Regional profile: Africa and the Middle East
If you would like to make an impact in Africa and the Middle East, consider planning a Global Village trip to:
Habitat builds in several other countries in this region. If you are interested in a Global Village trip to a country not featured here, please contact AME Volunteer Engagement specialist Eddie Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 229-410-7576 to learn more.
Habitat’s work in Africa and the Middle East
The African and Middle East region is in the midst of a historic socio-demographic shift based on urbanization and profound changes in traditional social structures. As the region’s population moves to urban areas, so does the bulk of its housing challenges. Slums sprawl out from the urban fringe. Tenure is undocumented and insecure, and too often governments purge slum housing with forced evictions and demolition.
In rural areas, only a small amount of people facing poverty situations have dependable access to clean water and sanitation. The social structures that have traditionally offered shelter to the poor are deteriorating under the pressure of extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS and urbanization.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has most severely impacted sub-Saharan Africa, where approximately 70 percent of the estimated 40 million people infected with HIV/AIDS are living. Many countries in Africa—especially southern Africa—have adult infection rates in excess of 20 percent, which has frightening implications for communities and families.
Urbanization trends may bring new opportunities, though, such as the provision of housing, water and sanitation at lower per capita costs, as well as new potential for communities to organize around shelter issues.
Most importantly, improving housing rights and access—including secure land tenure—for women is critical to poverty alleviation. Housing security for women (and thus for children), historically compromised in the Africa and Middle East region, has eroded even further as a result of HIV/AIDS deaths and the disintegration of traditional and customary protections.
For stories of Habitat’s work in Africa and the Middle East, visit See the hope in action.
AME by the numbers
- A five-year program to provide housing and support to Orphans and Vulnerable Children began in 2006. Funded by USAID, this program will ultimately result in 4,210 orphans sheltered and 5,000 caregivers trained in countries throughout the region.
- In many sub-Saharan African cities, more than 70 percent of the urban population lives in slums, and approximately 40 percent of Africa’s slum residents live in conditions of extreme poverty that are life-threatening.
- Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest magnitude of urban eviction in the world. More than 6 million Africans were forcibly removed from their homes between 2000 and 2006.
- Habitat for Humanity Africa and the Middle East celebrated its 50,000th house built in the region in the spring of 2008 in Malawi. Habitat AME completed 5,483 new houses, renovations and repairs in fiscal year 2007.
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
—Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African activist for human rights and namesake of a build in South Africa in 2007