National Cooperative Housing Union [NACHU]

  • Ngalawu Housing Co-operative
  • Fatabab Housing Cooperatives Members during the International Cooperatives Day Celebrations
  • Semba Tuvike and KiteMoto Housing Cooperatives in discussion with NACHU Technical team on their housing project progress

Housing co-operatives in Kenya are represented by NACHU, the National Cooperative Housing Union. NACHU was registered in 1979 under the Cooperative Societies Act (Cap 490), became operational in 1983 and held its first democratic election in 1986. NACHU was initially established to provide technical services and small housing loans for trade union members. The broader co-op movement, some churches and NGOs also helped start NACHU. NACHU struggled for some years due to a difficult policy context and political interference. NACHU’s early growth and development was assisted by CHF International (US), Rooftops Canada, and the Ford Foundation. NACHU’s primary objective is to provide affordable and decent housing and infrastructure to the urban low- and modest-income communities. But NACHU’s approach goes beyond just housing. It includes: community mobilization (youth, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS) and training; technical support services; housing finance; lobbying and advocacy. NACHU works at improving the quality of life of co-operative housing members in different ways.NACHU’s approach includes working with informal settlements, conventional housing and commercial projects. This approach has allowed NACHU to cross-subsidize the development of its low-income projects. It is governed by a nine member board of directors. Seven seats are reserved for the provinces where NACHU is working and up to three seats are elected by the AGM to improve gender balance on the Board. NACHU has 27 employees in total with eight employees on its Housing Micro Finance team. NACHU draws its membership from: low and modest-income people in formal employment, rural co-operatives associated with agricultural marketing co-operatives, middle-income earners and, informal settlement dwellers who often are self-employed and have irregular incomes. Members pay a non-refundable entry fee and buy refundable shares. Members do not pay ongoing membership fees. In 2012, 493 housing co-operatives of the 550 registered were participating in NACHU Housing Scheme, representing 11,708 individuals. 84% were low-income earners and 16% modest-income. NACHU has counted on external funders and partners to help finance its operational costs and capitalize its revolving funds. Without these organizations, progress would have been much slower. NACHU’s partners have been and are: Rooftops Canada, Homeless International, CHF International (now Global Communities), Ford Foundation, USAID (Housing Guarantee Fund), NORAD and NBBL (Norway), Swedish Co-operative Center (now We Effect), SACOMA (UK).Find out more about housing co-operatives in Kenya

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