Building South Africa together,

one community at a time. 

Upgrading skills.

Once we’ve been invited to partner with a community, the first thing we do is empower the people of the community to make informed decisions about their own development.

We facilitate the election and formation of a body of community leaders. Through leadership and skills development the leaders are equipped to lead their communities. Through a series of workshops, we help the people of the community to understand their own housing development project. We equip them with essential knowledge ranging from practical home partner information to the role of the stakeholders, to the costs, materials, regulations and basic architecture of their homes.

Changing things together

Our approach is about participation. We want the community to take ownership of their own project.

Now that they have the skills and the knowledge, we want people to become the source of their own development. But first we need a plan. So we help the community create surveys and conduct interviews collecting information on the skills, resources and current livelihoods in the community. Using this information, we help the leaders craft a plan for the development they want to see in their communities.

Meanwhile, we partner with people and organisations who can help provide the necessary resources. That’s where you come in. Alongside the community and those we’ve brought on board, we start building. Not just houses, but homes. Not just settlements, but communities. Together, we start changing our country into the nation we all hope we can be.

Spreading the message

With over 1,9 million informal dwellings, there is an immense need for housing in our country.

But it’s not just a need – it’s an opportunity. Many of us do not realise how powerful a healthy community and the provision of adequate shelter can be in breaking the chains of poverty. That’s where we come in, as a strong voice in housing and community development, we advocate on issues such as how to improve low cost housing, how best to get communities involved and  how they may best manage their housing development in a future without government subsidies.

Habitat’s Advocacy Program focusing on two aspects; advocating for changes in systems and policies that influence people’s access to housing and enhancing community participation and empowerment in the delivery of housing and informal settlements upgrading.

Habitat SA’s Advocacy programme receives funding from the Ford Foundation to conduct research on identifying best practice for informal settlement upgrading.

Help us spread the word!


Our approach.

Communities without adequate or affordable housing identify Habitat as a partner who can help.


Through established relationships with organisations, individuals, word of mouth within communities and recommendations from municipalities, Habitat is invited to partner.


We upskill leaders in the community, empowering them to play effective roles in their own community’s sustainable development.


We coach and mentor the community, equipping them with the information they need to make informed decisions about their own development project, both now and in the future.


We equip community leaders to gather information on the resources and needs of the community, information which forms the basis of the Community Action Plan. This plan scopes out what we need to do to create sustainable change.


We help the community bring the plan to life by identifying the people and funds necessary to help build the community.


Because of the training they’ve received, community leaders are able to continue to manage and monitor the developments that have been put in place together with the community members who have been empowered through our coaching program.


Throughout the process, we, together with the community and the stakeholder partners continually reflect and review, establishing key learnings that can be taken into the next project.


We create awareness of the need for adequate shelter in South Africa and how it can combat the cycle of poverty, spreading the message of how to create a sustainable future with participatory community development.

“Do your little bit of good where you are – it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

~ Desmond Tutu