The need for access to shelter
Prepared by Yasir Yousif Saeed
The majority of the inhabitants of Wau Nor and Kadugli in Kassala are living in inadequate shelters. The shelters poor construction and undesirable location has meant that they are frequently affected by floods, health hazards, fire and termites. Due to the poverty experienced by the inhabitants and the high cost of building materials there has not been any adequate alternative to their present situation. Also financial institutions are reluctant to offer long term loans to cover the building costs.
It was therefore decided that Practical Action would look to address these issues. As this project is not primarily technology based it was vitally important to address the most pressing challenges of housing affordability and housing finance. Construction of homes not only satisfies the vital need for shelter, it can also have the added benefit of stimulating the community's micro economy.
Practical Action Housing Model
A participatory approach was used to reach a consensus on the agreed upon model which meant the design ideas were discussed thoroughly with community members, artisans, builders and local consultants to acquire endogenous knowledge from within the community. Experiences of national research institutes regarding housing alternatives were also consulted.
It was decided that a full house would be made up of two bedrooms, a kitchen with lobby and a veranda. A core house of two rooms can be considered as phase one and should cost just under half the amount of a full house. The project aimed to utilize locally available materials that best offer appropriateness and affordability.
After a thorough design review it was agreed that the foundations would be stone filled with mud mortar and the side walls built of mud bricks laid in mud mortar and rendered with low class red bricks. The walls would be plastered internally with clay and externally with sand cement mortar. A Ferro-cement vaulted roof was chosen over the traditional roof (baladi) as a cost analysis showed it to be 1.3 per meter sq cheaper. The doors and windows are to be made of steel angles and compared to corrugated iron sheets. The total cost of a full house was estimated to be 1,116,199 SD or US$5500 cost of other models.
The Self Help Approach
The self help approach is a mean of promoting a sustainable shelter delivery strategy for the IDPs at Wau Nor and Kadugli which can be adopted by national and local government. A Self Help Groups (SHG) that enables the poor to advocate and seek support with respect to shelter, land tenure, environment, income and employment. Was established to encourage a degree of financial self-sufficiency and good governance. Furthermore it should promote local knowledge and social capital encouraging the community towards a congenial housing scheme.
We agreed upon an innovative model known as Credit for Housing. This involved Practical Action initially funding the building of 17 houses. The beneficiaries who would be living in these new homes were expected to pay 30% up front with the remaining 70% to be paid in instalments over a period of 18 months. These repayments would be paid to the SHG who would then be able to use this money for the building of further homes. It was also decided that money from this SHG fund could be loaned for maintenance and housing improvements therefore benefiting the poorest of the poor who can not afford to buy a new home.
The project to date is making good progress with 4 core houses and 1 full house completed (see picture). Further progress has seen the training of 21 builders. An additional benefit has been the relationship formed between the Sawa Sawa SHG for housing and Kadugli brick makers association. This involved the granting of a loan to the brick makers association for the production of low cost burned bricks which was repaid with 15% profit. This influenced the micro economics of the area as job opportunities were opened in the building sector.