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Gates Foundation Wraps up Harare Low Cost Housing Project

An official of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (left) and Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni talking to a local resident. (Photo: Irwin Chifera)

American charity organization, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has completed its five-year low cost housing program for Harare’s poor. The organization today commissioned 480 housing units in Zimbabwe’s capital city built at a cost of $5 million. Our correspondent Irwin Chifera reports from Harare …

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation deputy director for special initiatives, Melanie Walker, says while the grant for the project will be ending this year, it’s pleasing that the city has undertaken to replicate the program in other local suburbs.

Harare Mayor, Benard Manyenyeni, says following the success of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation project in Dzivaresekwa Extension, council will adopt the model to upgrade more than 60 slums in the city.

Part of the $5 million funding was used by the city council to service the area while part of the money was given to beneficiaries to construct houses on stands averaging 200 square meters.

The beneficiaries, some of whom were displaced by the government in the 1990s when the government cleaned up the city ahead of a visit by the British queen and Operation Murambatsvina or Operation Clean Filth in 2005, are excited that at last they now own houses of their own.

One such beneficiary is Joice Njanji, who now proudly owns a two-roomed house.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation housing project was implemented with other partners such as the Homeless People’s Federation.

Manyenyeni says the local authority is planning to upgrade the Gunhill slum and relocating 121 families to Mabvuku where they are servicing stands for low cost houses.

Harare is targeting to construct 105 new houses by 2018.

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