The National Housing Authority (NHA) with support from its international partners, Habitat for Humanity International (HfHI) and Cities Alliance (CA) last Wednesday, November 1, presented cash awards of L$100,000 to the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) and L$50,000 to the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC).
The two schools emerged as winner and runner-up (respectively) of the Innovative Housing Design Competition held on September 27, at the official launch of the Slum Upgrading Unit of the NHA. In addition to the cash prizes, BWI also received L$40,000 while MVTC received L$30,000 to cover preparation cost for their participation.
During the presentation, Mr. Es-Samir Bropleh, Coordinator of the newly established Slum Upgrading Unit of the National Housing Authority, thanked the students for bringing pride to their respective institutions and encouraged them to always take their lessons seriously.
Mr. Bropleh used the occasion to inform the public that the Slum Up-grading Unit of the NHA was established as a specialized unit to work with slum dwellers and other partners in addressing the housing needs of slum dwellers, especially around Monrovia.
According to him, the Innovative Housing Design Competition was organized to demonstrate to the Government of Liberia, public sector, financial institutions as well as the slum dwellers about the business opportunities that exist in investing in affordable housing for slum dwellers.
Mr. Bropleh said 70% of Monrovia’s population lives in slums under devastating housing conditions and it was now time for practical actions to be taken to address the problem. He, therefore, thanked Habitat for Humanity International and Cities Alliance for the level of support aimed at improving the housing needs of slum dwellers.
Habitat for Humanity International’s Chief of Party, Mr. Mathew Ndote Peter, emphasized that his organization is part of the Liberia Country Program which is a five year Monrovia City renewal initiative aimed at addressing the overwhelming slum conditions of the city of Monrovia.
According to him, the program is being funded by Comic Relief through Cities Alliance and is currently implementing eight projects through several local and international partners.
Habitat for Humanity International’s role under the program is to facilitate the implementation of practical solutions to shelter challenges identified during recent assessments which led to the development of a comprehensive slum upgrading and affordable housing framework.
Habitat for Humanity International is, therefore, working along with the National Housing Authority through its Slum Upgrading Unit as well as financial service providers, private sector firms, development partners and communities for the implementation of its projects under the Monrovia City Program.
Mr. Ndote expressed his organization’s appreciation for the good partnership and leadership demonstrated by NHA in prioritizing low-income households through the establishment of a Slum Upgrading Unit.
He also cited the Innovative Housing Design Competition as the first step in bringing together housing value chain actors and commended NHA, the administrations and students of the two Vocational Training Institutions for their participation.
In response, Mr. Harry Tarnue, Principal of BWI and Mr. Wilfred S.K. Payne, Director of MVTC, thanked both the NHA and Habitat for Humanity International for creating the platform for their students to showcase their skills. The two administrators further expressed their gratitude for the cash prizes and pleaded with NHA and Habitat for Humanity International for partnership and collaboration.