On 14 November 2011, Mazingira Institute served as the local host for the Housing Microfinance Consultation Session in Nairobi. The session was a follow-up to two previous workshops co-hosted by FinMark Trust, Rooftops Canada and Habitat for Humanity International, held in Dar es Salaam in 2008 and Nairobi in 2010, which identified the critical need for the development of Africa’s pro-poor housing and housing finance industry. Participating organizations included Pamoja Trust, Akiba Mashinani Trust, National Cooperative Housing Union (NACHU), K-Rep Bank, Jamii Bora, UN-Habitat, Acumen Fund, and Matrix Development Consultants.
Stakeholders identified insecurity of land tenure and access to affordable capital as some of the key constraints to housing microfinance. In order to create an enabling policy and capacity environment, participants strategized the development of the regional support initiative. It was agreed upon that both a regional as well as national organization would be necessary. Core participants in the national organization should be: community development organizations, technical providers, and retail leaders.
In order to ensure progress with this initiative, participants decided to form a Kenyan working group. Mazingira Institute facilitated this initiative; members of AMT, Pamoja, Nachu, and K-Rep volunteered to lead the formation process. The volunteers agreed to convene by March. A national working group will be a substantial step toward overcoming the challenges faced by the microfinance housing industry in Kenya.
Other consultation sessions have been held, or are planned for Zimbabwe, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. For more information, please contact Kecia Rust. The discussion paper for the consultations can be downloaded here.