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Habitat for Humanity in Africa and the Middle East

“What I have seen Habitat [for Humanity] do in many countries is make a promise and keep it.” – President Jimmy Carter

Local women work together on a Habitat house during a 5-house build in Kiombamvua, Tanzania. Picture: Kim MacDonald

In Africa and the Middle East (AME), Habitat for Humanity is building homes in 18 countries. By working in partnership with families to provide safe affordable shelter, Habitat empowers them to break the cycle of poverty and build the foundation for a secure future.

Nearly half of Africa’s population lives on less than one US dollar a day; and of the 32 least-developed countries in Africa, 82 percent of the urban residents live in informal settlements. While a Habitat home is completed every 21 minutes, millions more are needed to meet our goal of eliminating poverty housing from the face of the earth.

A major challenge for the region is the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Every day more than 7,000 Africans who die from AIDS are parents. Their children must learn quickly how to survive on their own, meeting their basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, and love. HIV/AIDS has orphaned 12 million children in Africa alone. And in South Africa, where 20 percent of adults are infected, a 15 year old has a fifty percent chance of dying of AIDS.

Innovations in Africa and the Middle East include initiatives that ensure orphans and vulnerable children have the legal right to inherit their family home, as well as programmes to provide healthy shelter for families affected by HIV/AIDS. Habitat also provides microfinance in partnership with other organizations in the form of small loans for repairing or improving homes. Habitat for Humanity has been working on developing a series of books about the challenges of eliminating poverty housing around the globe.

In addition to innovative programs, AME is collaborating with other organisations that are working to break the cycle of poverty through improved health care and economic development. The challenges are great, but Habitat for Humanity AME is dedicated to finding creative solutions, developing leaders that are committed to service and partnering with other organizations in order to serve an ever-increasing number of families.