- Capital: Nairobi
- Date of independence: 1963
- Population: 46.79 million
- Urbanization: 26.5%
- Life expectancy: 64.3 years
- Unemployment rate: 40%
- Population living below poverty line: 43.4%
Find more country facts on: CIA The World Factbook – Kenya
- Date when Habitat started working in the country: 1982
- Individuals served in FY17: 105,200
- Volunteers hosted in FY17: 325
- Housing solutions: New homes, rehabs, incremental, repairs, market development
Habitat for Humanity in Kenya
Since 1982, Habitat for Humanity Kenya has worked with more than 20,000 low-income families in 250 communities in the country to enable them to access decent and affordable houses through building, renovating and preserving homes, and by partnering with others to accelerate and broaden access to affordable housing.
The housing need in Kenya
The housing deficit in Kenya stands at 2 million continues to grow at a rate of about 200,000 units a year. There is a proliferation of informal settlements in urban areas with 61 percent of the urban population living in slums in overcrowded homes typically with only one room and no adequate ventilation. Families are at high health risk of diseases such as malaria, respiratory infections, and jigger infestation. The vulnerable, in particular women, children, persons living with disabilities, the elderly, and orphans, are affected the most.
Under the new devolved system of government, housing delivery is the responsibility of the county governments. There is a risk that lack of effective coordination and lack of technical competence at the local level can stifle the provision of housing.
In addition to limited access to land and insufficient income, lack of affordable housing finance is another limiting factor for low-income families to improve their housing conditions.
Habitat’s contribution in Kenya
Habitat Kenya engages with many stakeholders along the affordable housing value chain, aiming to remove constraints, drive housing quality up and housing costs down. Our programs involve housing microfinance, vulnerable groups housing, work with financial service providers to develop microloans for low-income families in order for them to improve their living conditions, and advocacy on housing policies
Focus on community impact
In seeking to impact communities, we engage in three programs: 1) housing microfinance where we advance micro-loans to community groups for purposes of house constructions; 2) vulnerable groups housing where, with our development partners, we construct new homes; address water, sanitation and hygiene challenges for the elderly, orphans and vulnerable children, persons with disability and widows; and offer community trainings; and 3) affordable housing solutions, where through community infrastructures we are able to demonstrate that alternative and appropriate building technologies do reduce construction costs.
Focus on sector impact
To impact the housing sector, our market development team works with financial service providers, suppliers, etc. – in developing and increasing products, services and financing for affordable housing through our institutional technical assistance program. In this area, through collaborative fundraising efforts of Habitat for Humanity International and Habitat Kenya, we have partnered with the MasterCard Foundation since fiscal year 2013 and the IKEA Foundation since fiscal year 2016. To improve construction quality, we also offer technical training to local artisan builders and provide a platform where local communities can acquire constructions skills from the trained artisans at affordable rates.
Focus on societal impact
To impact society, our advocacy team works with relevant government structures and like-minded stakeholders to identify and remove obstacles preventing access to, and delivery of, affordable housing. We also incorporate volunteer engagement as a key delivery mechanism to raise awareness in building affordable homes. We mobilize local volunteers and offer experiences that match their skills, resources and motivation, ensuring that the support offered is in line with particular housing issues, solutions, projects that are in tandem with Habitat Kenya’s strategic plan.
Meet a Habitat family
Mary is a disabled widow and mother who lost four of her six children to HIV/AIDS. She lives with her daughter-in-law and together they care for seven children. Mary is a small-scale horticulturalist and the proceeds from her business meet only the family’s basic needs.
In her old house, the rusty and leaking roof used to be a great problem when it rained; the family had to move things in the house to keep them dry, and sometimes couldn’t sleep when everything would get wet, especially their bedding.
Today, Mary and her family live in a Habitat house built with the help of Habitat volunteers. “Though life at my age with a disability is a struggle, I find much relief and strength to live just because I know that someone cares enough to think about my housing need,” Mary said. “Getting a decent home means that my grandchildren can now live with me under a solid roof. My dream of a decent home has come true.”
What you can do
You can help Kenyan families improve their living conditions by taking one or more of the following actions:
Donate: Go to habitat.org/donate and designate your gift to Habitat Kenya.
Tithe: All affiliate tithe gifts are sent internationally to serve families outside of the United States. To support the work of Habitat KENYA, please send your tithe to: Habitat for Humanity International P.O. Box 6598 Americus, GA 31709-3498.
To learn more about Habitat projects in Kenya or in other parts of the region, please contact us:
Habitat for Humanity Kenya
Colleen Hughes, Program Manager
Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa
To learn more about volunteering opportunities in Kenya, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.