The Kuyasa Fund was set up by the Development Action Group (DAG), a Cape Town based community development NGO (and a UN-HABITAT Best Practice in 2004, 2006). Now a fully autonomous non-profit organization, the Kuyasa Fund facilitates access to housing finance as a tool for improving well-being and supporting the development of a financial sector for the poor. We believe that access to finance helps to create sustainable households and communities and alleviates poverty. We regard the poorest of the poor as credit-worthy and able to build financial and social capital through savings and loans. Our mission is to provide credit with the aim of improving housing and building social capital, to enable clients to build adequately-sized houses that meet their needs and to provide an example of successful lending to the financially marginalised.
We work with low-income communities with an average monthly household income of R1 600 (US$260) and our clients are drawn from those who qualify for the state housing subsidy and who save in community-based savings groups. We have explicitly sought to target our services to women who head their own households, those in informal employment and pensioners, as these groups have traditionally been excluded from formal finance. Women currently comprise 76% of our clients.
To date we have disbursed some 8 500 loans with a value of R45 million (US$5.7 million). Our clients have reported positive results from home ownership that are not limited to physical security, but reflect greater household cohesion, a decline in the stress placed on marital and familial relationships by poor living conditions, increased good health and an increased sense of well-being and dignity, as well as greater engagement with their community. Kuyasa is firmly committed to using microfinance as a tool not only for housing delivery but to create sustainable communities. To this end we recognise the continued need to not only build houses but to create the appropriate social, economic and environmental conditions for dynamic communities, drawing on a wide range of institutional stakeholders.