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MicroBuild: Helping thousands of families obtain decent housing

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Countries: Worldwide
Sector: Affordable housing
Challenge: Millions of people throughout the developing world lack access to formal financial services, which presents several challenges in the way they live and work, including limiting their ability to buy a home. While microfinance institutions have long provided loans to low-income families to support their businesses or help cover living expenses, they have not typically provided loans to purchase homes.

Solution: Habitat for Humanity is a 30-year old nonprofit that builds homes for low-income families around the world. In 2012 it started the MicroBuild Fund with a simple mission: to make more capital and technical assistance available to families in need of decent housing.

In 2012, OPIC provided a $45 million loan to MicroBuild and in 2015, OPIC committed an additional $45 million to MicroBuild to support additional lending.

Impact: As of December 2015, OPIC financing has supported 29 loans to microfinance institutions totaling $45.8 million, which have in turn provided more than 47,000 loans to individual borrowers, more than half of them women, in 19 countries from Azerbaijan to Zambia.

With an expansion of the project it is expected that the loans will directly benefit at least 120,000 families (an estimated 600,000 individuals) and will enable MicroBuild to expand its lending portfolio from 19 countries to as many as 52 countries in Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

In Nicaragua, for example, MicroBuild financing to local microfinance lenders have helped more than 6,000 households and 30,000 individuals build basic homes like the one pictured above, or improve their homes. In Bosnia, this financing supported by MicroBuild has helped about 500 families to make energy efficiency investments such as installing insulation or new windows and doors. And in Cambodia, this financing has supported the construction and improvement of more than 700 homes.

This project was profiled in 2016