The Roles of Community – Based Organizations and Non – Governmental Organizations in Housing the Urban Poor

Babawale, G. K. (2007-02)


Providing better and affordable housing for the poor has been a global challenge for some time now and is likely to remain so for a long time to come giving the rampant urban poverty and deteriorating housing condition of increasing number of urban dwellers. The Global Strategy for Shelter estimated in 1995 that half of the population of developing countries (about 1.5 billion then) live under inadequate shelter condition and are concentrated mainly in urban areas. Factor contributing to the degenerating housing conditions of the urban poor include high cost of land and building materials, inefficient land market, ignorance on the part of the poor and poor access to finance from the formal finance systems. To mitigate the effects of weak public agencies, the negative effects of government macro-economic policies on the poor and vulnerable groups, and the failure of the formal financial systems to provide finance to the poor, informal financial systems are mushrooming in several countries to satisfy the financial needs of the poor to enable them have access to land and services and to build their own houses gradually over time. This paper reviews current condition of housing for the urban poor, identifies the constraints and opportunities; and drawing on international lessons and experience, proposes how the development, initiatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs) can be mobilised to cater for the housing needs of the Nigerian urban poor. It is expected that the paper will provide a basis for further investigation into an efficient and strong informal mechanisms for financing housing for the poor in Nigerian cities.