Pathway to lasting change for Samoan families

Project start 2015

Habitat Build is a development project that aims to build financial literacy skills with low-income Samoan families, while working alongside them to build better, safer homes for their future.  
Habitat CEO Claire Szabo recently returned from a trip to Samoa, where she worked with local partners to progress the Habitat Build: Samoa project.  The project currently has conditional approval for funding through the Partnerships for International Development Scheme (PfID) administered by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). “We now have to work hard with our local partners to design a strong project that builds local capacity and alleviates poverty in one of our close neighbouring countries” states Szabo.
25% poverty rate in Samoa needs to be halved by 2015
Recent reports by the United Nations have sited a 25% poverty rate in Samoa, this figure needs to be halved by 2015 for the country to stay on track to meet with Millennium Development Goals.  The Habitat Build project works to alleviate poverty by supporting Samoan families to plan for their financial future and set realistic and achievable goals.  “Over three years Habitat Build will see 300-400 local Samoan families progress through the programme and work towards building a better future for themselves” says Szabo.

The PfID scheme works on a matched funding basis.  For the Habitat Build project this means Habitat for Humanity New Zealand needs to raise $300,000 in matched funding.  “This is a great development result” states Szabo “every dollar that we raise through our affiliates and supporters turns into $5 of support to families in need in Samoa”.

Habitat Build is scheduled to start in early 2015 pending final approval of funding from MFAT.  The programme will pathway 300-400 families through orientation sessions, financial literacy training and support, community building and cyclone strapping activities with a final housing outcome for around 250 families.  “We see some families opting out as they pathway through our training programme” states Szabo “the families that continue to the end will have made a total commitment to the programme and to creating better future for themselves and their children”.
Habitat NZ builds alongside Samoan communities

House in Samoa with fale
Faleo for a Samoan house

Samoa - Cyclone Evan

Habitat project in 2013

In 2012, Cyclone Evan devastated much of Samoa and destroyed 2,000 homes. During 2013, 108 “lean to” shelters which included deep foundations, a corrugated iron roof, gutters and tanks to collect rainwater, bracing and cyclone strapping were built in Samoa. These shelters are cyclone proofed against future cyclones.

The faleo’o were built by two of our most experienced volunteers working with local Samoan apprentices, which meant we built not only the shelters to keep families safe, but also ensured that the local people have the necessary skills to maintain them.
For this recent disaster response effort, our two volunteers provided valuable logistical support; construction advice and mentoring for local trades-people by passing on relevant skills and information for use in future developments.

PHOTO: Habitat built 108 faleso's for Samoa late 2013. A faleo has cyclone strapping and elevated flooring to protect it from storms and floods. 

46 New homes in Fiji after Cyclone Tomas

Project in 2011

HFH New Zealand supports the work of HFH Fiji. It has provided members for the local board of directors, as well as volunteers and funding. More than 30 Kiwi volunteers helped HFH Fiji to build 46 new homes for families affected by 2010’s Cyclone Tomas.
In June 2014, HFHNZ gained accreditation to the New Zealand Disaster Response Programme. This will enable Habitat to respond to areas of need as they arise.
Habitat home in Fiji after cyclone Tomas


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Habitat for Humanity New Zealand is a not-for-profit organisation that works in partnership with people of goodwill and families in housing need, to eliminate sub-standard housing.



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