Commonwealth Housing Group Kenya (CHG)
After deciding to work with the MWAMKO families in their pursuit of new homes and better lives, CHT in the UK began to work with a partner group in Kenya dedicated to the same goal. This new informal group acted as liaison between MWAMKO and CHT and carried out decisions of the CHT Trustees after discussions between all parties.
As the project grew, the group was formally registered in Kenya as a non-profit Community-Based Organisation, The Commonwealth Housing Mutual Help Group, known as CHG.. This is now a flourishing independent organisation, thanks to a dedicated and successful team of highly- qualified Board members. All Board members are volunteers and have extensive relevant professional experience.
Two current CHG Board members worked closely with CHT founder Clifford Dann from the earliest days of the project, as did a third, now back in the UK and currently a CHT Trustee. The spirit of the project has been maintained and developed, while the work and responsibilities of CHG have expanded exponentially.
CHG is now the executive arm of the project in Kenya, supported the the Commonwealth Housing Trust in the UK. Members of the CHG/CHT Liaison Sub-committee have regular online meetings and maintain contact with each other about all aspects of the project, reporting to the CHG Board or CHT Trustees respectively.
Many other volunteers also give their time and expertise the CHG. They range from the newly qualified through to established, sometimes retired, professionals in relevant fields. The young volunteers include two graduate engineers from the Technical University of Kenya, a media and communications intern and an IT intern, and others are gaining valuable work experience against a background of high unemployment in Kenya.
CHG maintains a close relationship with the MWAMKO families, particularly through having MWAMKO representation on the CHG Board. MWAMKO members are have representatives on the CHG Project Management team and the Housing Allocation Sub-committee.
CHG has been successful in gaining local support, both financially and in kind, as a result of initiating valuable local partnerships. These successes enabled the first phase of works, installing the water and sewerage infrastructure. However, the level of funds that can be raised locally are not adequate to meet the overall costs of the project.
Project Planning & Management
Given the central role of CHG in managing all aspects of the building project, organisational structures have been put in place to ensure good practice in all aspects of their work.
CHG has developed detailed financial and procurement policies as well as internal and external working policies on anti- terrorism and money laundering. All are geared towards strengthening internal and external accountability and to supporting CHG management systems.
a Site Engineer and an RICS-qualified Quantity Surveyor are in place. Both worked with Clifford Dann on the Gilgil project. A builder and a pro bono architect are also members of the team.
the Quantity Surveyor, working pro bono, is the lead in setting up the construction contracts, in carrying out necessary valuations and in the financial management of the contract.
CHG’s Project Management Committee ensures proper procedures for transparency and accountability in procurement of building materials and in financial policy. Chaired by CHG Treasurer Peter Simkin, the members include CHG Chairman Harrison Kwach, CHT Trustee and RICS East Africa Representative Bernadette Gitari plus the Site Engineer, Quantity Surveyor, architect, builder and other members of the technical team.
the CHG Housing Allocation Committee guarantees a fair and transparent process in allocating the houses as they become available. The committee includes two representatives of the MWAMKO members, two CHG Board members and CHT Trustee Bernadtte Gitari.
For more details of the work of CHG, including its Board members, management structure, due diligence processes and professional support please use the link to the Korogocho Case for Support.