Habitat for Humanity Kenya works with low-income families in Kenya to enable access to decent and affordable houses through building, renovating and preserving homes, and by partnering with key players across the housing value chain to accelerate and broaden access to affordable housing solutions. Habitat Kenya’s base of operation is at the county level, specifically Laikipia and Homabay Counties, where we empower communities to take action to improve their housing conditions, integrate vulnerable groups into the community and work with the local government to provide essential services such as WASH, energy and security of tenure.
In Laikipia County, Habitat Kenya has constructed 58 houses for vulnerable families, each fitted with a water tank and a pit latrine. Habitat Kenya has also supported the improvement of schools in the region through construction of classrooms, ablution blocks and water boreholes for communities.
Background: Kandutura Settlement
Kandutura Settlement is Kandutura Settlement is located in Rumuruti Location, Laikipia North-Sub County, Laikipia County. It mainly comprises of immigrants who left their ancestral homes due to political upheavals and settled as squatters in an open field in Kandutura village. The number of families living in Kandutura settlement is over 600, making it one of the largest squatter settlements in Laikipia County.Majority of the people in the settlement work as cattle keepers or casual workers in nearby ranches and flower farms, earning meagre income. The poverty level in this community is quite high and as a result most families cannot afford to put up decent shelters and end up living in small shanties that can barely accommodate the family members.
Habitat for Humanity Kenya’s Intervention
In 2016, the County government of Laikipia (Ministry of Housing), introduced Habitat Kenya to the Kandutura settlement as a potential area for intervention. This was in a bid to build partnership and tap into Habitat Kenya’s expertise in affordable housing. Habitat Kenya conducted an assessment of the settlement in order to identify the needs and challenges faced by the community.
The findings showed very high levels of poverty, inadequate housing conditions, lack of land tenure security, poor or no sanitation at all (no toilets) and a severe lack of water. Actually, in Rumuruti Location where Kandutura settlement is located, only 17% of the residents had access to water, the rest would get water from a neighboring location or from the river. In Kandutura, the community had no access to water and sanitation within the settlement.
With these findings, Habitat Kenya designed a project to:
Address land tenure issues through advocacy
Identify and construct homes for vulnerable people
Provide Water and Sanitation solutions
Build livelihood capacities of the community.
Identified and created a beneficiary database of 270 poor families in need of decent housing. The beneficiaries comprise of the elderly, orphans, widows and people with disability.
Habitat Kenya constructed new houses (2 and 3 bed-roomed) for 25 of the beneficiaries, with each house fitted with a 2000 litres water tank and a pit latrine.
Through Habitat Kenya’s Advocacy efforts, the Laikipia County Assembly in 2017, tabled a motion and approved the allocation of 50 acres of land to the people living in the settlement. The area was then officially surveyed and sub-divided by the Lands Registry. This was a first step towards rebuilding the livelihood of this community. Over 400 families have so far been issued with land ownership documents.
Habitat Kenya supported members of Kariunga to form a housing cooperative aimed at building the livelihood capacities of the community. The housing cooperative comprises of community members that have some income. So far the housing cooperative has got 472 members and have raised approximately Kshs 1M ($10,000) worth of deposits. The plan by the cooperative is to purchase a piece of land and put up housing units for the members of the housing cooperative. The members were also trained on producing Interlocking Stabilized Soil Blocks (ISSBs) by the National government through the ministry of housing in Laikipia county and are now making the blocks for commercial use.
Current State of Kandutura Settlement:
There are approximately 240 households in Kandutura settlement that still live in poor housing conditions and require intervention. The need and demand for decent and adequate housing is huge and it calls for Habitat Kenya, the government and other like-minded stakeholders to develop holistic strategies to support community members to own new homes and also to improve their health and livelihood status.