Guyana -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
Emmanuel and Samuel McLean, grandsons of future homeowner Enid Lewis, on their way to school
HFH Guyana is organized as a nonprofit organization under the laws of Guyana and received its official affiliation with Habitat for Humanity International in 1995. In 2003, it celebrated the completion of its 200th house and received HFHI’s regional award for achievement in advocacy.
The vision of HFH Guyana is a Guyana without substandard housing. HFH Guyana recognizes that it cannot achieve this alone and believes that it must maintain a sustainable organizational structure and develop a broad base of support, while developing strategic alliances with other like-minded groups that share a common vision.|
HFH Guyana homes are an average of 500 square feet with two bedrooms and plumbing, but no electricity. They are built of reinforced concrete. Guyana is blessed with being located in a hurricane-free zone, but it is subject to flooding in some areas.
HFH Guyana recognizes the need for rapid acceleration of the building process in order to truly make a dent in the housing needs of the country. Its emphasis on innovative and experimental models over the past fiscal year has resulted in a house design that is cheaper than the previous traditional one. Research is, however, continuing through the affiliate’s partners at the University of Guyana.
According to Guyana’s government, 5,200 homes must be built each year for 10 years to meet the national housing need, while some 20 percent of Guyanese are illegally squatting. The government of Guyana stated in its 2001 “Guyana Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper” that poor housing infrastructure and high land costs were major issues contributing to the country’s severe poverty crisis. Some 35 percent live below the poverty line, with 19 percent living under conditions of extreme poverty. These poor lack equal access to land and housing opportunities.
In many areas families endure leaking roofs and woefully inadequate space, with lack of privacy and sanitary facilities such as toilets or running water only the beginning of their challenges. They live in weak structures, many on the verge of collapse, with rotten walls, rusty and curled roof sheets or parts of the roof missing, and holes in the floor covered with cardboard. If windows exist, they are often covered with cardboard, zinc or wood. Families with four to 10 members frequently live in single-room houses, with either no toilet, or a toilet and kitchen outdoors.
Location: South America
Economy: primary exports include bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, shrimp, textiles, gold
Religion: Christian 57percent, Hindu 33 percent, Muslim 9 percent
Literacy: 98 percent
Language: English, Amerindian dialects