Blantyre Post-Disaster Rehabilitation Project: Ndirande

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Focus Areas: Other Infrastructure | Housing

A rehabilitation project, which began in 2015, targeting six informal settlements - Nancholi, Chiwembe, Mtopwa, Ndirande, Likotima and Nkolokosa - in Blantyre, which were affected by heavy rains and flooding during the previous rainy season.

Location: Ndirande, Blantyre, Malawi


A situational analysis outlining the affected communities as well as their development needs as well as existing development opportunities. This situational analysis will be conducted partly through enumerations. The Centre for Community Organisation and Development (CCODE) and the Federation have conducted enumerations in eight (8) of the fourteen (14) affected settlements. 

Three (3) houses have been constructed and another seven (7) maintained. The houses have alleviated people’s problems as they are providing shelter for seventy-eight (78) people who were affected by the heavy rains. 

Community capacity:

To improve issues of loan repayment, household members have been trained in various skills ranging from construction of toilets to the production of batiks. 

In order to make sure that the houses to be reconstructed are of a higher standard and can withstand adverse weather conditions, CCODE has been conducting  builders’ training. Local artisans from the affected communities are being equipped with better construction skills so that people can rebuild the houses, toilets, etcetera themselves. Eighty-five (85) builders from the settlements of Nancholi, Likotima and Chinupule went through the training. 


This city-wide project is being piloted in six settlements. 


Community leaders from fourteen (14) disaster affected settlements together with CCODE and the Federation, conducted planning meetings in order to figure out how best to roll out the project activities. A total of three (3) meetings were conducted and key agreements were made on the eligibility criteria for the beneficiaries. These ideas were incoporated in the vetting form to be used when assessing interested individuals' eligibility for housing loans. All the beneficiaries must be residents of the settlement and they must own the land on which the house will be reconstructed. With this in mind, the community leaders have a critical role to play in the vetting process and every other activity of the project as they are the custodians of the land.


SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$90,000.00

Market Generated Returns:

None to date.

Costs recovered from community:

None to date. 

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Project information updated: 08 December 2015

Project in depth

Detailed Information

This is a rehabilitation project targeting six (6) informal settlements in the city of Blantyre, that were affected by heavy rains and flooding in the last rainy season.


The project has three main goals and these are: to provide critical information about the affected communities development needs and opportunities through situational analysis exercises; improve the housing conditions of affected families through the provision of housing loans, and; to improve the quality of housing construction techniques through construction training targeting local artisans.

The findings of the enumerations show that most structures were destroyed due to poor workmanship. The builders’ training will help to solve this problem. Furthermore, the enumeration results show that lack or poor planning also contributed to most structures being destroyed. This was the case as the settlements do not have proper drainage systems and rainy water was just running anywhere. As a solution, the organisation will intensify mapping and re-planning of these settlements. These exercises will be conducted in partnership with the Blantyre City Council and the polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi.

In addition to this, the project seeks to complete the following tasks:

1. Mobilization/remobilization

2. Enumerations and detailed mapping 

3. Continue with vetting exercises in all six (6) settlements

4. Disbursement of housing loans 

5. Facilitating the construction of houses 

6. Continue training of community masons in quality construction.

Community capacity:

The community mobilisation process was championed by the community leaders of the six (6) settlements in which the project is being piloted. With support from Federation leaders, the community leaders called meetings with their fellow community members to make them aware of the project activities and requirements. Community members were also sensitized to the importance of constructing sustainable shelter using (high) quality materials. The leaders also used other community gatherings to create awareness of the rehabilitation plans under the project. Over one thousand (1,000) affected families are now aware of the possibility of constructing a new home through the project.

Mobilisation activities have, however, been hampered by the invalidation of chiefs. The Government of Malawi, through its Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), has declared that there are no chiefs in cities according to the Local Government Act 1998 (Act No. 42 of 1998).This in turn has created a lot of tension within the chiefs who are key stakeholders in the project. Their critical role as mobilisers and vetting personnel has been compromised as they are busy with the issue in court. CCODE and the Federation have experienced challenges in calling for meetings with the chiefs as it is still unknown whether the chiefs have been completely nullified and, therefore, stripped of any responsibilities particularly their land-related oversight functions and responsibilities. The organization will however proceed with the vetting exercises and will continue involving chiefs from areas depending on their availability, as they have been the custodians of land since time in memorial.


This is a city-wide project, which is being implemented in six (6) informal settlements with the hopes that once successfully implemented, it will serve as a learning centre on how post-disaster rehabilitation can be conducted by communities. 


SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$90,000.00 of which US$30,000.00 went towards technical assistance expenses. 

Market Generated Returns:

None to date. 

Costs recovered from community:

Two critical issues were raised during the mobilisation meetings, which might also be considered as challenges by the beneficiaries, are: the five percent (5%) interest rate attached to the loan and the shortness of the repayment period. The majority of the target group are very poor Malawians whose economic status is very low. While most of them own the land on which they live, they do not have strong economic muscle to pay the monthly loan repayment amount. At present they are supposed to pay not less than US$80 per month, for a period of eighteen (18) months, should they acquire the loan. Many of the people interested are therefore worried about defaulting, which will in turn increase their loans.

Malawi Government. (2015). Malawi 2015 Floods Post-disaster Needs Assessment Report. [Online]. Available:
Malawi Government (2015b). Update on Flood Disaster Response as at 21st January 2015 Given by Vice-President Right Honourable Saulos Chilima. [Online]. Available:
Mitlin, D. (2014). Achieving Universal Sanitation: Sharing the Experience of the SDI Affiliate in Blantyre, Malawi. [Online]. Available:
Vega, T. (2015).  Malawi: Government and Partners Embark on Post-disaster Needs Assessment. [Online]. Available:
World Habitat Awards. (2015). Empowering the Poor: Building the Capacity of Urban and Rural Communities. [Online]. Available:

Funding Information



Funding type:

Grant funding

Implementing Partners

Centre for Community Organisation & Development (CCODE)