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News and Resources

Nguma Mbega Housing Co-op Building a New Community


News and Resources

In November 2011, soon after Nairobi city officials put up signs for evictions, the 25 members of Nguma Mbega Housing Co-op watched as their small homes in Mitumba Slum were torn down. With the sudden demolition of the settlement, these women and the nearly 5,300 other residents of Mitumba Slum were left homeless.

 

The Nguma Mbega members had been saving money with the National Cooperative Housing Union (NACHU), Rooftops Canada’s Kenyan partner. NACHU assists low-income groups to secure funds to buy land and build homes in safe and secure neighbourhoods. The co-op members had recently purchased a three-acre plot of land on the outskirts of Nairobi using their own funds. But at the time the demolitions took place, they had not saved enough to build homes on their land.

 

NACHU worked quickly to develop plans and build temporary shelters on the new plot of land for Nguma Mbega group members and their families. Within weeks of the harsh eviction, NACHU sent buses to the remains of Mitumba Slum to pick up the families and take them to their new homes. Elation settled over the small community as they arrived at the plot of land, now legally theirs, where they would no longer be at risk of sudden and forced evictions. The temporary shelters allowed the group members to live in safety as they continued to work to repay their land and building loans.

 

Today, two years later, the community is thriving on the land where they both live and farm. With NACHU loans and support the twenty temporary homes have been replaced by permanent cement structures, each with a toilet. In addition, they have built access roads, a drainage system, septic tanks, water pipes and a borehole. The group is repaying their loans over time and can now proudly live, and thrive free from the fear of eviction.