‘Affordable and adequate housing key to sustainable transformation’

07Oct 2020
Getrude Mbago
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
‘Affordable and adequate housing key to sustainable transformation’

​​​​​​​INCLUSIVE, affordable and adequate housing is the key to sustainable transformation of cities and communities’, fighting poverty and other risks, says Dr Tim Ndezi, executive director of the country’s centre for community  initiatives (CCI).

Dr Tim Ndezi.

According to him, as Tanzania joined others to commemorate   the World Habitat Day on October 5, this year, increased investments and support towards having more improved and affordable housing for all is vital.

In an interview with The Guardian, Dr Ndezi said that in a bid to ensure decent housing for all, the government, private sector and stakeholders have to work together, increase investments and addressing challenges and providing diverse financing mechanisms.

He said that CCI urges the government to put people at the core of decision-making, work closely with local communities by engaging them in various projects that affect their daily lives.

“Tanzania urban poor struggle with issues of poor housing and threats of forced eviction. Government's efforts to address housing problems in urban areas are still insufficient. The urban population struggles very hard to access surveyed plots and when available they are sold at high prices, something which had led them to settle in unplanned and subserviced settlements,” Dr Ndezi said.

He however said everyone should be aware that providing adequate housing is a shared responsibility, which depends on national and local governments, civil society, businesses, and local communities working together.

According to him, as a way of demonstrating the more affordable way of addressing land and housing challenges, Tanzania Urban Poor Federation (TUPF) with support from CCI initiated affordable housing schemes a few years ago.

Dubbed “Chamazi community based housing scheme” the project was implemented in Temeke Municipality in Dar es Salaam.

“In the project, we saw over 70 affordable houses of two-bedrooms with modern toilets at a cost of not more than 3m/-. Both housing projects have highly considered and demonstrated the role played by community organisations and participation by purchasing land, planning and participating in construction work with the aim of reducing the cost and creating ownership,” he said.

Dr Ndezi further urged the government to prioritize people with low income in land ownership and affordable housing.

“Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) should also support the government’s efforts by helping to empower communities and ensure governments implement an inclusive agenda. Communities should be empowered to participate in shaping the global “housing for all” agenda in countries, cities and settlements around the world,” he noted.

In his remarks to commemorate the important day, Minister for Land, Housing and Human Settlements Development, William Lukuvi said that the ministry is working to conduct a housing census to identify the actual number of houses and help identify housing conditions and shortages and thus come up with strategic development plans to address the challenges.

The minister instructed land offices in all regions as well as the planning authorities to actively monitor the identification, planning and ownership exercises in accordance with the laws, procedures and guidelines issued so as to ensure that more citizens own land and houses.

In her message also, UN Habitat executive director Maimunah Mohd Sharif said the World Habitat Day 2020 offers an important opportunity to reflect on the effect of the Covid-19 crisis, and also how we can shape the future of human settlements more resiliently.

“Housing is now widely recognised as a frontline defence against Covid-19, with residents across the world being told to stay at home and wash their hands. But these simple measures are impossible for the 1.8 billion people living in inadequate housing conditions, informal settlements, overcrowded homes, homelessness, and unstable housing conditions,” she noted.

World Habitat Day 2020 presents the opportunity to engage in a global discussion on the transformative impact of Covid-19 on the housing sector and to explore how to build societies back better, by leveraging the role of housing as a catalyst for progressively delivering human rights and as a foundation of people’s wellbeing. Issues around housing must be at the centre of sustainable and inclusive urban development.

The day acts as a hub to coordinate and share information to promote the idea of housing, shelter and slum upgrading as central to the functions of cities in meeting residents’ needs. The pandemic has shown that cities and local governments around the world can move towards reducing inequalities and poverty levels and providing access to adequate housing for all, as a catalyst to achieve other fundamental rights.

She said Sustainable Development Goal 11 aims for resilient, inclusive, safe, diverse cities by 2030 and one of the targets is access to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services for all by 2030 and the upgrade of slum.

Maimunah further said governments need to reshape policies, strategies and legislation for diverse housing solutions for all and respect, protect and fulfill human rights for all in cities.

She said that UN-Habitat is launching a five-week long campaign on ‘Housing for All’; to spread the message that housing is more than just a roof.

“Adequate housing is central to providing shelter against safety and health risks. It is an essential condition of living in dignity, and the basis for belonging and wellbeing, and a key for access to public spaces, job opportunities, hospitals, schools, and food.”

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