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News and Resources

Zimbabwe Housing Co-operators in Canada

News and Resources

Mr. Thembinkosi Sibanda and Ms. Tariro Nhongo from the Zimbabwe National Association of Housing Cooperatives (ZINAHCO), visited housing cooperators in Calgary and Edmonton in June.  They also attended the 2013 CHF Canada AGM, where they shared experiences in a Rooftops Canada workshop.   


In Calgary, Anita Jonsson, Rooftops Canada volunteer and Coordinator of Deerfoot Estate Housing Co-op, gave the visitors a tour of housing cooperatives. Many of the co-ops are accessible, allowing integration of persons with disabilities. Nhongo said, “We were impressed by the community inclusion and how everyone, regardless of their physical condition, participated in the affairs of their co-op.” Sibanda agreed, adding, “We will recommend that ZINAHCO consider the integrated approach.”


Environmental issues, recreational programs, and youth leadership dominated the agenda in Edmonton. ZINAHCO has an environmental program in place but the information gained in Canada will enhance their program. Nhongo also said that “We will encourage our members to consider incorporating all age groups into the housing co-operative structures and to develop intergenerational activities for youth and children.”


It was a great pleasure to host friends from Zimbabwe and learn about the great work they do with far less resources. I first learned of ZINAHCO in 2011 through the Rooftops Canada – Zimbabwe: Building Homes, Building Lives campaign.  I was convinced that we should all be a part of this effort and we helped by raising money for this cause, said Anita Jonsson.


Our Zimbabwe partners are working in a complex and uncertain environment.  The Zimbabwe election in July was declared free and fair by some observers. Rooftops Canada will continue to work closely with housing co-ops in Zimbabwe and support their efforts to develop sustainable housing in low-income communities.