At least 40,000 urban housing units in Nepal are required annually between 2011 and 2021, according to a study done by UN-HABITAT at the request of the Nepali government. The 2010 study, “Nepal Urban Housing Sector Profile”, stated that soaring land prices and increasing rural-urban migration made it difficult for the poor to afford housing, especially in the fast-growing urban areas. About 10% of urban dwellers in Nepal are squatters and the number is set to rise.
About 10% of urban dwellers in Nepal are squatters and the number is set to rise.
HFH Nepal works with various community level organizations in 35 districts to increase its impact by reaching out to poorer communities. The result is a cost-effective and environmental-friendly housing programme delivered through partnerships with non-government organizations, microfinance institutions, and village lending and savings groups. HFH Nepal also aims to make a difference through partnerships with the government and celebrity ambassadors. Special events such as Habitat Youth BUILD, Everest Build, and Scouts Build help raise awareness of the need for decent housing. Together with its partners, HFH Nepal is currently building 2.3 houses per hour.
This project is currently in the second phase and aims to help female-headed households to upgrade their houses, improve their water and sanitation facilities, and maintain good personal hygiene. Families also form savings groups and learn how to boost their incomes through livelihood training. A total of 478 female-headed households in Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Saptari and Siraha districts will be benefited through HFH Nepal’s partnership with local microfinance institutions.
Locally available construction materials such as bamboo and sun-dried bricks are promoted in all the districts where HFH Nepal works. Women home partners are also built up through training in income-generating activities and leadership, and get to learn about health and safe sanitation.
HFH Nepal’s partner MFIs provide housing loans to ex-Kamaiya, or former bonded laborers, to improve or strengthen their homes against disasters, and to gain access to safe water and sanitation. The second phase of this project in Mahendranagar will also see 437 ex-Kamaiya households being trained in income-generating activities and receiving loans to start small businesses.
In highly rural and predominantly agricultural Nepal, disasters such as flooding and fires leave families vulnerable. HFH Nepal promotes the use of cost-effective materials such as bamboo and sun-dried bricks in building houses that are more disaster-resilient, easier to maintain and friendlier to the environment. In March 2014, HFH Nepal distributed more than 80 emergency shelter kits comprising bamboo poles and mats to families who lost their homes in a fire in Sunsari district.
HFH also responded quickly to the devastating earthquake in May, 2015. We target to help at least 20,000 families to recover through providing immediate relief, transitional shelter, and housing rehabilitation or construction of core homes. The works in the early stage include construction of 100 permanent homes in the heavily damaged district of Kavre and removal of rubble and earthquake debris by hundreds of volunteers and staff.
“I am no longer an unfortunate widow but a wise and courageous woman in the eyes of the society.”
-Goma Thatal | Jhapa, Nepal
Goma Thatal has been living in Jhapa since she got married in 2002. After her husband passed away 2 years ago, she struggled to raise her 2 young daughters on her own. She used to live in a small thatched hut that was built on government land. Although she worked hard, she had very little savings from her tea shop business.
Through a staff member of Nari Chetana, HFH Nepal’s partner organization, Goma came to know about Habitat’s low-cost housing programme. She became a member of Nari Chetana and obtained a loan of 25,000 Nepali rupees (about USD 300) without collateral.
The loan was to be repaid in 3 years. Since Thatal did not have a land title, she could not build a new house. On her behalf, Nari Chetana appealed to the local authorities and HFH Nepal for assistance. A Global Village volunteer team from New Zealand worked with Thatal to build her a two-room house. Thatal and her daughters moved into their Habitat house in October 2013.
Thatal feels safe and secure in her current house. With pride, she said: “I am no longer an unfortunate widow but a wise and courageous woman in the eyes of the society.”