Malawi Comes to Chicago: A Visit with Kelvin Kalonga


Well, here’s some good news we can’t stop talking about: thanks to the generosity of our supporters, Habitat Chicago tithed $100,000 to our sister affiliate, Habitat Malawi, last fiscal year. The National Director of Habitat Malawi, Kelvin Kalonga, visited Chicago last month to share how our tithe is helping to build a stronger, more resilient Malawi and to learn more about our mission here in Chicago. 


Four major challenges Malawians are facing 

  1. Poverty housing: Four out of five families in Malawi currently live in substandard housing. Malawi is one of the fastest urbanizing countries in the world with an annual rural to urban migration rate of 5.3%. This rapid increase has not been met with adequate housing, leaving 69% of the urban population living in slums. 

  2. Natural disasters: Malawians have been affected by devastating floods in the past several years. Those living in inadequate, unstable homes and in low-lying areas have been the most affected. In 2015, 230,000 people were displaced by flooding alone. 

  3. Malaria and HIV prevalence: Malaria caused over 20,000 deaths last year and over 1 million people currently live with AIDS in Malawi. 

  4. Vulnerability of orphans and similar group: Due to the prevalence of disease and natural disasters, there are 1.4 million orphaned or vulnerable children in Malawi, most of whom live in substandard housing. 


The impact of Habitat Malawi 

Habitat for Humanity Malawi is the leading nonprofit organization in Malawi addressing substandard housing and its related challenges and has implemented four innovative programs to improve quality of life for Malawians:

Housing Support Services Program 

The purpose: help Malawians acquire decent housing through loans from microfinance institutions and provide technical construction assistance to help families build their homes. 

Looking back: since 2013, 21,000 families have received loans and construction training through the Housing Support Services Program. 

Looking forward: Habitat Malawi plans to provide loans and training to 9,000 more families by June 2018.


Water and Sanitation Project (WASH)

The purpose: improve access to clean water and sanitation in urban slums by training people to build and install ecosan toilets for individual families, as well as communal water points for communities to access clean water.

Looking back: Since 2013, over 1,800 families acquired access to clean water and sanitation through WASH. 

Looking forward: Habitat Malawi plans to provide access to clean water and sanitation to another 3,600 individuals by June 2018.


Disaster Risk Reduction and Rehabilitation 

The purpose: Provide shelter solutions that will assist in recovery and promote resilience by enhancing the capacity of populations affected by natural disasters.

Looking back: since 2013, Habitat Malawi provided assistance to nearly 14,000 individuals affected by flooding and other natural disasters.

Looking forward: Habitat Malawi plans to help over 1,500 families with hands-on, in-home construction assistance and 14,000 families with awareness in Build Back Better/Build Back Safer construction techniques by June 2018. 


Orphans and Vulnerable Groups Program 

The purpose: provide new multi-room, fully subsidized homes to orphans and similarly vulnerable groups, as well as training in four key areas: property and inheritance rights, vocational skills, Malaria prevention, and HIV prevention. 

Looking back: since 2013, 439 homes have been built and 23 are currently in progress. 

Looking forward: Habitat Malawi plans to build another 161 homes for Orphaned and Vulnerable groups by June 2018.


Habitat Chicago was one of the top five tithe partners in the world last year, with our $100,000 funding the construction of 22 homes for orphans and other vulnerable groups. Kelvin shared a lot with us during his visit, but strongest was his gratitude to the many, many Chicagoans who helped make these 22 homes a reality. 

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