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Zara Keys - Oct 28, 2019

Making an Impact with Ubiquity: Alternative Housing Schemes in Nigeria

A great part of humanity still struggles for the basic human needs of food, water and shelter. Poverty is still the stark reality for a great portion of people around the world, especially in Africa and Asia. 

Blog_Alternative Housing Schemes in Nigeria

I have been working on a project to address the poverty issue in my country of Nigeria through alternative housing for middle and lower-income families. This is a unique approach that I believe will tackle poverty and help elevate people into the middle class. 

Project Objective: My project seeks to reduce the cost of homeownership by about 50%. Construction of one house is estimated to take 9 weeks using a building method that makes use of materials on-site, longer-lasting green alternatives and sustainable materials that will reduce the carbon footprint.  

My Story

ZaraKeysI became interested in alternative housing a long time ago and began formal research into the topic in 2012 when I was living and schooling in Ghana. I have also lived in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus TRNC, and have witnessed how well this society manages their land and their building methods. It was while in Cyprus, working in different construction companies and the technical department of Noah's Ark deluxe hotel and spa for 5 years, that I developed my alternative housing/building method which Ubiquity University has helped me to further develop.

When I came back to Nigeria in April 2019, I learned that the reverend of my church was retiring in a few weeks. There had been many calls to members to donate money in aid of completing the reverend’s house so that he could move out, and the new pastor in charge could occupy the pastorium. Some money was raised, but it was barely enough to make the house decently habitable. The same is the case with many pastors and reverends of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) of which I am a member. Many of these pastors and reverends struggle through life, especially after retirement, since they have to move out of the pastorium. Many of them retire with just enough rent money for a year or two, after which they struggle for food and shelter.

That didn't sit right with me. I knew there was something that I could do to solve this problem with my alternative housing project. 

Dashiki_ZaraKeysblog

The houses we build will be rented out for a period of 12 years, which is enough time for the rent to pay off the loan. After 12 years, during which the initial investment on the house is paid off through the rent, every subsequent unit 

of revenue the house generates becomes an extra source of income for the pastor until he retires. This extra income means pastors and their families can put their children into better schools, provide better nutrition and better clothes. Better yet, the bank can now create an investment account for the pastor and invest all the rent accrued. In this way, the pastor will have enough money at his disposal when he retires which would allow him to start a business or use the funds as a second pension.  

To supplement the core of this project work, I will plant 10 trees (five perennial and five fruit trees) for every house I build, an act which I hope will act as a nutritional supplement for those living on the land. The houses I build will use 90% less wood than traditional housing, thus contributing to a better environment. 

 

Progress

I have managed to elicit some important support for my project already. Dr. Ipole, the personal assistant to the ECWA President, was excited about the potential of my company and, in fact, wanted to be my first client. He has promised to first link me to the head architect at ECWA to examine our prototype house. If the architect approves of it, Dr. Ipole will create a meeting with the ECWA president himself on how to scale my impact project.

 

In Conclusion

I believe I can help many people out of poverty through alternative housing. I believe I can help people live better lives with my project, which I believe can be a great business and employment opportunity. 

With the increase in the cost of homeownership across the world today, my alternative housing project is not just a cheaper, viable housing alternative, but also a greener option that will transform people's lives in a way that is good for the environment.

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I cannot achieve this alone. I am calling on all of you to partner with me on this journey. I am also calling on investors and venture capitalists who believe in alternative ways of solving hard-to-tackle problems, so we can end poverty through alternative housing and play a part in achieving the first goal of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals - to eliminate all forms of poverty, everywhere.

Please email me at zarakeys@gmail.com if you are inspired to donate to this project. As a token of my appreciation and a memento of my home country, anyone who donates $100 or more will receive a Dashiki - a colorful garment to spice up your wardrobe and remind you of your valuable contribution. Thank you so much!

 

Written by Zara Keys

Zara is one of our students from Nigeria. He is an entrepreneur and CEO at Zara Farms.