Habitat for Humanity Ghana
Habitat's work in Ghana
Ghana News and Stories
The housing need in Ghana
Ghana stands on the Gulf of New Guinea, only a few degrees north of the equator in western Africa. This peaceful nation is endowed with natural resources, including gold, cocoa and timber, which have contributed to much of Ghana’s growth. However, world prices for these resources are unstable and exploited, threatening the livelihoods of some of the poorest communities. Ghana remains heavily dependent on international assistance.
Agriculture provides one third of the country’s income and employs more than half of the workforce. However, subsistence farmers are increasingly vulnerable and constitute a large percentage of the country’s poor, as do femaleheaded households. Poverty is particularly acute and is increasing in the three northern savannah and central regions.
The population of Ghana is approximately 23 million and growing rapidly. The government states that over the next five years, almost 1 million more houses will be needed. More than half of the population lives in rural areas in small settlements characterized by neglect and decay. With low incomes and no access to housing credit, these families cannot afford to build their own decent homes or even improve what they have. Female-headed households have even less opportunities to own property.
As a result, people end up living in cramped, squalid and often dangerous conditions. Extended families of eight or more people often share one room, and access to clean water and sanitation is scarce. Leaking roofs and cracked walls are incapable of keeping out heavy rains, and houses even collapse, causing death or injury to the occupants. The dirt floors are usually infested with parasites. Such conditions not only cause poor health, but also reduce capacity to work and escape the cycle of poverty.
Habitat for Humanity in Ghana
Since its formation in 1987, HFH Ghana has successfully re-housed thousands of families in safe, affordable homes and has become a specialist in its field. HFHG currently operates in nine of the country’s ten regions, through 65 affiliates representing 135 communities. The year 2007 marked the 20th anniversary for HFHG, which was celebrated to coincide with the 5, 000th house dedication in the affiliate of Nkwantakese.
HFHG homeowners are mostly farmers who own small plots, which they cultivate by hand. Even with a good harvest, these farmers do not earn more than US$50 a month, and they struggle to care for their families. However, the farmers are able to afford a mortgage with HFHG, which is never more than 20 percent of their monthly income.
A typical HFHG house is made up of two bedrooms and a hall, with an external latrine, washroom and kitchen. Walls made of cement blocks or sun-dried earthen blocks and plastered with cement are built onto a concrete foundation and cement screed floor. The house is capped with an aluminum roof.
Population : 23,890,000
When the program started: 1987
Housing Solutions: New houses, Rural housing