LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Stanbic Bank Zambia has donated a house to a family of five in Chilanga’s Mapepe compound during a colourful ceremony officiated by Local Government Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga.
Maria and Robert Sichoombolwa ad their five children are the beneficiaries of the house, construction of which was launched at an event on Friday (May 17).
Decent shelter is widely considered not only a basic human right, but a cornerstone for an individual’s sense of security and dignity.
Urbanisation has led to the mushrooming of unplanned settlements around the country resulting in compromised housing structures with poor to no sanitation and water facilities, said Habitat for Humanity Zambia Board Chairperson Mr Brighton Phiri at the handover ceremony.
He said: “Habitat aims to work with key partners like Stanbic Bank Zambia to fast-track construction of decent housing for the less privileged in society to help reduce the housing deficit that perpetuates poverty.”
Data from the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development shows that Zambia has a housing deficit exceeding 1.3 million units which is expected to double by 2030.
However, Mr Phiri noted that the precarious situation the country’s housing sector finds itself in was not hopeless, as Habitat for Humanity and its partners would continue to work to reduce it.
‘’We will continue in the fight against poor housing and we urge all stakeholders to Join us in this fight. Help us turn this country into one that does not ignore the poor.’’
Speaking at the same event, Stanbic Bank Zambia Chief Executive Leina Gabaraane said the problem of housing affected everyone in Zambia as it directly affected the economy. He noted that since the lack of decent housing was everyone’s problem, it needed deliberate action from every citizen to combat it.
‘’As we go about our daily business, we need to every so often take a moment and ask ourselves ‘what am I doing to try and uplift the community around me?’’’ he said.
‘’At Stanbic Bank we take this question very seriously and we always make sure we don’t just ask it but take steps to answer it consistently.
“As a corporate citizen of this nation, we have a responsibility to ensure that the communities in which we operate continue to get uplifted and that we light the flame of hope for people around us. We do this by not merely existing as a corporate citizen but being a member of the community through noble initiatives like Stanbic Build that we carry out in the communities to help better the lives of our fellow citizens.”
Stanbic supports community development initiatives in low income areas throughout Zambia. It builds mothers’ shelters at rural health posts across the country to give expectant mothers a dignified place to deliver their babies; it supports education by building classroom blocks and introducing feeding programmes, and renovating health centres.’’
The bank chief added: ‘’We pride ourselves on being a bank with a conscious, a bank that makes a tangible difference in the community and gives people the opportunity to be the best they can be.
Mr Gabaraane also thanked government for demonstrating strong political will to eradicate Zambia’s alarming housing deficit through progressive frameworks like the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP).
Meanwhile Republican Vice President Ms Inonge Wina said eliminating the country’s ballooning housing deficit was tied closely to government’s development agenda.
Ms Wina, in a speech read for her by Mr Malupenga, said government was committed to promoting decent housing for all and called on all stakeholders to supplement government’s efforts in achieving this.
She noted that “We are proud to provide a conducive environment where such private sector initiatives as the one between Stanbic and Habitat for Humanity that work with local communities can thrive. I would like to reiterate our commitment to work with the private sector in alleviating all forms of poverty.”
In 2016 Stanbic signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Habitat for Humanity Zambia (HFHZ) to build low-cost houses for vulnerable families over five years starting October the same year to September 2021.
In addition, the families will be assisted in acquiring title deeds, securing land tenure and empowerment through training in HIV/AIDS prevention, care for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC), inheritance rights (succession planning) and home maintenance.