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A Roof,A Skill &A Market for women in Uganda

Supporting Women to produce more green homes as a way of consolidating peace,protecting the environment &generating sustainable incomes

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Written by DeletedUser

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Like many other Africa countries, owning a home is nearly impossible for individuals and families especially women making less than $3,000 a year.High costs and low incomes shut these individuals out of the formal financial markets and limit their access to housing finance and land tenure, making it hard for them to buy or build a home. The country’s financial market is underdeveloped and has limited financial products available. While there are companies that offer mortgages, almost none of them are directly serving the affordable housing mortgage market for those at the base of the pyramid. With high interest rates and stringent screening criteria, many households continue to be excluded from the mortgage sector.With a population of 69.2 % poor People living in poor housing), Uganda faces a whooping affordable Housing annual shortage of over 550,000 units in urban areas and about 1.3 million units in rural areas. Given the high poverty rates, High population growth and high rate of urbanization the demand for affordable housing far outweigh the supply and this makes housing built by private developers far out of reach of the majority of low income families. As a result, most Ugandan self-build their housing using semi-permanent and Unsustainable materials to match their personal affordability criteria which results in high carbon emission and greenhouses gases that adversely affects people’s lives. Smart Havens Africa Housing Products, offers, a "Whole Systems Design" to address the housing deficit sustainably. The SHA Passive House is bio-climatically designed using a green material Interlocking stabilized blocks technology &equipped with renewable energy to provide a Roof (referring to the development of appropriate Eco-friendly, housing within a local housing market),a Skill (i.e. supporting the training of masons and entrepreneurs), and a Market (creating economic opportunities by encouraging those involved in the housing market to take up this solution)

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Smart Havens Africa targets those on the Base of the pyramid especially women who earn between $51 to $250 per month,a segment served inadequately by both the public and private Sectors.One of Smart Havens Africa unique selling proposition is our growing league of young women who are trained in this male dominated field and Housing solutions that create green jobs and opportunities for women, masons, self-builders,For every woman that Smart Havens trains she is given the task to transfer the skill to a minimum of five other women in the community In So doing we are creating a network of Women skilled with building technology,We also provide opportunities for young women who want to take up a carrier in affordable housing sector by providing appropriate training and apprenticeship opportunities. Our housing solution ensures that our Clients can own an assert,enjoy stable lives,engage in meaningful employment &still maintain sufficient disposable income to meet other necessities of life

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

The idea is unique because we know of no other project in Uganda that is planning to engage women as vectors of peace &prosperity while at the same time addressing environmental degradation &extreme poverty,through sustainable housing.Homes built through Smart Havens Africa are environmentally sustainable as they are constructed from a green &ecological Carbon emission free Building Material SHA Eco Blocks &all are equipped to harvest rainwater,SHA products improves awareness of environmental issues,provides a healthy living environment &increases housing affordability principally for low-Moderate income families.The eco-technologies Used in SHA Housing contribute to the health,comfort &welfare of the beneficiaries,use of filters improves water quality,avoiding gastro-intestinal diseases,For every House that Smart Havens Africa Builds,we save 20 trees from Deforestation &create fifteen temporary Green jobs for women,Masons,Self-Builders &Unemployed youth.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Smart Havens Africa is a start-up affordable Housing Social enterprise with the mission of Ending Housing Poverty in Africa &creating thriving communities in which people can live, work,learn &play.We operate a social business model that is built on profit generation&social impact through Home ownership,financial inclusion &women empowerment.Building affordable &low cost homes is a key element of what we do,but we do a whole lot more!We put community needs at the heart of of every project We do

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered social enterprise.
  • Yes, we are a registered company.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

From a young age as a street vendor I have experienced first-hand how housing Poverty affect all areas of life. Via Smart Havens Africa, i am on a mission to provide Sustainable, Eco friendly and low cost affordable housing Solutions to low-income groups in Africa, starting with Uganda More on my story is found here

