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News and Resources

First Hand Views - Rooftops Canada 2010 Study Tour to East Africa

News and Resources
 By : Rooftops Canada
“After the visit to East Africa, a few key things are clear to me. Rooftops Canada’s partners are doing important housing work on the ground where it matters, and our strong and longstanding support for our partners has been a huge factor in their success. I am proud that the co-op housing movement in Canada has been part of this great work,” commented Scott Jackson, one of the participants on Rooftops Canada’s July 2010 study visit to Kenya and Tanzania.
Jackson represented CHF Canada on the study visit which also included Pamela Ralston of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, Mark Aston of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, and Sylvain Belisle of the Confédération québécoise des coopératives d'habitation. “Seeing things first hand has renewed my support and commitment.We got a balanced view of the issues by meeting with many people involved in housing including UNHABITAT, government officials and grassroots activists,” exclaimed Aston. The visitors were hosted by Rooftops Canada’s long-term partners WAT Human Settlements Trust (WAT) in Tanzania, and the National Cooperative Housing Union (NACHU) and Mazingira Institute in Kenya.
The team visited housing projects in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam that highlighted the innovative strategies being used to improve poor housing in urban slum areas. “We could see that housing micro-finance is helping communities acquire land and improve their living conditions,” said Belisle whose federation FECHIMM is supporting NACHU with a soft loan.
“WAT and NACHU impressed me with their absolute dedication. They are scaling up their organizations to help thousands of people use incremental loans to build a safer, healthier home in which to raise their family,” Ralston said. NACHU’s housing microfinance program is growing with the support of a combined Rooftops Canada and CHF Canada investment in a local bank. Rooftops Canada technical assistance is improving WAT’s capacity to provide housing support services linked to microfinance.
Aston added, “I am also proud that ONPHA supports Rooftops Canada. Our challenge is to get the social housing sector in Ontario even more involved. We can assist by finding ways to raise the necessary capital for NACHU and WAT to expand.”  
Rooftops Canada thanks the Canadian International Development Agency for its support for our work in East Africa, and we thank all those involved with the 2010 East Africa study visit.