Skip to main content

Building flood resilience

Habitat for Humanity illustration

The climate challenge presents a series of disastrous risks across the globe, and we have a responsibility to help mitigate these where we can.

“Natural disasters are a serious threat in Malawi. Developing infrastructure that allows communities to better withstand these events is essential. Our partnership with Lloyd’s Charities Trust has allowed us to develop a holistic programme in Chikwawa combining research, training, community engagement, and the construction of two rescue centres to keep especially vulnerable households safe in the event of flooding.”
Tum Kazunga, CEO Habitat for Humanity Great Britain

Our ESG Strategy aligns with and supports the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2016 to drive action on important goals from clean energy to gender equality. We want to help society to become more resilient, more sustainable and more inclusive – and our charity work reflects those goals: bringing together like-minded partners to build a braver future for communities beyond our walls.

Climate change can have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities, and we recognise the need to help them build greater resilience to the impact of these risks. Through the Lloyd’s Charities Trust we work with partners to support ground-level practical steps that will help communities to build resilience for the long term.

Malawi, in south-east Africa, has repeatedly suffered from serious weather events because of climate change. Habitat for Humanity Malawi (Habitat Malawi), with funding from Lloyd’s Charities Trust, has been supporting communities in flood-prone regions to improve their resilience to the inevitable impact of more rainfall and flooding.

The frequency, intensity, and magnitude of flood events have increased in the country in the past two decades, adversely impacting rural communities and affecting people’s health, access to shelter, food, water, and energy – as well as the sustainability of their livelihoods.

Through the partnership with Lloyd’s, Habitat Malawi constructed two rescue centres in Bester and Nkhwazi in the Chikwawa District, where families would be able to access training and materials to ‘disaster-proof’ their homes, as well as providing refuge during emergencies.

As Rose Fuluzado, chairperson of the Village Civil Protection committee (VCPC) for Nkhwazi Rescue Centre comments: “Women and children are the most affected when disasters strike. We are very happy to have the Rescue Centre right within our community. This will be our place of safety and our community home.”

In addition to providing refuge and enabling better disaster preparation, the centres are also intended to be community assets, and Habitat Malawi has been working with villagers on ways to use the buildings to benefit the entire community - as classrooms for schoolchildren and adult literacy classes, for mobile ante-natal and healthcare services, and as a meeting place for village development committees.

“We are no longer going to have school closures when disaster strikes, because we now have a safe and appropriate place to host victims of disasters,” says Watson Solobala, chairperson of the Bester Rescue Centre VCPC.

There are also plans to use the centres in future for other meetings and training sessions and as community leisure centres.

According to Tum Kazunga, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Great Britain, over 21,000 people have directly benefited from this collaboration between Lloyd’s and Habitat for Humanity, with the rescue centres having already been used for flood relief in January 2022.

The project is helping to increase social cohesion and information-sharing within the community, and the centres have the potential to generate enough revenue to make them self-supporting and to fund development of additional facilities - helping people prepare, respond and adapt to disaster.

Lloyd’s has a long track record of contributing to the communities in which we operate. We are proud of the enduring role we play in protecting society from some of its greatest threats and, in doing so, supporting economic growth and social prosperity.

“The rescue centre standing in my community brings hope and dignity. I am excited that my people will always have a safe and decent place to live in the face of disasters. Disasters will always come but Bester will surely conquer them!”
Petulo Miliyoni, Head of Bester Village

About Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity works in disaster-affected communities to help people prepare, respond and adapt to disaster while empowering local communities to build back better, creating, disaster-resilient safer homes.

The organisation’s disaster response focuses on a number of areas:

  • Housing needs arising from natural disasters and emergency conflicts, including sustainable shelter and housing solutions.
  • Education, training and partnership solutions to those in need of its relief services.
  • Expertise in technical information, programme design and implementation, and disaster response policies, protocols and procedures.
  • Preventative support and information for disaster-prone areas; and
  • Year-round preparedness efforts to ensure readiness when a disaster occurs.

Basic needs such as water, shelter and sanitation become scarce in an emergency, and people’s health, safety, livelihoods and education are threatened. Habitat for Humanity believes that safe, reliable shelter provides the foundation from which all of these things can be restored during the relief and rebuilding process.