- Capital: Lusaka
- Date of independence: 1964
- Population: 16 million
- Urbanization: 41.8% live in cities
- Life expectancy: 52.5 years
- Unemployment rate: 15 percent
- Population living below poverty line: 64%
- Date when Habitat started working in the country: 1984
- Individuals served in FY18: 1,965
- Volunteers hosted in FY18: 941
- Housing Solutions: New homes, incremental
Habitat for Humanity in Zambia
Habitat for Humanity Zambia is part of a global non-profit housing organization whose vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat Zambia believes that every woman, man and child should have a safe and affordable home. We work in partnership with low-income families and people living in the country’s poorest places to improve their living conditions. Our approach is holistic and includes secure land tenure, provision of safe drinking water and sanitation, housing finance for home improvements and advocacy.
The housing need in Zambia
Zambia is one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most urbanized countries. The rural- urban migration is quite significant with the urbanization rate of change (4.35 percent) above the population growth rate (2.93 percent). The population distribution shows a high density in the central areas, particularly along rail lines and mainly in cities like Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe and Mufulira (CIA – World Factbook 2017). This influx has placed an overwhelming demand on local authorities who are admittedly ill equipped to provide the needed amenities for decent living conditions to be maintained. The rural zones are however less concentrated, as the higher incomes and jobs in Zambia are more available in the urban areas. Consequently, there is also a higher demand for jobs which is slowing wage growth and increasing land and house prices beyond the reach of the average worker.
The demand for residential space has only led to increased housing cost, with a population of people unable to finance decent housing. The national housing deficit stands at 1.5 million units and is projected to double by 2030, according to UN HABITAT. Due to the lack of affordable housing, about 70 percent of urban dwellers in the country live in unplanned settlements with inadequate access to safe and clean water, sanitation and extension facilities. Zambia’s existing housing stock is estimated at 2.5 million units.
How Habitat addressed the need in Zambia
Habitat Zambia runs a number of programs to address the housing, water and sanitation needs in the country. These include house construction for vulnerable groups, installation of boreholes and water kiosks, awareness raising on issues affecting vulnerable groups and people living in poor conditions, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment training, advocating for fair and just housing policies, and volunteer engagement.
Water, sanitation and hygiene
Habitat Zambia’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, or WASH, project aims to increase access to clean and safe drinking water and promote good personal and environmental hygiene in order to improve the health of families. The project also ensures the optimized use of all the water supply and sanitation facilities, which in turn promotes sustainability.
Habitat Zambia has an integrated advocacy project that seeks to address policy issues and systems improvement in the areas of land, housing and water. We seek to strengthen our approach in public policy engagement and, as a result, change and affect policy and legislation that improves outcomes for Zambia’s vulnerable individuals, particularly women. The project will also build capacity in advocacy among community members for the purpose of empowering them to mobilize for their own housing and land rights and speak to local authorities.
Orphans and vulnerable children
The project provides a fully subsidized, four-room house and secures housing rights for marginalized and vulnerable
communities (mainly with Orphans and Vulnerable Children, or OVC, families) in Zambia’s peri-urban areas of Lusaka, Chilanga, Kabwe and Ndola districts. The solution includes a ventilated, improved pit latrine, trainings on inheritance planning to caregivers to secure assets for their children and HIV/ AIDS awareness and OVC care for the families and the community.
Meet a Habitat family
Marlon was born in 1970 in Lusaka’s Kaunda Square community. Her husband died in 2005, leaving her to raise six children and three grandchildren. Since her new Habitat home was constructed, Marlon started work as a maid at a nearby cement factory where she ears roughly US$45 a month.
Marlon’s family feels safe in the new house. In their previous home, they never slept well due to fear of thieves breaking in because the doors and windows did not lock. “I no longer worry about my family’s safety because the new house is of high quality,” Marlon said. “ If I work overtime and come home late, I just instruct my oldest son to ensure that doors are locked.”
In the past, she did not want to work too far because she felt her children and property were not safe enough in a house without a door. Also, the old house was very cold in winter and wet in rainy season. Now, she looks forward to the sound of rain hitting her roof. “Everything is going well for me,” she said.
What you can do
You can help Zambian 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 Zambia.
Volunteer: Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips to Zambia or lead your own. Contact us to learn more: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tithe: All affiliate tithe gifts are sent internationally to serve families outside of the United States. To support the work of Habitat ZAMBIA, please send your tithe to: Habitat for Humanity International P.O. Box 6598 Americus, GA 31709-3498.
To learn more about Habitat projects in Lebanon or in other parts of the region, please contact us:
Habitat for Humanity Zambia
Kanyata Mukelabai, National Director
Coleen Hughes, Program Development Manager