Micro-finance Funds Africa’s First Eco-town
United Kingdom, September, 15 2009 -
Some 2,500 families from the slums of Nairobi are set to move into Africa’s first purpose built environmentally friendly town.
Kaputei, currently being built 36 kilometres outside Nairobi, was funded by micro-finance group the Jamii Bora Trust.
The town will be virtually self-sufficient with its own water supply, power supply, primary school, and other services.
Houses in the town are built from cinderblocks and red clay tiles made on site, providing local employment and saving money on transporting supplies.
Many of the families moving into the town are from Nairobi’s Kibera slum, Africa’s largest informal settlement.
Most people living in Kibera earn less than a dollar a day and have no access to electricity or running water.
The Jamii Bora Trust is a Ugandan micro-finance company that gives loans to the poorest of the poor to help them set up small businesses to work their way out of poverty.
The Trust partnered with US-based non-profit microfinance group Unitus to help fund the new town.
Unitus president Ed Bland said the project is “very, very innovative”.
“It shows another element of the rung of a ladder out of poverty,” he said.
“One of the last ones is housing, and really robust housing. So that is what the Kaputei project is.”