Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Habitat aims to stimulate the entrepreneurship ecosystem to ensure innovators and startups continue to innovate shelter solutions…
Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Habitat aims to stimulate the entrepreneurship ecosystem to ensure innovators and startups continue to innovate shelter solutions and attract and raise capital to grow their business. This program contributes to stimulating and nurturing ground-breaking affordable shelter solutions. Through the ShelterTech platform, the world’s leading platform for affordable housing innovation, Habitat implemented the first ever shelter-focused accelerator in the region in 2018, reaching over 30 innovators and investors in the African and Nordic investor ecosystem. Some start-ups coming out of the first ShelterTech accelerator have solutions ranging from recycling agricultural waste and plastics to housing products hence contributing to sustainable housing solutions. These entrepreneurs are then plugged into a global network of housing entrepreneurs. Ecosystem partners include BDO, Pangea Accelerators, iBiz Africa, The Kenya Industrial and Research Development Institute (KIRDI) among others.
Housing construction labour program: Habitat recognizes the important role that housing construction workers, commonly called fundis in Kenya, play in ensuring the quality of affordable housing. This intervention seeks to open up access by households to quality housing construction services while improving the job quality and conditions of the fundis who serve them, with a particular focus on youth and gender inclusivity. Habitat focuses on four main components: improving skills of workers; facilitating workers to competitively access descent jobs, stimulating demand for quality housing construction services; and addressing regulatory and policy changes that allows fundis to be recognised and certified based on prior knowledge and to enable them to participate freely in the market. Key partners include, technical vocational training institutes, for example, the YMCA’s National Industrial training colleges in Kenya, Toolkit/iSkills, market aggregators of construction services – iBuild Kenya, ToolKit iSkills, Eurofix, and policy and regulatory bodies – the Kenya Engineering Technology Registration Board – KETRB. Working with these partners, the programme has so far reached over 40,000 fundis.
Construction practices; Construction practices are key to the attainment of quality affordable housing for low income households. Through this programme, applies systems thinking, human centered design, and behavioral change approaches to influence the behavior of low-income households. We aim to trigger, consolidate and/or facilitate efforts, understanding, practices and learning on social norms, practices and attitudes that underpin construction practices. Our programme strategy is to support and work with key stakeholders in the housing market to understand and influence behaviors, policies and promote innovations in favour of practices that foster effectiveness, efficiency, durability, quality and ultimately cost saving for low-income households. Key interventions in this programme are focusing on: supporting material manufacturers, through funding and technical assistance, to innovate affordable and durable construction materials that will serve the owner driven construction market and enable low income households build quality homes, collaboratively working with built environment professionals and professional bodies to develop quality standards and tailor their advice to households on quality, durable and affordable materials and technologies , working with key stakeholders in the built environment, including professional bodies and health practitioners to develop and promote solutions and advice on healthy housing practices and influencing behaviours in favour of construction best practices that foster effectiveness, efficiency, durability, quality and affordability. The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the call to shelter in place has provided sharper focus on our Construction Practices work on Housing and health. Current efforts include designs and interventions to vector proof the house.
Our partners include The Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK), Innocentive, Mycotile, Start Somewhere, Gjenge and Makiga among many others.
Housing behavior change: For low-income families, living on $5-10 a day, the housing challenge is exacerbated by limited capacity and information to navigate the complex housing environment. They mostly rely on unskilled laborers, or fundis, for their entire construction or house improvement process since professional services are out of reach due to cost. This option comes with various challenges for households, including not being in control of the end results due to information gaps, difficulties in choosing appropriate materials, technologies, cash flow, ballooning costs and general challenges in managing fundis. This program works with partners on multiple strategies to address knowledge, uptake and use of available and emerging housing solutions and products. Habitat is currently working with media companies in Kenya to raise awareness and seeking to influence behaviours. In 2020, Kenya’s Nation Media Group through their television channel NTV included six episodes on incremental construction practices and materials into its popular evening show The Wicked Edition. This program has reached more than 9 million Kenyans over several months.