The overall movement related to this market-development approach is often called “making markets work for the poor” or M4P.
To support and accelerate market approaches around the world, Habitat for Humanity International is focusing on two key initiatives: MicroBuild and the Center for Innovation in Shelter and Finance.
The MicroBuild Fund works by investing in local financial institutions that work alongside Habitat, providing savings and credit products that are paired with construction technical assistance to help families repair or build homes incrementally. In Tajikistan, for example, Habitat used MicroBuild to mobilize $4 million for two key local partners. As a result, Habitat expects to serve more than 8,000 families in the Central Asian country in fiscal year 2014.
Habitat’s Center for Innovation in Shelter and Finance engages local firms and entrepreneurs to build capacity and expand good practices for serving the affordable housing needs of low-income families. This can mean working with cement suppliers, hardware stores, microfinance institutions, small-scale technician service companies, or any sort of player in the market that can help fill gaps in the housing chain.