VIDEO: Habitat for Humanity Executive Draws Inspiration from Africa


The executive director of Habitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex has returned from Kenya with a new outlook.

Fiona Coughlin travelled more than 12,000km to help build a home just outside Nairobi on July 4 — making her way back to Windsor Wednesday.

Helping chip away at a housing deficit of 2-million was only part of the journey for Coughlin. She got a firsthand look at how much can be done with less.

"We can just take that mentality of, what can we use that's at our fingertips to do things efficiently and effectively to reduce cost? It's the inspiring nature of seeing another world and another way of doing things," says Coughlin.

She arrived home with at least one new practice that can be implemented immediately.

"Seeing this simple solution to the water bottle problem; we can get at any Canadian Tire, a pump, which will go on our water cooler jugs. From now on we will not have disposable water bottles on any of our build sites."

She says her counterparts across the Atlantic are doing more than just housing families.

Ownership of homes isn't typically handed down to women after a spouse passes in Kenya, one of many things Coughlin says Habitat is working to change.

"Habitat in Kenya has been doing great work to make sure that there's title given to women and they're also teaching women skilled trades," she added.

Coughlin is one of 10 volunteers from Habitat for Humanity Canada that made the journey.

She hopes to pay it forward by bringing volunteers from Kenya to Windsor-Essex in the coming year.