©UN-HABITAT/Caylee Hong, 2009
Many women in Africa work in the informal sector.
Despite the growing number of women who work, women are still much less likely than men to hold rights to property.
Many women work in the informal sector. In Africa, for example, 84 per cent of women’s employment outside of agriculture is informal.
But with the right support, training and opportunities, small women-entrepreneurs can make their businesses grow and improve living conditions for their families.
Low-income women often find it difficult to access loans to secure their own homes or, in the slums, to upgrade their housing.
The problem is the reluctance of mainstream banks and mortgage lenders to loan money to them, in the absence of collateral and other credit guarantees, formal jobs and fixed addresses.
UN-HABITAT supports and promotes Women Land Access Trusts as intermediary organisations between low-income women’s housing cooperatives and financial institutions, local authorities, central and regional governments, the private sector and other development partners.
Mpumudde Women’s Group Women’s Housing Project in Jinja, Uganda
To date, four women’s land access trusts have been established in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, while preparatory work on others has begun in Burundi, Ethiopia and Mozambique.
In addition to providing affordable loans to women for housing, the Trusts also provide business advice and training to women entrepreneurs, so that they can maximize their income and also make use of micro-credit loans from revolving funds.
The Trusts can also facilitate discussions with local authorities on issues such as the provision of land, water and sanitation.
UN-HABITAT has worked in partnership with Jinja Municipal Council, the building company Akright Projects and Mpumudde Jinja Women Group to build new homes for low and medium-income women as a pilot project in Uganda.
Uganda Women Land Access Trust is now coordinating efforts to build more homes in the second phase of the project.
In Kinondoni, Tanzania, the construction of a five-story building with 32 residential apartments and five commercial units has been made possible through the
Women in a housing cooperative supported by Tanzania Women Land Access Trust
coordination of Tanzania Women Land Access Trust. Consultation with women’s groups was key in this project’s planning and implementation.
Meanwhile, Ghana Women Land Access Trust has mobilised and registered women’s housing cooperatives in Accra. The project also incorporates an element of awareness-raising for women about housing and legal rights.
Read about Kenya Women Land Access Trust
Read about the Jinja project’s first phase.