Incremental Housing Upgrades in Salima

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Focus Areas: Housing

The Federation aims to construct forty-five (45) housing units through this project, in Salima. The construction, which began in 2012, is incremental. 

Location: Salima, Malawi


To date thirteen (13) houses have been constructed. House improvements have been made to an additional one hundred and thirty (130) houses.

Community capacity:

The community is involved in the construction of their own houses. They receive technical assistance from District Council officials. 

The Mchenga Fund has trained Community Loan Officers in the district. The Community Loan Officers will ensure the continuity of the fund.  Since the introduction of the system the repayment rate has increased. The beneficiaries are also being capacitated with necessary skills to enable them to venture into various businesses to increase their ability to pay back the loans.


The potential for this project to be scaled up nationally continues to grow with increasing demands for better housing. 


The Salima Federation continues to work with the District Council. Together they have started to review the District's habitat policies. The review of the policies will help the Federation as they are working towards building the capacities of communities on building their own houses with technical assistance from the Federation.


SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$32,875.00

Resources Leveraged:

The Federation successfully engaged with the Town Council which, in the end, gave the Federation land and technical support at no cost. 

State Subsidy:

The State subsidy was in the form of land and technical assistance. 

Market Generated Returns:

None to date. 

Costs recovered from community:

The project is financed by revolved funds from other Federation projects.  

Patrick Chikoti (+265) 1 756 781 View Website
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Project information updated: 12 January 2016

Project in depth

Detailed Information

This project sees the Malawi Alliance of Centre for Community Organization and Development (CCODE) and the Federation of Rural and Urban Poor respond to the high demand for housing in Salima in 2012. To date, housing has been considered neither a priority at national level nor a problem at city level.


The aim is to construct forty-five houses in an incremental manner. The construction process is incremental, meaning building is done in phases. The first phase involves the construction of two rooms with an external bathroom and toilet. Each subsequent phase comprises extensions to the housing unit. The complete unit will have three bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, store room, external bathroom, and toilet.


On the basis of this project, the Alliance has been contacted to design and develop a housing programme for rural farmers in Salima. There is high demand for housing in Salima Town, highlighting the potential for the project to be scaled up. However, additional capital investment is required to make this possible.

The Federation is currently negotiating for more land from Government to make implementation of another housing project possible.


The revolving fund is being used to showcase the Federation's way of doing things in the town of Salima. The total number of households built using revolving funds is thirteen (13). However, it is necessary for other players in the housing development space to help the Federation's efforts. 


SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$32,875.00 towards the capital costs.

Resources Leveraged:

Discussions about upgrading existing slum settlements are ongoing between the Federation and Town Council. The good working relationship between the Federation and Council means the Federation may be able to successfully lobby for more land, potentially helping to scale up the project.

The success of the first phase of the project has already seen Traditional Leaders in the area allocating another piece of land to the Federation in early 2014. 

The project has also seen Salima Town Council support the Federation and their activities. The Council has provided heavy machinery and technical support to the Federation during construction. This good working relationship will allow the Federation to lobby for more land for similar interventions. The interactions with the Council also include discussions around upgrading existing slum settlements – focusing on the important of the Alliance in these activities.

Market Generated Returns:

None to date. It bears mentioning that the weakening Kwacha is a significant challenge for this project as is high inflation – meaning prices of construction materials have increased.

Costs recovered from community:

The country’s high inflation, at peak being 31.5%, is hampering progress. As a result, and to ensure project sustainability, the Federation scaled down the types of units to be constructed. The Federation has also revised loan terms to ensure faster revolving of funds. Project beneficiaries belong to saving groups – this being a requirement for loan eligibility. 

Mchenga, M.A.Z. (2007). Mchenga - Urban Poor Housing Fund in Malawi. [Online]. Available:

Funding Information



Funding type:

Grant funding

Implementing Partners

Centre for Community Organisation & Development (CCODE)

Homeless People's Federation of Malawi