Housing poverty in Lesotho

Safe homes for orphans and vulnerable children
  • 3,410 people served in FY18 3,410 people served in FY18
  • 175 volunteers hosted in FY18 175 volunteers hosted in FY18
  • Projects: home building, clean water and sanitation, land rights Projects: home building, clean water and sanitation, land rights

We seek to empower and transform communities suffering from housing poverty in Lesotho by providing safe and decent shelter to orphans and vulnerable families.

As part of our Vulnerable Group Housing programme, we work with disadvantaged groups in society to get them access to decent housing solutions.

High HIV/AIDS infection rates

Lesotho has the second highest HIV/AIDs adult prevalence in the world with just under 1 in 4 people living with HIV. As a result of the pandemic, of all the countries with HIV prevalence greater than one percent, Lesotho has the largest percentage of children who have lost one or both parents.

For 68% of all orphans and vulnerable children, HIV&AIDS is the major factor causing orphanhood and vulnerability. As a result, many of these children live in places that are either indecent, unhygienic or in overcrowded spaces after the loss of their parents.

Unsafe homes

Further, about 70% of Lesotho’s population live in households defined as poor with unhealthy conditions ranging from overcrowded homes, lack of clean water or toilet, exposed construction elements. 

Many orphaned Basotho children lack a safe place to call home. Land ownership issues in Lesotho have also contributed to the woes faced by orphans and vulnerable children in the country.

Many of them have been victims of property/land grabbing, effectively evicting them from their homes and leaving them in desperate need of shelter.

How we help alleviate housing poverty in Lesotho

Our “Vulnerable Groups Housing” programme works with orphans, vulnerable children and their families to address their needs for decent and clean shelter.

The programme aims to provide long term and sustainable solutions to its beneficiaries by enabling very comprehensive support to the selected families. The programme ensures that beneficiaries receive the support needed to better their lives and eventually work their way out of absolute poverty.

Key facts & figures

  • Population 1.9 million
  • Urbanisation 27.3%
  • Life expectancy 52.9 years
  • Unemployment rate 28%
  • Population living below poverty line: 4%

Housing for vulnerable groups

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Under this programme, we construct simple yet durable two-room houses with concrete blocks and corrugated iron sheets roofs. A ventilated pit latrine is constructed to improve sanitation.

Additionally, our local team advocates for secure land tenure. We initiate land ownership processes for the households to ensure they legally own the land before we build a house for them - so as to avoid any risk of eviction in the future. Local authorities, including the land administration authority, local councils and chiefs working with Habitat Lesotho are instrumental in assisting these households to legally own land wherever we build.

Education & training

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Since our goal is to transform communities, beneficiary families and their communities are further empowered through various trainings. Trainings on health, hygiene, home maintenance and inheritance rights are provided to all beneficiary families served through our projects and, in many cases, to community members who may not have been direct beneficiaries of the house.

House maintenance trainings ensure that the houses provide long-term shelter for the families.

Inheritance rights training

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The knowledge gained through the inheritance rights training has seen an increased number of wills registered in various Habitat projects. It also safeguards the family's interests, leading to reduced cases of property grabbing and evictions in the unfortunate event of death of orphans' or vulnerable children's carers.

In all interventions, we work closely with the Government of Lesotho, development partners and NGOs as well as local organisations to address needs of vulnerable families that often extend beyond the need for decent shelter. This way, an all-round approach to addressing the needs is adopted while ensuring community ownership of projects is prioritised.