Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh has a range of different approaches to providing housing solutions to low-income families. Habitat understands that each family differs in size, circumstance and need. Habitat’s approach is flexible enough to offer different and adaptable solutions to all. Home partners invest their own labor known as “sweat equity” to construct their homes. In all current projects, Habitat works through partners and also directly with the families to fully-fund homes and provides technical support for housing.
The housing need in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with more than 1,000 people for every square kilometer. More than one-third of the population of 166 million live below the poverty line, according to World Bank’s 2010 data. More than two million people in the capital city of Dhaka either live in slums, or without proper shelter. The high urban migration rate is due to unemployment in rural areas, and due to other issues such as climate change effects in coastal areas. While most people migrate for economic reasons, many others leave for the cities due to natural disasters such as recurrent flooding, and river erosion.
How Habitat addresses the need in Bangladesh
Habitat Bangladesh works with partners and volunteers to provide decent homes as a means to alleviate poverty. Improving communities’ access to clean water and safe sanitation along with raising hygiene standards leads to greater economic productivity, and increased attendance for children in school.
Habitat Bangladesh has a range of approaches to provide housing solutions to low-income families. Habitat understands that each family differs in size, circumstance and need. Therefore our approach is flexible in order to offer adaptable solutions for communities. Home partners invest with their own labor, known as “sweat equity”, to help construct their homes. Habitat works through partners, as well as directly with families to provide fully-funded homes and technical support for housing.
New house construction
Habitat Bangladesh offers a low-cost ‘core house’ design. Families start by building a house with a single room, a veranda and a latrine. Once this is built, the design allows the owners to add a second room and veranda.
Renovation and repair
Habitat renovations and repairs include upgrades to sub‐standard houses so that families can have improved and adequate living space. We offer technical support for a range of major and minor renovations. By offering the option of renovating a home, Habitat is able to support families who already have a house which needs improvement.
A major renovation is recommended if a house is inadequate, insecure or vulnerable and requires a major work to bring it to a decent, stable condition. Work can include strengthening foundations and concrete floors, building new walls or rendering existing walls, fixing/replacing roofs, raising plinths and building verandas.
When the structure of a house is stable, the need may be for minor renovations. Work may involve sealing a floor, rendering a wall, repairing a roof, extending a veranda, adding doors and windows, plastering and painting, building a sanitary latrine, installing a rainwater-harvesting system or building a tube well for safe water.
Appropriate construction technology training
Few people living in rural areas have the expert knowledge or adequate skills required to build safe, secure houses. Habitat Bangladesh has developed a set of comprehensive guidelines and training modules on various ways to build skillfully using a variety of materials and equipment. This includes how to create water and sanitation facilities such as rainwater harvesting systems; project management tips; managing labor and time; and controlling waste and quality. Habitat trains existing construction workers, local residents, and community leaders who want to develop the ability to build and repair their own homes in an effective and sustainable manner.