Zambia launches green construction programme to boost housing

Zambia has introduced a new construction programme that uses green technologies to help improve the lives of impoverished communities. The houses are made using locally sourced materials like wood and soil to make bricks.

LUMWANA, ZAMBIA (ILO) – The government of Zambia has launched a Green Jobs Programme that promotes green technologies in the construction sector in an effort to boost employment and build much needed housing.

Davies Bweupe has been working in construction for 15 years in Lumwana, North Western Province. He is employed by one of the smaller construction companies to build eight low-cost and environmentally friendly houses to be used as models across Zambia.

All the building materials are sourced locally and the workers come from surrounding communities.

“Because we are using, everything is local material, which we are using. This window frame are made with trees which we have from around,” said Bweupe.

Munjunka Shadrick is the construction site manager.

“This project here is coming from the “green jobs.” So we’re sort of bringing other members from other communities, other SMEs (small, medium enterprise) to come and train,” said Munjuka.

Zambia, Africa’s second biggest copper producer, has seen its kwacha currency tumble nearly 50 percent against the dollar this year, driving up food prices. Its economic woes have also caused power shortages.

Zambia’s economy is expected to grow by less than 5 percent this year, down from an earlier projection of around 6 percent.

Green jobs not only aim to preserve or restore the environment but provide much needed employment. The Barrick Lumwana Mining Company has partnered with the Green Jobs Programme to build housing for its employees.

“If it’s affordable then we can bring on board the different partners that are needed like banks to support housing because housing is required in terms of employees,” said Winnie Kakunta, who works in community relations for the Barrick Lumwana Mining Company.

It’s estimated Zambia will have to build one house every minute for the next decade to meet growing demand. Homes built with locally sourced “green” materials are on average 30 percent less expensive.

For the green jobs trainees, the project is already changing their lives.

“The way I was trained, it upgraded my skills. Now it will be very easy for me to find a job. I even obtained a certificate for this, green jobs,” added Bweupe.

Zambia Green Jobs Programme is helping to build greener, fairer and more sustainable housing. By the end of 2017, organisers hope to create 5,000 jobs.