SDI invests $1.5 million in housing for the poor in Zimbabwe
Published by The Herald
5 November 2009
Harare — Slum Dwellers International has invested over US $1.5 million in pro-poor housing delivery in Zimbabwe and is at the moment funding the construction of 3,000 housing units.
SDI president Mr Jockin Arputham told The Herald on the sidelines of the national housing convention in Victoria Falls last week that the houses were under construction in Harare (Epworth), Mutare, Victoria Falls and a number of urban centres.
“We have invested US $1.5 million in Zimbabwe through the Homeless People’s Federation in Harare, Mutare and Victoria Falls. We are building more than 3,000 houses,” he said.
The funds are disbursed in the form of loans, which are repaid over a period of time through community savings.
Mr Arputham said his organisation had asked for government permission to conduct a head count of poor people in need of urban housing.
He said his organisation worked through local authorities to create city development strategies and to improve existing conditions.
He said SDI had, through Cities Alliance, arranged another US $2 million for Masvingo City Council to improve its water reticulation, especially in areas where the poor reside.
“The loan should be repaid in two years. This programme should involve the homeless,” said Mr Arputham.
He said SDI had observed that for any meaningful development to take place, poor women and the youth should be involved. He said women had proved to be the best communicators and the best people to get involved in development programmes.
“If you give loans to women, you are guaranteed of 100 percent repayment. Involve the women in housing and you will achieve,” he said.
Mr Arputham, who was at the convention at the invitation of the government of Zimbabwe, said he was there to share best practices in community-based organisations.
To learn more about SDI’s activities in Zimbabwe and how the Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation is helping the poor find their own solutions to the housing shortages, read the article “Zimbabwe Federation Highlights Accomplishments” on the SDI website.