Housing for the Disabled in Ethiopia


The vast majority of Ethiopians live in inadequate homes with 90% of urban houses and almost all rural houses in poor condition and 60% of the population lacking access to adequate sanitation facilities. In Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, 80% of the houses are in poor condition and below standard. Houses in slum areas are old and dilapidated and too narrow to accommodate families, where health and dignity is compromised. Most families who live in dilapidated homes in slum areas share toilets that are also in very poor condition. Only 18% of households in Addis Ababa have access to sanitation facilities and 24% of households do not have any form of toilet. 

Habitat for Humanity (HFH) and Christian Blind Mission (CBM) both have strong track records of development work in Ethiopia, improving quality of living for families with no or low ­income. By coming together, these two organizations are working to transform the living conditions of people who have disabilities or who are at risk of developing disabilities, by improving their access to decent housing and sanitation facilities. 

The town of Fiche is located about 100 km north of Addis Ababa. Fiche does not have enough housing options for those in need and existing housing does not meet basic standards of safety. Exacerbating the housing issue in Fiche is a serious lack of sanitation, forcing families to use nearby open fields and causing long ­term negative health implications. Complex social issues also make vulnerable families (female ­headed homes, the elderly, those with disabilities) even more vulnerable due to a lack of community integration due to discrimination. The reality is that people in Fiche have no other option than to live in less than adequate homes. They do not have the financial means to improve their housing conditions, which are significantly sub­standard, and they have no other alternative housing options. 

In partnership with CBM, Habitat Canada and Habitat Ethiopia are working to transform the living conditions of people who have disabilities or who are at risk of developing disabilities, by improving their access to decent housing and sanitation facilities. Addressing a key development need for adequate housing in the urban context of Ethiopia, the Fiche Integrated Vulnerable Group Housing Project will increase access to safe and decent shelter for vulnerable families using innovative approaches and best practices. The goal of this project is to improve the living standard of 40 vulnerable families by providing new homes and holistic support services. In addition, this project aims to create a healthy community by improving sanitation facilities at the community level and encouraging learning and knowledge transfer to become a model for future healthy, inclusive and holistic housing programming in Ethiopia. 

The financial matching commitment from CBM as well as the expertise that both organizations bring to this project will better serve the unique needs of this community. The Fitche Integrated Vulnerable Group Housing Project empowers vulnerable individuals, families and communities with an integrated home design that focuses on accessibility and social inclusion. The home design process integrates traditional Ethiopian concepts of communal living that will reduce stigma of people with disabilities within the wider community, while increasing accessibility for those with limited access. The new home design, which include a kitchen and toilet, will also improve living conditions for families by taking into consideration modern realities of home life, such as improved kitchen facilities and separate livestock and animal pen areas improving overall health.

This project also encourages learning and knowledge transfer through financial literacy training for improved livelihoods as well as engaging students from the Civil Service University to increase awareness of the state of low­cost housing and inclusive home design solutions. In addition, Habitat Ethiopia and CBM will work with the municipality in order to establish land tenure for families who previously lived in rented homes (either from the Ethiopian government, called ‘kebeles’ or private landlords), significantly enhancing family security. Lastly, the Integrated Vulnerable Group Housing Project in Fiche will support families to build their own homes where possible, building a sense of pride and ownership, and enabling the acquisition of key construction and home maintenance skills necessary for homeownership. 



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