Sitting on a pile of concrete slabs, and sipping from a bottle of water, Jibril is very excited to finally take off his safety helmet and talk about the opportunity of earning a decent living after about a year without work.
A graduate of engineering, Jibril is one of the thousands employed on Family Homes Funds Limited (FHFL) affordable housing project sites in Yobe state.
‘’About a year ago, I was just at home, not sure where my next meal would come from. I am sure you know the struggle most people go through to find job.
“Luckily for me, a friend spoke to me about Family Homes Funds and their affordable housing projects in Yobe state. He told me workers were needed on site.
“That is how this new chapter of my life started Here I am today, a site engineer, in company of so many workers, building homes for people like my parents who do not earn so much.’’
Building over 2,350 affordable homes across 26 sites in Yobe sate for low to middle income earners, Family Homes Funds has created well over 8,700 direct and indirect jobs in the process – creating early socio-economic impact in the northeast state. For over a year now since construction works started, these projects have become major sources of employment for thousands of workers.
Jibril is hard at work on a project site in Yobe state capital, Damaturu, where at least 900 homes (of the first phase) are ready for first time homeowners in May 2021. At a time when the fear of unemployment is real, Jibril’s immediate concerns are anything but that.
Jibril’s story becomes familiar as one moves from one project site to another across different locations in the state where thousands of jobs have been created for contractors, developers, engineers, site supervisors, admin staff, property managers, artisans, masons, plumbers, electricians, iron benders, foremen, gardeners, laborers, cleaners, tillers, storekeepers, security guards, food vendors, suppliers, and other products and service providers tied to the construction sites.
Their stories validate FHFL’s belief that when building affordable housing communities in a vast country like Nigeria with significant housing deficit, job creation will always be an integral part of that, and people like Jibril bring such vision to life.
Family Homes Funds’ Social Impact Tracker shows that each site in Yobe employs an average of 320 people – directly and indirectly – guaranteeing economic sustenance for several families and their extended beneficiaries.
According to Jibril, the impact of this opportunity is much more than the employment it provides. As foods are being put on the table, crimes are also being reduced in many parts of the state.
‘’Imagine if these projects were not happening. All these workers, both the educated and uneducated ones would have been idling away, and probably considering the option of crime. So, for me, the impact of this is very huge. The economic benefits aside, it has reduced the level of crime in Yobe state.’’
Laid off from his former place of employment because of the peculiar economic challenges that trailed Covid-19, 26-year-old Kabir, who now works as an artisan on another FHFL project site in Potiskum, had to endure a torrid time of joblessness that was only ended because of the opportunity that Family Homes Funds project in Yobe state offered.
Confident about gaining employment on any of FHFL’s project sites, a lot of people like Kabir have gone to learn new skills that are needed for the construction works. Recently – and given the high demand for skilled labour in the state – over 1,000 artisans were trained in different skills and will soon join the other workers on-site as FHFL projects in the state enter their second and third phases.
The significance of these developments is that the job opportunities continue even after the construction work has been completed.
There are continuous needs for facility managers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, gardeners and cleaners, security guards, and of course, there are jobs and household incomes that will be generated by small businesses that will spring up in the estates when families move in.
With FHFL homes conspicuously standing in almost every local government, the socio-economic impact of the organization in Yobe state is obvious to everyone, including the state government, which has described FHFL as their biggest and most successful partner.
‘’We are happy that this partnership has worked well, and we also look forward to more. A lot of jobs have been created and a lot of local materials are also being used,’’ the Secretary to the State Government of Yobe state, Baba Malam Wali says of FHFL impact in the state.
In May 2021, the first phase comprising of 1,800 homes will be completed and ready for new families across different locations in Yobe state.
This will be a lifetime opportunity for civil servants, members of cooperatives, and artisans like Kabir to own their own homes in an environment that offers opportunities for modern living without the need to break a bank.
These stories are a fulfilment of Family Homes Funds’ vision of providing homes for the most vulnerable groups in the society, and employment opportunities for those who are losing faith because of economic challenges.
As projects enter more phases and into more states across Nigeria, the number of jobs created by Family Homes Funds through its projects and partnerships will only continue to increase.
Across FHFL projects in states like Delta, Nasarawa, Ogun, Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Borno, Adamawa and others, the constant sentiment of most of the workers – now totalling about 64,000 – is that they experience both an engaging place to work and the motivation to build structures that the owners would be proud to call home – exactly the difference Family Homes Funds was created to make.