Ivory Coast -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
The former house of HFH homeowner, Balét Simplice.
Homeowner Balét Simplice outside his new house. “I am very satisfied to have this house. I hope that [the project] will grow even more for the happiness of other small farmers”.
The Housing Need
Among the world’s largest producers and exporters of coffee and palm oil, Côte d’Ivoire once boasted the strongest economy in West Africa. Now, due to a devastating civil war and global economic pressure in 2002, Côte d’Ivoire contends with extreme poverty and its exhausted infrastructure struggles to meet the growing needs of the people.
In the city of Abidjan alone, the housing deficit is estimated to be 12,000 houses per year. Urbanization is adding to the problem, with almost half of the growing population now living in towns or cities.
In rural areas the need is also immense. Many people live in temporary structures, which require extensive upkeep and repair and are vulnerable to fire. Walls are typically made of mud in a wooden frame and often crack, causing leaks and eventually falling apart. Thatch roof houses harbor numerous disease-carrying insects such as malarial mosquitoes and the tsetse fly, which in turn can spread eye disease.
Habitat for Humanity Côte d'Ivoire
Established in 1999, Habitat for Humanity Côte d'Ivoire (HFHCI) seeks to break the cycle of poverty by working with homeowners to provide safe, dry and secure homes, with decent sanitation.
HFHCI builds houses using appropriate technology and local building materials. The houses are made of brick and mortar, with corrugated iron roofing sheets. The designs are simple and spacious and cater for the individual families’ needs, whilst remaining affordable to the homeowners. Houses are built consisting of either two, or three bedrooms and a hall. Smaller houses are currently planned, in order to reach families on the lowest income groups.
HFHCI is building homes for disabled people in 15 communities in the eastern and western regions and is providing housing for cocoa farmers. Volunteer work days for local organizations and churches are a regular feature of the program. This allows participation towards community redevelopment.
Real Life Homeowner Story
“My name is N’ Guessan Kouakou. I am 25 years old. I’ve lived with my grand-father since the death of my parents. I am an amputee since 1989. My arm was amputated because of a Buruli ulcer. The doctor told me that Buruli ulcer is a problem that affects tpoor in rural areas. Any part of the body can be affected, but most lesions occur on limbs. This handicap has completely changed my life.
We live in a house with 2 rooms. We are 5 people. My grand-father does not have enough money to take care of all of us and at the same time build a house for all of us.
Today with the help of Habitat and my neighbours, my life has changed. My family and I are so happy in our new house.”
Location: Western Africa, with North Atlantic Ocean coast, between Ghana and Liberia
Climate: Tropical on the coast, semi-arid in the far North; three seasons.
Population: 17.1 million
Economy: Main crops are cocoa, coffee, beans and palm oil. Oil and diamonds are key resources.
Government: Republic; multiparty presidential system
Religions: Islam, Christianity, Indigenous beliefs
Languages: French, local dialects