28 June 2019

COINS Foundation

Read Time 2 mins

Challenge of Hope

This weekend two teams of volunteers from COINS will take part in Habitat for Humanity’s Hope Challenge where they will be tasked with constructing a shelter out of their own materials that’s safe and comfortable enough for all team members to sleep in for two nights. This year COINS have offered a unique prize for the winning team who will be invited to participate in a build abroad so that they can see the impact of Habitat’s work in person.

We find out more about Habitat for Humanity’s work…

“If a visitor comes, he’ll see that because of Habitat’s support, I’m a big man, a dignified man.”

Habitat for Humanity believes that everyone has a right to a decent home and that the lack of housing negatively impacts the health and well-being, educational prospects and ability to make a living, therefore locking them into a cycle of poverty. These individuals and families are not waiting for someone to come along and rescue them, they are looking for partnerships and opportunities that will enable them to work in order to build a better future for themselves and their families. Habitat’s ethos “it’s a hand up, not a hand-out” strongly resonates through the work that they do and the actions that they take in their bid to break this cycle.

It is estimated that under 20% of Ugandans have a bank account and with the limited capacity for profiles and resources available, Ugandans looking to develop their housing are reliant on other Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCOs) or smaller and unregulated Microfinance Institutions (MFIs). The lack of available finance is a huge problem in the potential for housing development so in 2011 COINS Foundation teamed up with Habitat for Humanity Great Britain and developed a pilot project to prove that SACCOs and MFIs can be a reliable source of micro housing finance. The loans enabled recipients to borrow a small, manageable amount that would allow them to build their home incrementally without having to opt for a debt that they would be unable to repay. The terms of the loans stipulated that the finances could only be used for materials related to the construction of their house and once the initial loan was repaid there were opportunities for further loans to be taken out. Five families were carefully selected for the pilot programme and we were fortunate enough to follow the families and revisit them to witness the changes to their living situations pre and post loans.

Another influential development for the housebuilders was the installation of solar panels, which allowed the introduction of electricity to the houses and their lifestyles.

With the Habitat loans I’ve been able to buy solar panels. Now I have electricity I don’t have to use kerosene any more. I’m able to watch the news, everything that is happening outside of Uganda, I even have internet.

John & Mary

Access to light is a luxury that many of us take for granted yet many families have to cope without, but the installation of solar panels changed this, making homes feel safer and improving living conditions. The availability of electricity was also something that could be used to generate further income.

Furthermore, the partnership with COINS has enabled Habitat to work closely with existing SACCOs and MFIs to ensure that they are operating efficiently and develop their operations, which will ultimately benefit more low-income families on a larger scale.

As an international charity fighting world poverty and homelessness, Habitat are reliant on government grants, partnership and fundraising efforts to enable them to continue developing their projects. Their vision is for everyone to have a safe place to call home and their Habitat Hope Challenge has been created with this at the centre to remind participants what it’s all about. An excellent opportunity for some team building with your colleagues, groups of 4-6 are required to construct their own accommodation for the weekend, before taking on other physical and mental tasks where you can challenge yourself as much or as little as possible.

To find out more visit https://www.habitatforhumanity.org.uk/partners/hope-builders/hope-challenge/

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