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Zimbabwe and Canadian Housing Co-operators Connect in Ottawa

In early June, Tapiwa Tawonameso and Pamela Shamuyarira from the Zimbabwe National Association of Housing Co-operatives (ZINAHCO) attended the 2014 Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) AGM. They also visited Sound Advice Consulting Co-operative and housing co-ops in the Ottawa area. The visit highlighted special needs housing, governance and networking. Tapiwa, who is Vice Secretary of ZINACHO, said the AGM was an “eye-opener”:


I learned a lot at the education workshops and I have many recommendations to make to ZINAHCO to help us transform our organization. One relates to the statutory instruments used by co-ops in Zimbabwe to map out succession planning. I was also impressed by accessible housing for people with disabilities at Carpenter’s Housing Co-op in Ottawa.


And Pamela, ZINACHO’s Finance and Administration Manager, said:

I was highly impressed by the “You Hold the Key” campaign rally on Capital Hill. The joint voices of the co-ops advocating for the extension of operating agreements was so powerful. I found the forward thinking of the movement and the advocacy strategies effective and motivating.


The Canadians also found the exchange very valuable. Carol Evoy, a member of Coady Housing Co-op in Ottawa, said:


I was delighted to host our guests from Zimbabwe. Touring our co-op with the visitors and seeing it afresh through their eyes reminded me of how beautiful Coady is and how lucky I am to live here. It was very interesting to learn of the key role Zimbabwean co-ops play in providing good affordable housing. 


Another Coady member, Martha Heyerdahl said:


I am humbled by ZINAHCO’s persistence in the face of many challenges and the desire to learn how our co-ops are financed, built and maintained. This experience has changed my view of our co-op's contribution to Rooftops Canada.  I now have real faces and real stories behind that “line item” in our annual budget and I have a genuine desire to continue our co-op's support for the growth and improvement of the co-op housing movement in Zimbabwe. 


Rooftops Canada would like to thank all those who hosted the visitors. We are also grateful to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development for their partnership which helped make the visit possible.