world habitat day 2019

It’s all systems go as the world observes the International Day for Housing also known as World Habitat Day 2019. The place of habitation is so key to humanity that a day such as this one cannot be left unnoticed. In a country where a majority of the population owns land and even a smaller percentage of the same populace has capacity to both secure and service mortgage payments, there is need for a breakthrough thought on how to house the people.

So the World Habitat Day celebrated on the first Monday of October becomes a key focus area for stakeholders in particular to gauge and analyse the status quo with regard to the housing segment. This year, the focus will be yet again on the state of human settlements and people’s right to sufficient shelter. As with other observations, the day aims at reminding people that they are responsible for the habitat of future generations.

In the case of Kenya, the discussions on habitats cannot be complete without the mention of two parties – President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda and the contribution of UN Habitat led by its foot soldier Dr. Kibe Muigai posthumously. On the aspect of affordable housing, there is need to embrace the available stakeholders key of whom are local players in the real estate industry in Kenya.

This was the rallying call during the SME Forum held a year ago at at Strathmore University, where focus was on the blueprint accelerated trade more so in terms of housing. Making a contribution at the event which was graced by the Head of State, Optiven advised that there is need for the players to come together and be engaged by the government considering their knowledge set for the Kenyan market and more so being the doers in the entrepreneurial wheel in the building sector.

Speaking to KTN in April this year, Mr. George Wachiuri, Chief Executive at Optiven Group noted that, ‘the people who know Kenya are Kenyans themselves and the entrepreneurs that can build Kenya are those like Optiven who have done if for over 20 years – therefore we are available to engage with the government because we know what the market can offer and what our customers requirements are’.

As the world observes the international day, Optiven Limited joins in the celebrations noting that the place of human settlement is at the heart of the company strategy. Optiven Limited which has different projects in 7 counties in Kenya, has been at the forefront in an endeavor to empower as many Kenyans as possible to not only own land, but to also have their own homes.

This is a target under the Sustainable Development Goals and which is also a key pillar of the operations that seek to sustainably empower Kenyans through property ownership. Since it’s inception over 20 years ago, the company has not only sold land to the masses but also assisted the owners to build by engaging credible partners to ensure the houses built on the projects are upto standard.

The projects continue to embrace environmentally friendly practices including putting in place systems to ensure recycling of water, management of waste and planning of the projects aesthetically while using renewable sources of energy including solar.

According to Mr. George Wachiuri, the Chief Executive at Optiven Group, ‘the role of caring for our environment and enabling more and more Kenyans to not only acquire land but to be settled in their own homes is critical. In Kenya, a minority of the larger productive population is servicing loans via mortgages to own homes but a majority are not able to afford the high cost of servicing loans – and this is where we as Optiven come in – to empower people to settle in their own homes.’

His sentiments come as the company has been feted for its role in financial inclusion, more so towards enabling a majority of Kenyans to own homes. This was during the Financial Inclusion Awards 2019 held at the Crowne Plaza where Optiven Limited took home the coveted winners award for it’s role in enabling its customers to pay for land at affordable costs and at their convenience.

The company is keen on settling not less than 300,000 families in their homes which will be located in the transformed properties that won the Optiven Limited company for the second year running, the top Land Agent Award 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 during the Real Estate Excellence Awards held on 16th June 2019 at Movenpick Hotel in Nairobi.


 ABOVE: Homes of Optiven Limited customers with some having settled at Victory Gardens in Kitengela with super value additions.

As regards the global observation, the 2019 theme is ‘Frontier Technologies as an innovative tool to transform waste to wealth.’ It builds on the 2018 theme “Municipal Solid Waste Management” which focused mainly on managing garbage. This year’s focus promotes contribution of innovative frontier technologies to sustainable waste management to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11.

This on a broad scale includes safe, resilient and sustainable cities that are inclusive. Going beyond solid waste this includes all waste produced by human activity (solid, liquid, domestic, industrial and commercial), which continues to have a devastating impact on climate change, public health and the environment. Mr. Wachiuri who leads the Optiven Group that holds the Digital Inclusion Company of the year awards for 2018/2019 agrees that:-

Technology has great potential to improve how people work and live, to significantly accelerate efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and address climate change.’ He adds that it is this catalyst that advised the Optiven Groups 2019 areas of focus leading to the key focus area of automation being rolled out in 2019.

 optiven ngatatek

ABOVE: Optiven Group’s Team Leader and Chairman of Optiven Foundation (third left in green construction hat) with leaders of Ngatataek during a cleanup to mark the 2019 World Environment Day in Kajiado County.

Optiven Group remains are the forefront in engaging technology not just for automation, but mainly in areas of renewable energy technologies such as use of biodigesters in it’s projects all aimed at social, economic and environmental transformation. Wachiuri says, ‘by adapting different ways of doing things and engaging our environment we are able to add value to our projects and offer solutions necessary for better every-day challenges.’ And to all our stakeholders, here is to a happy international habitat day!

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