Individuals served in FY19: 285
Volunteers engaged in FY19: 950
- Population: Over 883,400
- Life expectancy: 67.4 years
- Unemployment rate: 4.5 percent
- Population living below poverty line: 34 percent
Source: World Factbook
Habitat for Humanity in Fiji
Habitat for Humanity started working in Fiji in 1991. Since then, Habitat has helped over 70,000 people to build homes and hope through partnerships with governments, bilateral and non-profit organizations and international volunteers. Habitat works on a range of projects throughout the country including disaster response and recovery through repairs and temporary housing when needed, construction or improvement of water and sanitation systems in rural and remote areas, and disabled access housing projects. In the financial year ended June 30, 2018, Habitat for Humanity Fiji has helped more than 4,500 families through disaster response and over 2,000 families in more than 55 communities through water and sanitation improvements and built over 1,400 new houses to date.
The housing need in Fiji
The lack of affordable housing and land packages has contributed to the growth of informal settlements around Nadi and the capital of Suva, according to the International Finance Corporation. It is estimated that 14 percent of the Fijian population now lives in informal settlements with limited infrastructure and access to essential services such as water and electricity. Fiji is vulnerable to disasters and the damage caused by cyclones in the past highlights the need for affordable housing which is both climate-resilient and energy-efficient. For almost three decades, Habitat for Humanity Fiji has partnered with over 100,000 people to build better lives through repairs and temporary housing after disasters, new or improved water and sanitation systems in rural and remote areas, and housing projects for people with disabilities.
How Habitat addresses the need in Fiji
Habitat for Humanity’s activities in Fiji range from new house construction to helping families rebuild after cyclones and other disasters to improving water and sanitation access in various communities. Habitat homes are typically built with a combination of locally supplied timber, concrete, and metal roofing. Families who partner with Habitat also contribute their own labor to build their new homes.
Community water projects
Since its WASH program began in 2010, Habitat Fiji has been constructing or improving water and sanitation systems in rural and remote communities. Funding support comes from bilateral donors such as UNICEF, Japanese Embassy and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand Aid through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Habitat trains the local communities to manage and conserve water resources and maintain water systems that have been installed. The program has assisted more than 5,000 families in close to 100 communities to date.
Disaster response and resilience
Habitat Fiji is part of the Pacific Task Force together with Habitat Australia and Habitat New Zealand, helping families hit by disasters such as 2015’s Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu. In its response to 2016’s Cyclone Winston, Habitat exceeded itstarget by helping over 7,000 affected families through the distribution of emergency shelter kits. Programs in the recovery phase include community-based water, sanitation and hygiene training, cyclone retrofitting for homes, repairs and construction of houses and water and sanitation facilities, and ‘Build Back Safer’ training. In May 2019, Habitat partnered with the Fiji Shelter Cluster to launch the first country-specific tool for the coordination of shelter response. The Fiji Shelter Handbook: Inclusive and Accessible Shelter Planning for Fijian Communities was developed with the support of the Australian government through Habitat Australia.
In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019, Habitat Fiji hosted 242 Global Village volunteers who helped construct 18 homes. On International Volunteer Day, December 5, 2019, Fijian youth from Muanikoso Village kicked off the 2020 Habitat Young Leaders Build by working on a house renovation. The HYLB volunteers were supported by Habitat Fiji’s long-term donor Aqua Pacific.