Although mainstream banks are generally reluctant to consider low-income women with informal employment for loans, some have reasonably stable incomes. With innovative housing finance schemes initiated by UN-HABITAT, they too have the chance to become home owners. In Kenya, like many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, many low-income women struggle to access and keep land—partly because women are often among the poorest and also because of gender discrimination against them.
The land in Mavoko will also benefit a range of other stakeholders, including youth employment and training programmes and housing cooperatives in Mavoko and Kibera, the largest informal settlement in East Africa. There are plans to build 100 homes in Mavoko, through a partnership between six local housing cooperatives, the Housing Finance Company of Kenya and UN-HABITAT, through the use of Experimental Reimbursable Seed Operations (ERSO).
The Experimental Reimbursable Seed Operations provide loans to local financial institutions, which in turn leverage the funds to provide loans to the urban poor for house building, improvements and infrastructure upgrading, such as for water and sanitation.