In the next 12 months, Habitat for Humanity International plans to: 1) build and/or repair a total of 60 houses, and 2) provide construction and vocational training for 300 individuals as well as for 72 micro, small and medium size enterprises, with support from USAID/CHF International, Moneygram and others.
Building on the previously mentioned short-term goal, Habitat for Humanity International also commits to the following incremental goals over the next three years:
1. Repair 1,000 homes,
2. Build 500 new core homes,
3. Facilitate employment opportunities (linkages with market demand) for 600 tradespersons (ex: carpenters, masons) and micro-entrepreneurs in the low-income construction sector, prioritizing women and youth, with 270 of them accessing micro-loans or subsidies (construction materials).
4. Train 1,500 families in disaster prevention and mitigation - many will be the same families also receiving core homes or home repairs.
This project will support the construction sector - both disaster mitigation infrastructure and low-income housing solutions, through introducing accessible, locally-appropriate technology (prefabricated concrete block panels) for use in infrastructure and housing components that lessen disaster risk, and linking strengthened construction sector producers, service and materials providers and trainees with market opportunities. Micro and small business entrepreneurs, hardest hit by recent economic difficulties, need not only training but additional support (business management, loans, equipment subsidies) to be able to launch and/or grow that targets development in areas of identified demand. The project has a specific gender focus, looking to support income-generating opportunities for women in construction, a traditionally male-dominated sector.
Due to the earthquake in January 2010, Habitat for Humanity International's initial project has been altered. They have significantly expanded the scope and depth of their project.
Low-income housing market research undertaken in Gonaives and Cape Haitian in 2007 - 2008 by Habitat For Humanity International showed housing as the one sector projecting growth. Households continue building their houses progressively (little by little) despite the sluggish Haitian economy. However, housing supply systems are not meeting their needs: expensive and inadequate building materials; unskilled labor; inefficient and expensive building services; inadequate housing designs for vulnerable areas; and lack of good housing finance options (no access to formal sources such as banks, while informal lending sources charge high interest rates). This project seeks to stimulate the economy through strategies targeting these gaps in the low income housing sector value chain and also addressing the housing deficit.
Scientific studies have shown that climate change has increased the occurrence and intensity of hurricanes in the Caribbean and Atlantic to levels higher than have been experienced over the last 1000 years. Between August 9 and September 7 2008, tropical storms and hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike consecutively pummeled Haiti. In Gonaives, Haiti's second largest city with a population of 500,000, flood waters reached the ten foot mark. 3,735 homes were destroyed or damaged in Gonaives alone. Compounding the situation, bridges and roads into the Gonaives area were washed out and the city center was submerged in mud because of a lack of sufficient infrastructure to allow drainage and prevent flooding.
Families in substandard housing are more vulnerable to disasters - which happen often, since Haiti lies right on the hurricane path in the Caribbean. A total of 15 severe tropical storms or hurricanes have hit Haiti in the last 14 years. Habitat plans to help to rebuild after the hurricanes of 2008, as well as mitigate future disasters, utilizing hurricane-resistant home designs.
The severe flooding is a major setback for Haiti, struggling to pull itself out of a downward spiral. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80% of the population living on less than $2 a day, Haiti is particularly vulnerable to even the mildest of natural disasters. This vulnerability is exacerbated by decades of environmental neglect (only 2% of Haiti's land is forested), poor social and economic conditions, and a volatile political situation. Most Haitian homes are poorly constructed with walls built from mud and stones, the roof from scrap wood and metal sheets, and dirt floors, making them unable to withstand a natural disaster of this magnitude.
SEEKING: financial assistance, media and marketing opportunities. Donors - both cash and in-kind donations (construction materials, tools). Marketing of training opportunities, the project, new construction technologies and small enterprises (linking supply and demand).
OFFERING: implementing partnership. Our construction sector vocational trainees and small enterprises can be used by others to complete housing and infrastructure construction projects in Haiti.