Machakos Build

Chief Justice Martha Koome joins initiative to build houses for poor families in Machakos

MACHAKOS, Kenya, Mar 1 – Ten poor and vulnerable families in Machakos County will, in coming months, get decent shelter when an ongoing project to build houses for them is complete.

Among supporters of the Habitat for Humanity Kenya Leader’s Build, is Chief Justice Martha Koome, who on Tuesday launched construction of one of the 10 houses, which she is financing fully with members of her family.

“Habitat for Humanity should be lauded for this milestone, which resonates with the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the Social Transformation Through Access (STAJ) Vision that is being pursued by the Judiciary,” CJ Koome said at the event.

Habitat for Humanity (HFH Kenya), a non-profit organisation that begun its operations in Kenya in 1982, is constructing 40 houses across Kenya in the counties of Machakos, Laikipia, Homa Bay and Tana River.

CJ Koome’s involvement with the Leader’s Build initiative dates back to the 1990s when she joined a project to build houses for poor families in Chuka, Meru.  She has since participated in similar build’s as far as Cambodia together with her husband Koome Kiragu.

Mr Koome became a member of the HFH Kenya Board of Directors in April 2000 and served as the Board Chairman between 2017 to 2020 when he retired.

According to a 2019 survey by The World Bank, Kenya has an annual housing demand of 250,000 units with an estimated supply of 50,000 units translating to a deficit of 80 per cent. Only two per cent of the formally constructed houses target low-income earners, the survey shows.

“The Chief Justice has led by example, putting a smile on a vulnerable family with a decent house. We can all do in our small ways, by buying a nail, iron sheets and ultimately building a full house,” said Frank Ireri, Board Chairman Habitat for Humanity Kenya.

The board members of the organisation have pooled resources to build a house for one beneficiary in Machakos County.

“If the government and other players within the housing sector could adopt the low cost models, subsidise the cost of construction materials by reducing the tax, coupled with community based solutions we could even build more houses,” said Ruth Odera, HFH Kenya’s National Director during the event.

This year, Habitat for Humanity Kenya is marking 40 years of operation in Kenya, having worked in over 10 counties across the country and transforming the lives of low-income households.

To commemorate this 40-year milestone, the organisation has been running the Adopt a House, Build Hope campaign from November 2021 to May 2022 to build 40 houses for 40 families in the listed  four counties.

The campaign has drawn support from individuals, private sector and international well-wishers. In two weeks’ time, a building event for the international supporters will take place in Laikipia. Another event slated for the Easter holiday will attract corporates who are willing to support the vulnerable families financially and physically.

“The housing problem in Kenya will be solved through collaborative effort  by the private sector, the government and individuals across the nation,” added Mr Ireri. HFH Kenya is exploring other ways through which it could lower the cost of constructing a house and build more.

HFH Kenya is working with the Architectural Association of Kenya to come up with a model that could cut the cost of constructing a house from Sh1 million to as low as Sh350,000.The cost depends on the ability and priority housing needs of a particular family.

Habitat for Humanity Kenya is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International with a goal of enabling low income families to access decent and affordable shelter. HFH Kenya has enabled low-income families in 250 communities to access decent shelter with proper sanitation within homes, schools and hospitals.