Working through the operational single “ Central” co-ordinatory secretariat, the initiative, will .. through its tried and tested, seasoned, volunteer country managers (Men and Women who are already successful in their own careers but simply have a desire to “give something back” to the societies that nurtured them )
The Initiative for Housing and Development in Africa. [IFHDA, Inc]
In Africa, The system of land
ownership determines access to
land and land security. The
Initiative for Housing &
Development in Africa (IFHDA) has
facilitated an examination of the
key issues encompassing housing
delivery and ownership in the region which are laid out as Sustainability, Poverty, Manufacturing Systems Engineering for housing and the existing approach to Housing in the West African sub region.
From this examination it can be deduced that the most apparently workable sustainable housing model for the region is The Agro Allied Farm Community. IFHDA sees the ‘next step’ as being the utilisation of building prefabrication systems or manufacturing systems engineering to “deliver” sustainable agro based communities made with these housing systems - as a new tool for poverty alleviation, in the sub region. It identifies four fundamental components (pillars) to sustainable development: environmental protection, economic growth and social equity.
Following from the above, the Initiative adopts as a case in point for sustainable housing endeavour, the prototypical farm community that integrates business-Social Ventures. A live action research laboratory into Sustainable Housing & Development will thus be set up during this project that will facilitate a re-definition of the rural sustainability problem.
The IFHDA will harness innovation to bring about a change in the way Africans view their housing paradigm.
In achieving this aim, the following key questions will be answered by the stakeholders themselves.
1. What in this sub region would be considered sustainable housing?
2. Do the IFHDA prototypes (the CAVE du’s) fulfil the requirements?
3. If so, to what do the CAVE system dwelling units [du’s] offer over other forms of sustainable housing?
4. How do the above advantages assure better “deliverability” for sustainable settlement in the format presented, to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders?
5. In the light of the foregoing what is the optimum design and financing configuration for systems [including the CAVE system] of low to medium cost housing in the sub-region?
In the developed world if you need a house you go to a building company. They do the rest. In Africa you first find land, then an architect, then a builder. You end up paying over $300/metre squared of residential space that you require as housing. This has to change. IFHDA will spearhead an initiative to provide prototypical houses and farms to go with them at half the current cost of housing in Africa.
Together we will ensure that funding agencies, development banks, building developers, building, professionals and construction contractors, work in partnership with the IFHDA to produce sufficient accommodation that though technologically appropriate can ensure its occupants access to a basic decent living standard and quality of life and is of a type and quality that can be produced in sufficient numbers all over Africa to meet the identified housing need..
The IFHDA will adopt a ‘systems’ approach involving a “mobile low to medium cost housing factory” as a way forwards towards enabling better (more efficient, better suited for purpose, cheaper and quicker) “deliverability” of acceptable sustainable housing in the African sub region.
If you build a single house for a man and his family, in most parts of West Africa, It does not necessarily help him. You are in fact doing him a questionable favour. In most parts of this region if you leave the man and his family on his own you have made him a ‘target’ for itinerant armed marauders who will, relieve the subject of his meagre valuables and probably ravish his wife. He will be lucky to escape with his life. [Depending on the mood of his assailants]
For a house to make sense in the tropical third world, [the chosen regional context] it has to be a subset of a group. It has to exist within a community of dwellings for various reasons, ranging from security [as touched upon above] to access to education, medical facilities community facilities and the attainment of a basic reasonable civilised living standard. This is a portion of life that is taken for granted in the developed world. However vast swathes of West Africa are tightly held in the grip of near hunger, poverty and a lack of hope. Government efforts towards the eradication of disease and poverty have not begun to scratch the surface of the problems. They can therefore, in all reality, be ignored. Since sustainability is unlikely to be achieved from the top down, this initiative will enable a timely ''new'' approach of ‘from the bottom, upwards.’