- When Habitat started in Kenya: 1982
- Individuals served in FY16: 98,315*
- Volunteers hosted in FY16: More than 10,000
- Housing solutions: Housing microfinance, Market development, Vulnerable Groups housing, Institutional technical assistance, Advocacy
*includes construction and market development
- Capital: Nairobi
- Main country facts: Independence in 1963
- Population: 46.79 million
- Urbanization: 25.6 percent live in cities
- Life expectancy: 64 years
- Unemployment rate: 40 percent
- Population living below poverty line: 43.4 percent
Find more country facts on: CIA The World Factbook – Kenya
Habitat for Humanity Kenya
Habitat for Humanity Kenya works with low-income families in Kenya to enable them access decent and affordable houses through building, renovating and preserving homes, and by partnering with others to accelerate and broaden access to affordable housing. Since its inception in 1982, Habitat Kenya has worked with more than 20,000 families in 250 communities across Kenya. Habitat Kenya has developed programs to strategically target those families in communities with the greatest need and potential to build large constituencies for critical reforms and focus needed in the housing sector.
The housing need in Kenya
The housing deficit in Kenya stood at 2 million in 2012 and continues to grow at a rate of over 200,000 units a year. There is a proliferation of informal settlements in urban areas with 60% of the 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 worst hit. 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 local level can stifle the provision of housing. In addition to limited access to land (68% of Kenyans are without land documentation or tenure security) and insufficient income, lack of affordable housing finance is another limiting factor for low-income families to improve their housing conditions.
How Habitat addresses the need in Kenya
In the new strategic plan, Habitat Kenya is engaging with all stakeholders along the affordable housing value chain, aiming to remove constraints, drive housing quality up and housing cost down, taking into account the social and community aspects of housing in Kenya. Habitat Kenya will channel its efforts through the following programmatic lines of business.
Here are some examples of Habitat projects in Kenya:
Community development and support program
Through Community Development & Support Program (CDSP), Habitat Kenya aims to improve the housing conditions for the vulnerable groups (elderly, orphans and vulnerable children - OVC), persons with disabilities (PwD) and widows. The program employs an integrated, holistic, community centric approach by involving the community, government and other key stakeholders to compliment Habitat Kenya’s efforts. Habitat Kenya is constructing new homes, making home improvements and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) as well as community trainings. In addition, Habitat Kenya, in partnership with Samsung Korea, has constructed a school in Mukima area, Laikipia County using Interlocking Stabilized Soil Blocks (ISSB). The primary objective is to promote the low-cost housing technology and also make tangible improvements in education and hygiene conditions of students attending Mukima Secondary School.
Volunteering is at the heart of Habitat Kenya’s community building. It promotes trust and reciprocity. It encourages good citizenship and provides people with an environment where they can learn the responsibilities of community and civic involvement. HFHK offers structured volunteer programs that build on our culture of readiness to engage and help each other.
Habitat Kenya’s advocacy aims to promote systems and policies to achieve decent housing for all. This involves championing for pro-poor housing and related laws and regulations by adding Habitat Kenya’s target group voice in critical issues such as land tenure, housing quality standards and construction building permits at county level. This is through networking and partnerships with likeminded CSO’s in housing forums, contributing information based on experiences in Habitat Kenya programs, research findings and innovative models that address affordable housing problems.
Habitat Kenya contributes to improved housing conditions by making markets function more effectively for low-income households. This is through access to appropriate services, products and financing that is responsive to their needs and capabilities. The services include market research and product development; pilot product implementation; institutional assessments, governance, financial modeling and projections; direct land tenure processing, construction assistance, and linkages to material suppliers, capacity building and certification of local builders.
Meet a Habitat family
Mary Ojuok is a disabled widow and a mother of 6 children. Only two of her 6 children are alive, she lost four to HIV/AIDS. Mary and her daughter-in-law take care of 7 children together. Mary is able to carry out small-scale horticultural farming for a living. Out of the proceeds, she is able to meet only the 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 and sometimes couldn’t sleep since everything became wet including our beddings. Today, Mary is enjoying a new home, built with the help of Habitat volunteers. Mary said: “Though life at my age with 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. Getting a decent shelter means that my grandchildren can now live with me under a solid roof. Thank you Habitat for Humanity Kenya, and the well-wishers that have made my dream of a decent home 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.
Volunteer: Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips to Kenya or lead your own.
Tithe: Establish a strong and rewarding tithe partnership to help build houses globally! Quote 863300, KENYA on your checks sent to: Habitat for Humanity International, Attn: Affiliate Tithe, 121 Habitat St. Americus, GA 31709
To learn more about Habitat projects in Kenya or in other parts of the region, please contact us.
Colleen Hughes, Program Manager
Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa