The “Building Assets, Unlocking Access” project is supported by The MasterCard Foundation.

Peer Learning Forum

Lessons for successful housing microfinance product development

October 21-23 | Naivasha, Kenya

As part of the Center for Innovation in Shelter and Finance’s flagship “Building Assets, Unlocking Access” project, the Center is organizing a forum to exchange lessons and knowledge to support the expansion of affordable housing in Sub-Saharan Africa by bringing together financial and housing sector practitioners to learn from each other’s experiences in adding and expanding housing microfinance products and services.

The “Building Assets, Unlocking Access” project launched in 2012 and aims to build the capacity of local financial institutions to reach those low income families who were previously unable to access loans to improve their homes and living conditions. The project has been working with financial service providers (FSPs) in Uganda and Kenya to develop housing microfinance products that will best serve low-income families in these countries. Several of these products were recently launched on the market and the forum will be an opportunity for the financial institutions participating in the project to exchange their insights on the achievements, challenges and lessons learned in developing their products. The conversations will also explore how the housing and finance sector can strengthen their links towards the provision of affordable housing through market system approaches.

Catalyzing the market for housing microfinance

A diverse group of stakeholders will discuss the opportunities and challenges to introduce, test and scale products and services that enable families to borrow, save and invest in building their homes incrementally. They will participate in an engaging dialogue, igniting an exchange across housing and financial sectors about the potential for housing microfinance products to retain, attract and empower clients while strengthening the product portfolios and market position of financial providers.

Guests will include financial service providers, The MasterCard Foundation, MicroBuild Fund Managers, Association of Microfinance Institutions, Housing finance industry players and housing construction industry players.

At the end of the forum the participants will have:

  • Heard from other peer organizations on the opportunities and challenges of implementing housing microfinance products and services.
  • Heard from other peer organizations on the relevance and ways to provide non-financial housing support services to complement housing microfinance products.
  • Explored together the relevance of including other types of support to enhance the expansion of affordable housing solutions for the bottom of the pyramid.
  • Established the necessary traits to expand affordable housing through housing microfinance.
  • Shared the main lessons on the process of developing and/or refining housing microfinance products and services.
  • Defined required support to continue expanding housing microfinance portfolios.

General Forum Agenda

Day 1: Context of the Project: Why Housing Microfinance?

  • The business case for housing microfinance, beyond reducing the gap between supply and the demand of affordable housing.
  • How the “Building Assets, Unlocking Access” project contributes to reducing the housing deficit in Sub-Saharan Africa?
  • What types of linkages with market actors can support the expansion of affordable housing in Sub-Saharan Africa and how can this project improve the facilitation of linkages among market actors to explain affordable housing?

Day 2: Lessons Learned on the Design of HMF Products and How Non-Financial Housing Support Services Support These Products

  • Housing Support Services: Examples from around the world.
  • Overcoming challenges of providing housing support services.
  • Market opportunities to provide housing support services.

Day 3: The Way Forward

  • What is needed in order to continue enhancing the capacity of financial service providers to provide housing microfinance products?
  • Training session for financial service providers on marketing and branding of products.

The MasterCard Foundation and Habitat for Humanity's Center for Innovation in Shelter and Finance