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

With a population of 69.2 % poor People living in poor housing,Uganda faces a whooping affordable Housing annual shortage of over 550,000 units in urban areas &about 1.3 million units in rural areas.Given the high poverty rates, High population growth and high rate of urbanization the demand for affordable housing far outweigh the supply &this makes housing built by private developers far out of reach of the majority of low income families.As a result, most Ugandan self-build their housing using semi-permanent &Unsustainable materials to match their personal affordability criteria which results in high carbon emission &greenhouses gases and environmental degradation that adversely affects people’s lives.While wide use of the traditional burnt brick causes mass deforestation across Africa,Smart Havens Africa’s blocks require no wood for firing.At least 20 of Africa’s increasingly rare mature trees are saved for every 5,000 ISSBs preserving the country’s fragile biodiversity

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Smart Havens Africa is the project lead, we will work with several community groups of women so as to achieve our objectives

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Smart Havens Africa uses ISSB appropriate building technologies in achieving its goal of ending Housing poverty in Africa. Interlocking Stabilized Soil blocks (ISSB) are unique due to their low cost and suitability for do-it-yourself manufacturing &construction,particularly in Uganda where labor is cheap. It offers pro-active &self-help opportunities to low-cost, community-level shelter provision:a simple technology requiring lower-level lower-level artisanal skills

Geographic Focus

The project will target women in Northern Uganda,especially those living within internally dispalced

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)


Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi @DeletedUser team, great to have you in the Challenge. Would love to learn a bit more about your model? How do you choose the communities you build in? How do you identify and train the women and other workers in your program? What are some of the successes to date you are proud of and what are some lessons learned?

Looking forward to learning more!

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Dear Ashley,
Thanks for your feedback and Question.At Smart Havens Africa We operate a social business model that is built on a triple bottom approach of financial, social and environment in the areas of job creation, Affordable housing, access to energy, Empowerment and assert ownership and community empowerment.We want to end housing poverty while creating Social Impact by providing Low cost Eco friendly and sustainable affordable housing solutions for vulnerable and low to moderate income people in Africa who are unable to secure long-term affordable housing in the market. We will not compete based on price only. We do not seek to be the “lowest price” service on the market. Our goal is to differentiate our business from the existing players in the market by competing based on “quality of service”, “Social impact” and “value to the customer.” Thus becoming the leader of affordable housing Solutions in Africa. Each new Client that signs up receives an integral housing solution that comprises of the following. Technical Support, Smart Havens Africa Ltd provides tailored technical advice to meet the specific housing needs of each participating low-income family. After Enrollment the client sets up an appointment with the technical advisor/architect for interview to discuss the proposed current and future build. Then SHA Advisor/architect together with the Participating families discuss their building needs and future plans; and evaluate each family’s financial situation. This is the stage that the client decides which Product to take-up. Either the SHA BUILD That Results in Options of renting to own or the SHA SELF BUILD that results in the ISSB Banking scheme, or the outright Homeownership.

For SHA Self Build Product Smart Havens Africa pioneers the Interlocking Stabilized Soil Blocks (ISSB) banking scheme: This is a pay-as-you-go-model whereby our clients are able to save and buy ISSB blocks on a monthly basis & when they have accumulated a sufficient amount for their purposes, the ISSB blocks are delivered for construction. Clients can save for package as low as US$10 to US$150 per month over a two to seven year period.

For SHA Build Product Smart Havens Africa helps people on low to moderate income to find an affordable home. This concept is where Smart Havens Africa constructs affordable Housing Using ISSB Appropriate Building technologies for rent. The scheme builds new houses and lets them to families at below market rents. Families have option of choosing whether to rent with an option to buy after a certain period or not. At the heart of the scheme is a financial mechanism which enables low to moderate income families to save up to buy a home whilst they are renting it. Part of the rent is retained and is available as a lump sum that is used as a deposit to buy the house.
We choose communities with the highest need of housing and those who form themselves into a group of 30.Through this we are bale to leverage the power of the community.Selection of the beneficiaries is done by puting into consideration such as level of previously training, those with no prior training in this building technology are selected
We have provided more than 3000 jobs to women and youth and this makes us proud.When people we employ in building of our homes are the ones owning them in the end it makes us believe in what we are doing.

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I really love what you do go a Head ����