This started as a travel blog, but as my circumstances have changed and my international travel become more restricted I’ve had less travel to write about. I’m told, though, that I need to become more disciplined in my postings, so I thought I might spend a few minutes sharing a little about out projects. From time to time I’ll do a spotlight blog telling of some of the remarkable work The Fuller Center is doing around the world.
One of The Fuller Center for Housing’s first international covenant partners was Nigeria and it remains one of our strongest national organizations. The Fuller Center Nigeria operates under the able leadership of Sam Odia and an outstanding board of directors which includes Chair Archbishop Josiah Idowu Fearon, an internationally recognized arbiter of Christian-Muslim relations, Apostle Hayford Alile, a leader in Nigerian banking, Delphine Arenyeka, an architect and long-time affordable housing advocate, Mrs. Victoria Audu, a highly regarded philanthropist, and, to assure the inclusion of a weak link, me.
FCH Nigeria just dedicated its 50th house, a remarkable achievement. With limited funding they have aggressively pursued the dream and have built more houses than any covenant partner. They stand as a model and inspiration to the entire organization.
FCH Nigeria is building at Luvu Village on the outskirts of the nation’s capital city, Abuja. Located in the heart of the country on the line that separates the predominantly Muslim north from the predominantly Christian south, Abuja is a new city that was established some thirty years ago expressly to serve as the country’s capital. It is a remarkable place with broad avenues and striking architecture, surely one of the premier capitals of Africa.
One of the biggest problems facing Abuja is that housing costs are so high that many of the people who work in the city can’t afford to live there. This has resulted in a ring city of poverty housing with thousands of families who, with a little help, could have a decent place to live but who are, by the simple lack of capital, consigned to poverty housing. This is the need that The Fuller Center Nigeria seeks to meet.
FCH Nigeria has a novel approach that provides a vehicle for homeowners to gradually improve their housing situation. Families begin by purchasing a small unit in the Luvu Housing Estate which they purchase on a short-term, three to five year mortgage. Once the mortgage is paid the family has the option of selling their home back to FCH-N to use as the down payment on a larger unit. This can continue for additional cycles until the family’s circumstances are such that they can purchase a home with a conventional mortgage thus freeing FCH-N funds to help other families in need. The program is young, so its benefits are yet to be realized, but it is a truly innovative approach to meeting a need found around the world.
So we salute our partners in Nigeria and wish them continuing blessings as they go about the important task of making decent shelter a reality for God’s people in need.