Habitat for Humanity Angola
This program is currently inactive
Habitat for Humanity discontinued its program in Angola. Currently, there are no plans to build houses in this region in the near future.
Why Habitat is needed in Angola
Though rich in oil, Angola is one of the world’s poorest countries. Three decades of brutal civil war maimed and killed thousands of people and decimated the country. Large areas remain inaccessible due to land mines and impassable roads. Many of the country’s residents are dependent on food aid.
Since the end of the war in 2002, more than 4 million refugees and internally displaced people have slowly returned to Angola, after as long as 20 years away from their homes. As many refugees and displaced people have returned to nothing but empty fields, and the un-maintained mud brick homes are long gone. As such, the demand for housing is a high priority in the redevelopment process.
The aftermath of war has caused the destruction of homes and livelihoods, and although some people have been given resettlement kits, including tools, seeds and plastic sheeting, life continues to be a struggle, especially for those who lost limbs through land mine explosions.
A large percentage of the returning refugee population has returned to the central provinces of Bié and Huambo, where the conflict took its greatest toll. Without outside help, the refugees often live in makeshift shelters made of grass and mud held up by fragile poles. The structures are cramped and dangerously precarious. Most do not have latrines or an adequate water supply. In the rainy season, the families are constantly wet.
How Habitat helps
Habitat for Humanity began working in Angola in May 2004, through the First Shelter Initiative under its Disaster Response program. The FSI was created to assist families that had recently moved back to their rural homes in Belchior, near Kuito, the capital of Bié Province. The FSI program was implemented in partnership with CARE International Angola, an organization with an established record of emergency relief and resettlement activities within the Province. While CARE provided food relief, agricultural support and land mine education, HFH focused on building houses.
The FSI houses have two rooms and a latrine and walls made of low-cost, locally available adobe blocks (hand-pressed mud blocks with high clay content, mixed with straw) and covered with zinc roofing sheets. The doors and windows are made of wood. Homeowner families are required to work with the community to obtain materials, make the blocks and build.
In addition to the emergency relief program, a micro-credit revolving fund project has been established in Huambo, in partnership with Development Workshop. This project enables families classified as the “economically active poor” to construct permanent homes through the provision of housing loans. Many of the loan recipients are women who own market stalls or other income-generating resources and have already demonstrated an ability to repay micro-credit loans, but who are struggling to raise the money to improve their living conditions. The houses are built with cement block walls, concrete floors and a zinc roof.
- In the first 18 months of the First Shelter Initiative, almost 400 families in five communities were housed by the program, providing security for families and a sense of certainty that the war was past.
Facts about Angola
Location: West Coast of Southern Africa, between Namibia and Democratic Republic of the Congo
Population: 14.5 million
Languages: Portuguese (official), Umbundu, Kimbundu, Kikongo
Climate: Semi-arid in the South, tropical in the North
Religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs
Government: Republic under multiparty democratic rule led by the President
Economy: Main exports are oil, diamonds, minerals, coffee, fish and timber