15 December 2015
A project launched today that will help strengthen the future of hundreds of low-income Samoan families will begin with training in financial literacy and how to cyclone-strap roofs.
The three-year NZD1.49 million Habitat Build Project of Habitat for Humanity New Zealand is being delivered in Samoa by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) with a key partner being the Samoa Housing Corporation (SHC). It is funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade under the Partnerships for International Development Fund.
Habitat for Humanity New Zealand chief executive officer Claire Szabó said the project would begin with financial literacy training, an important component of Habitat programmes worldwide. Families involved in the project would also gain basic housing improvements skills including cyclone-strapping training, followed by maintenance projects or new homes for those families. With cyclone season beginning, the project was timely, she said.
ADRA Samoa director Su'a Julia Wallwork said, "initially, 40 families currently living in housing need would have an improved housing outcome" over the next few months. This number will scale up to 260 over the next three years.
"In our daily work we see families in need of support to make better financial decisions. The financial literacy training we will provide as part of the programme will give these families a head start in planning for their future, as they gain more understanding and appreciation of saving and budgeting procedures, and utilisation of banking facilities," Mrs Wallwork said.
Ms Szabó said it was "incredibly important that we help to meet families at their greatest point of need, whether that's basic repairs or new home building - and we're looking forward to delivering this with our partners in Samoa."
SHC chief executive officer Mata'utia Rula Levi said the need was significant for low income families in Samoa, often with poor access to water and sanitation or living in unsafe buildings.
"SHC is investing in helping to 'build up' low income families, and ensure they have access to financial services they might not be eligible for through commercial banks," she said.
"This project offers a pathway for them to achieve, beginning with financial literacy training that will assist families to make better financial plans for the future, including repayment of loans."
And Ms Szabó said the project was an "innovative approach to building resilience in local communities." Families take out loans with SHC for the building materials and receive many additional benefits as part of the programme including financial literacy training. SHC has made a reduced interest rate available for participants.
For further information, contact:
Habitat for Humanity, www.habitat.org.nz, Chief Executive Officer Claire Szabo, (NZ) 021 161 2969
ADRA Director, Samoa, Su'a Julia Wallwork, https://adra.org/country/samoa/, +685 27439
Samoa Housing Corporation, www.samoahousing.ws, Chief Executive Mata'utia Rula Levi, +685 24615