As part of the slum upgrade program of the Liberian government, delegates from the Liberia National Housing Authority (NHA) comprising of the managing director, Duannah Siryon and the technical assistant, Kollie Bombo, recently paid a 2-day working visit to the Fuller office in Nigeria.
The reason for the visit was to discuss a collaborative partnership between the Liberian government and the Millard Fuller Foundation. Attending the meeting were the management team of MFF Housing, and the Shelter Afrique Resident Regional Representative & Regional Business Manager – Anglophone West Africa, Zachary Kenyatta Munene.
Sam Odia, the CEO of Millard Fuller Foundation made a presentation of the MFF housing model, its aims, objectives, vision, and projects. During his presentation, Odia said: “If the houses you are building are not affordable to 50 percent of the population in that area, then you are not building affordable houses.
“In Nigeria, we have a deficit of 17 million houses; this is a challenge in itself as 40 percent of the population earns less than US$40 per month. At the Millard Fuller Foundation, we are not just builders and developers; we are advocates of affordable housing. Our projects, over the years, have also provided a source of livelihood to many as we have created thousands of jobs since our inception. All our materials are locally sourced; we do not import anything and we are hopeful that jobs will be created for Liberians through our methods.”
In his presentation, Mr. Siryon said that though the Liberia NHA was created in 1962, it had built less than 2,000 houses. “President George Weah has been made to understand that housing is fast becoming a national security issue, which is why he introduced the Rural Affordable Housing Project with the aim of taking affordable housing to the rural areas. If people don’t have somewhere to stay, they become vulnerable to crime.
“Our strategic goal, therefore, is to make sure we build 30,000 affordable homes yearly, 60-70 percent of which will be located in the rural areas to encourage the movement of people to the rural communities, as Monrovia is already choked up with about 113 slum communities.”
He further said that though the unemployment rate in Liberia is 80 percent, while the youth population is 62 percent, the Millard Fuller Foundation will make a difference if it will put the climatic conditions into consideration by taking advantage of durable local materials and components that can build a decent house.”
After the meeting, the delegates went on a tour of the various Fuller Housing projects to get a first-hand assessment. Visibly impressed, Siryon commended the Millard Fuller Foundation for providing affordable homes to Nigerians and hoped that same will be replicated in Liberia.
The Liberia NHA was created in 1962 and is tasked with the mission of providing decent, adequate and affordable housing to low-income families, and to ensure the provision of community facilities, utilities and access to social services and economic opportunities.