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News and Resources

Bridging Worlds: The 2014 Rooftops Canada Study Visit

News and Resources

What can you learn about affordable housing by visiting Africa? Apparently, quite a lot!


The 2014 Rooftops Canada study visitors were very impressed by the ground-breaking spirit of everyone they met. In Nairobi, they saw the success stories of the National Cooperative Housing Union (NACHU) when they toured three cooperatives, all of which have dug wells and constructed systems to provide clean water to each household.


They also toured several urban farming sites of the Mazingira Institute and were introduced to Francis, “the Rabbit King,” a successful farmer who now provides training to others. “His entrepreneurial approach was very impressive!  I felt that there was a lot we could learn from the methods and approaches that are used in a difficult financial environment,” said Hugh Lawson, ONPHA.


Janet Kreda, Rooftops Canada’s representative, was inspired and humbled by meeting Stephen, a chicken farmer in the Kibera slum. “He brought us into his home and talked about how his family has benefited from the work of NACHU and the Mazingira Institute.”


In Johannesburg, the visitors met with the National Association of Social Housing Organisations (NASHO) and the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (JOSHCO), and visited (toured) the inner-city Madulammoho housing development and the eKhaya neighbourhood. “It's incredible work and I haven’t yet found the words to adequately convey what is happening,” commented Keith Mayor, CHF Canada.


Finally, in Cape Town, the visitors were hosted by Communicare, a major social housing organization, the Kuyasa Fund, one of the largest microfinance providers, and Soil for Life, an urban gardening organization. Shelagh Turner, BCNPHA, and Roland Noel, NBNPHA, echoed the conclusion given by Heather Tillock, CHRA: “I was so inspired by the resilience and pride of the people I met. They do so much for themselves without the social services we take for granted.”


For these experienced professionals, apparently, Africa was a good teacher.


If you would like to get involved please contact us at info@rooftops.ca