Abesu Womens Housing Co-operative, Zambia

Abesu Truck Project

The Rugby Rotary Club with support from District 1060 fund a new truck for Abesu Housing Co-Operative, Zambia

The Co-operative have been transporting building materials etc in a pick up truck which has come to the end of its useful life. The purchase of a flat bed truck will now allow building materials to be purchased in greater quantities with unit cost savings and a reduction in the cost of building houses. It will also mean that transport costs will be reduced as all the materials can be transported in three, as opposed to five, days a week.' 

The focus of ABESU is on self build housing. The target is to self build 200 houses and as of July 2013 just over 107 have been built.

International Development related to housing is rare because it is regarded as a very expensive form of intervention complicated by issues around land ownership. The ABESU Board was always of the opinion that supporting a woman to self build her house, and in so doing to provide shelter, safety and security, was the ideal platform for her and her family to establish a small business to overcome poverty and to pursue their aspirations. The ABESU project set out to test this idea and develop it.

Initially, houses cost £2,200 each excluding the time and effort put into preparing the site put in by each woman. As time has progressed the cost of materials has increased and the cost of each house is £2,345. 10% of this sum is paid back by each woman over time to the Co-operative.

The Local Chief has been more than helpful in approving the building of houses on settled sites in perpetuity to the house occupant.

The self building of houses is now well practised and well organised, and attention is now turning to the future sustainability of the Co-operative to maintain the stock and generate funds to continue building houses after the 200th is funded by ABESU in the UK.

Although the focus of the ABESU Co-operative and ABESU UK must remain on house building numerous other associated community projects have been supported.