Housing poverty in Zambia

  • +3,500 families served +3,500 families served
  • +1,800 volunteers hosted +1,800 volunteers hosted
  • Projects: new homes for vulnerable groups, housing microfinance, water and sanitation, advocacy and awareness raising Projects: new homes for vulnerable groups, housing microfinance, water and sanitation, advocacy and awareness raising

We have been helping to alleviate housing poverty in Zambia for decades, notably by working in partnership with poor and low-income families to best identify their needs.

We believe that every man, woman and child should have a safe and affordable place to call home. This is provided through holistic solutions such as secure land tenure, provision of safe drinking water and sanitation, housing finance and advocacy.

Over 60% of the population live under the poverty line

Despite Zambia having one of the world’s fastest growing economies, it remains one of the world’s poorest countries. Currently, close to 64% of Zambians live under $2 a day and the majority of those who earn more barely make ends-meet.

Indeed, over 40% of them are considered to live in extreme poverty (under $1.25 a day).

When looking at the cost of living in Zambia, according to Mercers (2010), living in Lusaka costs more than living in Washington, D.C when comparing purchasing power parity.

Rapid urbanisation

The ‘higher’ incomes and jobs in Zambia are concentrated in urban areas. This has led to an urbanisation rate that is almost twice the population growth rate.

In consequence, there is a higher demand for jobs which is slowing wage growth and increasing land and house prices beyond the reach of the average worker.

Additionally, Zambia has a current urban housing deficit that stands at 1.3 million housing units, projected to reach 3 million housing units by 2025.

Slums and low access to water

Due to the lack of affordable housing, about 70% of urban dwellers in the country live in slums with inadequate access to water, sanitation and extension facilities. The lack of decent housing exacerbates people´s poverty.

“I am not the only one who has gone through a hardship of an abusive marriage in my community. If I had not made the decision to leave I don’t know where I would be right now,”

(Midia Lungu, owner of a Habitat home)

How we help alleviate housing poverty in Zambia

We run a number of programmes to address the housing, water and sanitation needs in the country, including: House construction…

We run a number of programmes to address the housing, water and sanitation needs in the country, including:

  • House construction for vulnerable groups
  • Provision of interest-free mortgages (micro-loans) to families that can afford repayments
  • Installation of boreholes and water kiosk
  • Awareness raising on issues affecting poor and vulnerable groups
  • HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment training
  • Advocating for fair and just housing policies and volunteer engagement
Water and sanitation in Zambia

Key facts & figures

  • Capital: Lusaka
  • Main country facts: Gained independence in 1964
  • Population:15.06 million
  • Urbanisation: 40.9 % live in cities
  • Life expectancy: 52.15 years
  • Unemployment rate: 15 %
  • Population living below poverty line: 60.5 %

Pamwesu project for orphans and vulnerable children

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The project provides a fully subsidised three-room house and secures housing rights for marginalised and vulnerable communities, (with mainly Orphans and Vulnerable Children families), in Zambia’s Peri urban areas of Lusaka and Ndola districts.

The solution includes a ventilated improved pit latrine, training on inheritance planning to caregivers to secure assets for their children and HIV/AIDS awareness and OVC care for the families and the community.

Microloans for Zambians and advocacy for social housing

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This microfinance programme serves the ‘poor but viable’ through the provision of five-year loans in the form of building materials and technical support to construct their homes.

The project seeks to develop and promote pro-poor policies that impact access to water, sanitation, land tenure, gender and property rights by working in coalition to influence government to adopt and enact policies affecting marginalised people.

Maanzi water and sanitation project

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The programme focuses on providing:

- Safe drinking water and sanitation;
- Hygiene promotion through increased access to clean and safe drinking water;
- Promotion of good personal and environmental hygiene;
- Ensure the optimal use of all water supply and sanitation facilities which will impact on beneficiary’s health and promote sustainability.

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