A latest report by the National Statistical Office has revealed over half of Malawians live in grass thatched houses.
According to the Welfare Monitoring Survey 2014 released last month, the most common material used by households for roofing their dwellings was grass, with 58 percent of all households using this material.
The survey, which was conducted between June 2014 and July 2015 and covered 14,000 households drawn from all the districts of the country, also revealed that 41 percent of the households used iron sheets for roofing.
“Survey results also show that 66 percent of households in the rural areas used grass for thatching their dwellings while 15 percent of the households in urban areas used grass for roofing.
“In addition, 84 percent and 34 percent of the urban and rural households respectively used iron sheets for roofing their dwellings,” reads the survey report in part.
On wall material, the survey revealed that mud bricks and burnt bricks were the most common materials used for walls by households, 31 percent and 55 percent respectively.
“Compacted earth was used by 7 percent of the households and one percent used grass. Results show that most urban households (69 percent) lived in dwellings that were constructed using burnt bricks as compared to rural households (53 percent),” reads the report.
In as far as floor materials are concerned, the survey found that 72 percent of the main dwelling units were constructed with smoothed mud and 24 percent were of smooth cement.
“According to place of residence, 70 percent and 16 percent of the urban and rural households respectively lived in dwellings that had a floor made of smoothed cement. In addition, 79 percent and 28 percent of the rural and urban households respectively lived in dwellings that had a floor made of smoothed mud,” says the report.
NSO Commissioner Mercy Kanyuka said the report is the seventh of a series that started in 2005 and is part of the concerted effort by NSO to provide relevant information for monitoring the welfare status of the people of Malawi.
As one way of helping Malawians own decent houses, government is in the process of implementing the Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Programme.
Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Atupele Muluzi recently indicated that government will help 75 people renovate their existing houses through the programme in each constituency every year.