World Habitat Day! “Recognizing the true value of housing to economic recovery from COVID-19”

From April, 2020 Habitat Malawi began implementing the UNDP-HFHM Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Recovery project with the overall goal of supporting human security through safe and dignified access to climate-resilient housing for the affected communities displaced by floods from Cyclone Idai in Phalombe and Zomba districts.

Jinny Wisikesi a 43-year-old woman living in Nambiri village in the area of Traditional Authority Nkhulambe in Phalombe district. Jinny lost her husband in 2012 and has since then assumed the sole responsibility towards the care of her children. When the 2019 Cyclone Idai hit Phalombe Jinny’s home was among the many houses that got destroyed by the floods. Since losing her house in 2019, Jinny has lived at a camp, in a tent and currently in a relatives’ house. Jinny’s family was identified as beneficiaries for the project and at the moment Land Certification for her land has been done and delivery of materials that will be used in the construction of her house has commenced.

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Since assuming her role as the head of the house, Jinny has relied on piece work and running a small business in order to provide for the family. Identified as a beneficiary at a time when COVID-19 has caused economic shocks worldwide. Due to travel bans and restrictions Jinny’s small business of selling cooked rice and beans to people that frequent Nkhulambe for agricultural business purposes has suffered many losses and consequently failed.

“When we heard about COVID-19, I had fear especially for people like me in the village. Here in the village we share space and housing; our way of life, culture and traditions are rooted on being around one another. Even the simple regular hand washing is a big issue since we cannot afford to buy soap. Habitat came in at the right time since the small business that I rely on has failed and I have no money to build another house, at the same time the rain season is fast approaching. The provision of the house has allowed me to have additional time for other productive activities. I am currently concentrating on my small garden and producing vegetables to help sustain my family. Thanks to this project am now at peace knowing that even if COVID or anything else happened to me, my children will have a home which they can call their own. My dream of having a house in the midst all these challenges has been fulfilled.”Jinny shares