Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia
Habitat's work in Ethiopia
Ethiopia News and Stories
Alemayehu Cherkose (far right) and his family moved into their new Habitat home in the Habitat Community in Debre Birhan in Ethiopia in August 2009.
Liben Tilahun and his family are ex-leprosy patients and Habitat homeowners.
The housing need in Ethiopia
Located in the horn of Africa, Ethiopia is a country with long history. The Afar region, in the north east of the country is called the ‘cradle of mankind’ due to the discoveries of large numbers of hominid fossils aged to millions of years. Ethiopia is rich in mineral resources and huge potential of tourist attractions but still it is one of the ten poorest nations in the world. The economy relies heavily on agriculture, and the country is one of Africa’s leading coffee producers.
The majority of houses in Ethiopia are susceptible to easily collapse due to their poor construction. Homes are often cramped with dirt floors, leaking roofs and no windows or doors, leaving occupants vulnerable to adverse weather conditions, insects and rodents. Poor ventilation for inside cooking fires is a common cause of respiratory problems. Moreover, a staggering 90 percent of the population has no access to decent sanitation facilities, and 73 percent of the population does not have safe drinking water, causing disease to run rampant.
Substandard housing not only has an adverse effect on health, but also on education, job performance and overall quality of life. Most families living in such conditions have little chance of improving their situations without assistance, and life is a daily battle for most. The need for decent housing especially among vulnerable group families are very high and HFHE continues to respond to these pressing needs.
Habitat for Humanity in Ethiopia
Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia began construction in 1993 and has since expanded to build houses in 13 communities. Most houses are in urban and semi-urban areas within a 250-mile radius of the capital city, Addis Ababa. HFHE has integrated its operations with those of community-based organizations to be more effective in its work. HFHE’s houses vary from 22 to 36 square meters in size and are built from a number of different materials, including stabilized earth blocks, hollow concrete blocks and fired bricks.
Currently HFHE builds predominantly “improved chika” houses (ICHs), which are improved versions of traditional housing styles. The ICHs are very popular because they are the most affordable, quick and easy to build and require mainly locally available materials such as wood, soil, sand and stone. All houses have a VIP latrine in a separate block and are built in such a manner that families can add further rooms in the future. HFHE also recently started undertaking Water & Sanitation and Kitchen Improvement projects.
Download Building Connections (617kb .pdf) and learn how you can get involved with Habitat’s Global Village volunteer program to Ethiopia.
Capital : Addis Ababa
Population : 76,000,000
Leprosy Prevalence : 4,170 cases in 2008
Percent with primary access to clean water sources : 12 %
When the program started: 1993
Video : HFH Ethiopia on YouTube
Housing Solutions: New houses, Renovations and repairs, Water and Sanitation, Vulnerable Groups, Kitchen services