On Friday March 22nd 2019, a two-week assessment of Selected Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and housing firms that offer affordable housing innovations tailored for low-income households was concluded in Monrovia, Liberia. The climax of this exercise was a round table discussion hosted at the National Housing Authority with the support of Habitat for Humanity International under the auspices of Cities Alliance Liberia Country Program.
Speaking at the closure of the round table discussion, the Chief of Party for Habitat for Humanity, Mr. Mathew Ndote said Habitat’s ’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Its focus on adequate housing is rooted in the belief that housing plays a central role in the economy and well-being of people. The current construction rate of 35 units per year is far below the needs of a rapidly growing population in Liberia. According to the official data, 7 out 10 people living in the ‘greater Monrovia’ are exposed to conditions that are harmful to their health, safety and prosperity.
Habitat for Humanity believes that a private sector approach is needed to support the public sector efforts and help communities in addressing the growing housing need of 512,000 new dwellings and another 144,000 existing dwellings requiring repair and maintenance by 2030. According to Ndote, adequate, safe and affordable housing is linked to increased stability and a sense of dignity for the home’s owners and their families.
He highly commended that the National Housing Authority to take a bold step and refocus its efforts on supporting the vulnerable and low-income households, the majority of whom live in urban slums.
Mr. John Mucheru, Capital markets and financial inclusion specialist at Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter affirmed that Habitat through its partnership with the National Housing Authority in Liberia will continue to explore new and innovative ways to expand the influence and impact to low-income market in Liberia. He pledged to support a diverse market development intervention focused on cross-cutting approaches including the design of financial products for home improvement and incremental building, design of non-financial construction assistance models, and linking different housing market actors to support the expansion of affordable housing.
As a facilitator of the process, Habitat for Humanity is committed to support development of skills of the National Housing Authority and other public sector institutions and the private sector partners to ensure availability of innovative housing solutions.
By the end of the two-Weeks’s session, two microfinance institutions were selected for further work: BRAC Liberia Microfinance and Foundation for Women. On the housing supply side, four enterprises were selected: Alternative Roof, a local micro enterprise specialized in manufacturing of white wash; Clawilkee Enterprises, specialized in production of clay bricks; Nationwide Bricks Company and Limited Power of Attorney (LPA) specialized in building materials and merchandise credit for formally employed households.
Speaking on behalf of participating microfinance institutions, the Managing Director of Brac Liberia Microfinance, Mr. Silent Gonondo, cherished the opportunity to increase housing microfinance offerings and meet the overwhelming demand for affordable housing microfinance loans.
Also speaking on behalf of innovative housing firms, the CEO of Alternative Roof, Mr. Emmanuel Johnson, appreciated the work done throughout the two weeks. In his closing remarks, Mr. Es-Samir Bropleh, the coordinator of the National Housing Authority Slum Upgrading Unit r said that his organization will continue to provide a platform for coordination of efforts geared towards seeking and providing sustainable solutions for the majority of the poor people who for many years have been excluded by the mainstream financial providers and housing mortgages. He encouraged selected institutions to make best use of the opportunity to develop and fine-tune their housing solutions and serve the overwhelming low-income market.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Anchored by the conviction that housing provides a path out of poverty, since 1976, Habitat has helped more than 22 million build or improve the place they call home. Habitat also advocates to improve access to decent and affordable shelter and offers a variety of housing support services that enable families with limited means to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow. As a nonprofit Christian housing organization, Habitat works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions and nationalities to partner in its mission.