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News and Resources

Kenyan and Zimbabwean Housing Cooperators Celebrate International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) with Canadian Counterparts

News and Resources

By Rooftops Canada

Exchange visits are key tools for mutual learning. I am taking home with me excellent ideas on planning through committees, youth scholarship/engagement and volunteering, community building, documentation and knowledge-sharing.
- Shem Wachira, NACHU, Kenya
Four representatives of Rooftops Canada’s overseas partners – from the National Cooperative Housing Union (NACHU) of Kenya and the Zimbabwe National Association of Housing Cooperatives (ZINAHCO) recently visited housing co-op and federations in Quebec and Ontario. They participated in the Annual General Meetings of the Confédération québécoise des coopératives d’habitation (CQCH) and the Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada – and joined in celebrations of the International Year of Cooperatives 2012. The NACHU team also visited the non-profit housing groups in Ottawa.
NACHU, Rooftops Canada’s first overseas partner, is a major player in providing affordable co-op housing and microfinance in Kenya. NACHU’s dedication to improving the quality of life of low-income families won them the UN-Habitat Dubai International Award in 2011.
ZINACHO is a member-controlled umbrella organization that represents 103 housing cooperatives with over 6,400 active members. Rooftops Canada has supported Zimbabwe’s housing movement since the late1980s.
The exchange allowed the Africans and the Canadians to interact and consider ways to strengthen their work. Augustine Kubara of ZINAHCO said: Understanding the Canadian cooperative model broadened my mind…. The exchanges have given ZINAHCO an in-depth knowledge of how the co-op movement in Canada is managing its affairs.
For Auma Naaman of NACHU: The interactive education workshops at the AGM were very inspiring… it was great to finally meet with FECHIMM [Fédération des coopératives d'habitation intermunicipale du Montréal métropolitain]. They generously supported NACHU’s housing microfinance initiative in its early stages through housing loans via Rooftops Canada.
Isau Nyengera of ZINAHCO remarked on the housing co-op movement’s commitment to diversity: I was impressed by the level of participation and attendance by people of different backgrounds.
For Cynthia Mitchell of LMS: I learned about how co-op's are providing access to safe, affordable housing in Kenya and how this has greatly impacted people's lives; similar to what housing co-op's provide here. LMS provides housing co-op management services in the Ottawa area.

Rooftops Canada thanks all those who worked to make the 2012 Canada study visit such a success and the Canadian International Development Agency for its support for our work in Africa.