the New Urban Agenda. Government must also continue strengthening policy dialogue and make necessary investment to foster the implementation of existing policies including the National Urban Policy which we expect to be enforced in the near future.

9. The Guest of honor, it is a clear fact that making our cities sustainable and resilient is a collective responsibility. Habitat for Humanity Malawi also calls upon the citizenry to join hands in making sure that right precautions are taken when constructing houses. Citizens must ensure that houses are being built according to National guidelines for safer house construction.

10. The Guest of honor, ladies and gentlemen, as I already mentioned on the onset, this day of World Cities Day is being commemorated alongside the World Habitat Day under the theme “improving municipal solid management is critical for sustainable urban development. Habitat for Humanity Malawi commends Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development for organizing the clean-up campaign across the country which demonstrated the renewed commitment of managing solid wastes in our country. Habitat for Humanity Malawi joins the Ministry in calling upon the citizenry to ensure that we all take part in managing waste in our homes and all places.

11. The Guest of honor, ladies and gentlemen, let me end my speech by thanking the Ministry for organizing this event where Malawians can reflect over how we are building our cities to be sustainable and resilient, but also how we are managing our wastes.

12. Habitat for Humanity Malawi is committed in working with the Ministry in ensuring that all Malawians have a decent place to live in.

13. May God bless Malawi; May He bless as all.