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News and Resources

Alfa Youth Housing Cooperative Builds Momentum


News and Resources

By Danika King, Rooftops Canada Intern

 

Alfa Youth Housing Cooperative, based in Nakuru, Rift Valley, Kenya, is a member of the National Cooperative Housing Union (NACHU), Rooftops Canada’s long-time partner. Alfa Youth started in November 2010 as a joint savings group to access NACHU housing loans.

 

Most of the members of Alfa were living in insecure homes and settlements, many of them affected by the violence that broke out after the December 2007 national election. Alfa Youth was based on the need to live in their own houses where they could ensure proper security and safety for their families.

 

The group has 21 members (three women and 18 men), most of them self-employed and running small businesses like selling food and spices. Their household income ranges from 20,000 to 90,000 Kenyan shillings a month (CAD$234 to CAD$1053) and most rent their homes.

 

In 2011, the members of Alfa Youth and Mwanda Housing Cooperative jointly managed to save enough for a deposit on a piece of land in Lanet, outside of Nakuru. NACHU purchased the land for 15 million Kenyan shillings (CAD$175,000) and the two co-ops will repay the loan to NACHU. The five-acre piece of land will be subdivided into lots for members of the two cooperatives.

 

In January 2012, two members of Alfa Youth, Eunice Kamau and John Maine, took part in a Rooftops Canada/Mazingira Institute international exchange on Urban Agriculture with participants from South Africa, Canada and Kenya. The two shared their learning experience with the rest of the cooperative and motivated Alfa Youth to set up a project raising rabbits to earn extra income. Some group members are also growing vegetables and are eager to begin farming projects on their new land.

 

Alfa Youth member Eunice Kamau said, "I’m seeing a bright future since NACHU is empowering me in my business. And NACHU will enable me to have my own home soon."