The CoBILD Project was designed to pilot the viability of a low-income housing-finance mechanism based on market rates of interest. The project aimed to meet the needs of low-income households by lowering the costs of housing provision through incrementally built, sequentially financed housing. It successfully utilized community-based initiatives to further reduce the costs of housing through the collective acquisition of land and development of infrastructure. Its overall objectives were to develop community-based housing finance models and governance structures so they could be up-scaled in the pilot cities, along with supporting institutional arrangements at the national level so that the lessons learned and good practices would be integrated in and replicated through national policy.
The 12 pilot cities were selected in early 2000 according to criteria that included the interest of the city governments to participate, the availability and interest of CBOs, as well as the availability and skills of community facilitators to empower the communities and build partnerships with the city administrations. An empowerment strategy and dissemination campaign was developed and implemented during 2000 to promote understanding of the project’s objectives, expected outputs , as well as the revolving loan arrangements. City Forums, comprising representatives of civicl society, NGOs, CBO, academics, professionals and local governments, were established in all 12 cities, each electing a Management Board to interact with CBOs and manage the revolving loans. Loan funds were disbursed to all Boards, which, in turn, disbursed the loans to neighbourhood groups who would then implement their housing projects.
Twelve City Forums and Management Boards were established, along with a support system linking communities and neighbourhoods through to the city-level. Over Rp. 19 billion (US$1.5 million) were disbursed to Boards for the improvement of almost 5000 houses, 215 new houses and the purchase of more than 2,800 plots of land. The revolving funds have grown by US$554,120 in the two years of operation through 9,607 community-managed loans, demonstrating the financial viability of the loan mechanism where adequate sensitisation, partnership building, capacity building and operational mechanisms were established. The loans are popular and accessible to the intended target group and the community-based approach has managed to evolve a responsive organised client system for the loans. The mechanism is in place and will continue its evolution and consolidation. Co-BILD has assisted the evolution of a very important option for supporting community-based housing for low-income people. It evolved and developed the essential features for an effective housing strategy. The project closed in July 2003.