An assessment of habitat for humanity’s concept of housing delivery in the rural areas of Ghana: a case study of Gomoa and Assin Districts

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Housing delivery in Developing countries in general and Ghana in particular has not kept pace with the rate of population growth. The result is inadequate and poor quality housing. Whereas the urban areas are characterized by inadequate housing resulting in people seeking shelter in the streets with the accompanying social vices, the rural areas suffer from poor housing resulting in collapse of houses prematurely. The rural housing sub-sector has very little support from the government. There has been no articulated policy in the past to organize and coordinate the efforts of governmental and non-governmental organizations engaged in housing delivery and maintenance in the rural areas. Apart from lack of institutional source of finance, rural housing faces poor building materials and technology coupled with absence of land use planning. The rural areas are therefore characterized by dilapidated buildings which have become death traps. A non-governmental organization, Habitat for Humanity International, Ghana, is making a serious effort at improving rural housing in Ghana. It has built about 3000 housing units in over 70 rural communities. The success or failure of the housing mechanism is, however, not known. The objective of the study, therefore, was to ‘evaluate the rural housing delivery strategy of Habitat for Humanity International, Ghana and its impact on rural people. Four rural communities in Gomoa and Assin Districts of the Central Region were therefore selected for the study. The mathematical method was used to determine a sample size of 84 out of 511 beneficiaries based on a confidence level of 90 per cent. These were selected using the systematic sampling technique. Data was collected from documentary sources, both published and unpublished, formal and informal interviews as well as observations from the field which were analysed. The study revealed that, although the housing project has benefited the people, the repayment procedure did not favour most of the beneficiaries, especially those who were not salaried workers resulting in high default rate of about 40 percent. It was / also found that house dimensions were too small whilst the building materials were of poor quality. The condition of the buildings was therefore not good. A lot of deep cracks were found on them whilst the roofs could not withstand heavy rains. The study further revealed that the project beneficiary selection process failed to include more people of the low income group and instead benefited people in the middle income group. The beneficiaries were not also involved in the housing design process resulting in the failure of the houses in meeting the taste of beneficiaries. A number of recommendations were therefore made to improve the housing scheme. Among them are the following; - HFH should improve the quality of building materials - HFH should re-examine the repayment procedure - HFH should collaborate with other rural development organizations to provide holistic approach to rural self-help housing so as to implement complementary income upgrading programmes - There should be an institutional framework for the delivery of quality rural housing which should of necessity be integrated into the decentralised administrative system at the district level. - It was so recommended that the Government takes steps to ensure a stable macro economic environment in which inflation and interest rate are not only stable but also low to promote low cost housing schemes such as Habitat for Humanity Housing Project. It is hoped that the implementation of these interventions will improve the delivery of housing to the rural dwellers in the country.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning, 2004