Habitat for Humanity Papua New Guinea
Habitat for Humanity Papua New Guinea was formed in 1983 in Port Moresby, and then moved to Lae, the second-largest city. At one time, there were seven affiliates: four in the eastern Morobe province (Finschafen, Markham, Morobe and Nawaeb); one in Eastern Highlands province; one in East Sepik province and one in the Western Highlands. By the end of June 2010, Habitat had served more than 1,100 families. Habitat has wound down its presence and no longer operates in Papua New Guinea.
Housing needs in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea, situated on the world’s second-largest island in the Pacific Ocean, is rich in natural resources such as gold, oil, gas and timber. However, poverty remains a concern. The World Bank estimates that around 40 percent of Papua New Guineans lives on less than US$1 per day.
More than four out of every five Papua New Guineans live in rural areas where they have a lack of access to basic services. Most rural dwellers depend on subsistence agriculture in difficult terrain, making their livelihood vulnerable to pests and natural disasters.
Many people live in traditional-style rural homes, known as “bush houses”, with one or two rooms. The structures are made of bamboo, grass, palm leaves and untreated wood and need to be replaced every four to five years. As the population grows, what seems like an environmentally sound cycle of growth and re-use has led to pressure on forests.
Traditional houses are also a poor defense against diseases, pests and break-ins, and offer little in the way of privacy and study space for families.
How Habitat for Humanity works
In developing Pacific Island nations, such as Papua New Guinea, indigenous communities own more than 80 percent of the land. Hence, Habitat used the Community Build model to involve an entire village or neighborhood in a house-building or renovation program. In Papua New Guinea where land and raw materials are owned by an entire village, and two or three families share one house, Community Build helped to leverage resources and reduce housing costs.
Habitat also used the Save & Build housing microfinance model under which 10 to 12 families formed a savings group to save for the cost of building houses and construction materials. Home partners were also expected to put in their own labor to build their own houses as well as those of others in the group.
A typical Habitat house was made of timber with a corrugated metal sheet roof. Due to heavy rains, the house was raised on stilts a meter or more off the ground to keep it dry. The area under the house was used for storage, community gatherings and livestock. Habitat encouraged home partners to cut and mill their own timber from their own land. To ensure sustainability, Habitat developed a reforestation project; two trees were planted for every tree used for a Habitat house.
Four types of Habitat houses were built in Papua New Guinea. The first type, at 33 sq. m. in size, was a one-bedroom structure; a two-bedroom house was 37 sq. m. in size while a three or four-bedroom home was largest at 48 sq. m. The average monthly repayment per house was US$15.50 and the average mortgage period was 20 years. Under Save & Build, the average loan repayment period was up to five years.
Habitat’s work in Papua New Guinea was boosted by the partnerships with business corporations, non-profit agencies and churches. HFH Papua New Guinea hosted international volunteer teams including an U.S. team which built two houses that were dedicated in early 2010.
By the end of June 2010, Habitat had served more than 1,100 families. Habitat has wound down its presence and no longer operates in Papua New Guinea.
• By June 2010, local volunteers in New Ireland and Western Highlands provinces helped to build 15 houses in Lae and Madang.
• Twenty-one houses were completed in Western Highlands by mid-2010, with funding from the community, Habitat for Humanity International and AusAID’s Community Development Scheme.
• Finschafen affiliate built four houses for health workers in a project with the Lutheran Church in 2005.
Population: 6,310,129 (July 2012 est.)
Capital: Port Moresby
Land Area: 462,840 sq km
Ethnic Groups: Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, Polynesian
Languages: Tok Pisin (official), English (official), Hiri Motu (official), some 860 indigenous languages spoken (over one-tenth of the world's total)
Religions: Roman Catholic 27%, Protestant 69.4% (Evangelical Lutheran 19.5%, United Church 11.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 10%, Pentecostal 8.6%, Evangelical Alliance 5.2%, Anglican 3.2%, Baptist 2.5%, other Protestant 8.9%), Baha'i 0.3%, indigenous beliefs and other 3.3% (2000 census)
Literacy: 57.3% (2000 census)
Urbanization: 13% (2010)
Access to Improved Water Source: 40% (2010)
Access to Improved Sanitation Facilities: 45% (2010)