A five-day orientation of key stakeholders on market development approach workshop that began on Sept 24, ended last Friday, September 28, at the National Housing Authority (NHA) headquarters in Monrovia.
The workshop was part of NHA and Habitat For Humanity International’s (HFHI) partnership project under the Cities Alliance Liberia Country Program, facilitated by HFHI’s Financial Inclusion and Capital Markets specialist from HFHI’s Terwilliger Centre for Innovation in Shelter for Europe, Middle East and Africa region, John Mucheru, supported by Matthew Ndote, the Chief of Party (COP) for Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) based in Liberia.
The orientation training commenced last Monday and formed part of ongoing capacity building projects and brought together participants drawn from the NHA’s Slum Upgrading Unit (SUU), other relevant NHA departments, Slum Dwellers International affiliate in Liberia, the YMCA, and members of the Federation of Urban Poor Savers.
During the orientation session with a team from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), the discussion centered on inclusive housing market development approach and housing microfinance loan creation for low-income households as part of HFHI’s role in the project; while NHA will continue to play an important coordination role across all relevant stakeholders.
Mr. Ndote said the role of Habitat for Humanity Internationals’ activities through LCP focuses on working with communities, public and private sector actors, to stimulate systemic change in the housing sector through creation of policy guidelines; capacity building of NHA to create safe shelter awareness among slum communities, capacity building of private sector actors to play a greater role in delivery of sustainable housing solutions and implementation of selected community projects and housing pilots.
He added that HFHI, through its Phase II Project titled “Facilitating increased access to affordable housing through inclusive market approaches”, is also focusing on testing viability, sustainability and availability of selected interventions at various levels that include policy and market development, while delivering institutional capacity building to public and private sectors as well as communities as a long-term sustainability strategy.
Mr. Mucheru also presented Terwilliger Centre for Innovation in Shelter’s analysis of the market context in relation to housing deficient, the worrying income levels of the majority of low income households and how inclusive market development approach can increase access to affordable housing for these households in the country via housing micro-finance product development.
He commended authorities of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and the country’s financial players for their current role in the sector, and encouraged partnership and collaboration as the way to maximize on existing synergies such as the micro build fund. The interactive forum generated interest from CBL officials at the meeting.
George Gould and Matthew Innis, who spoke on behalf of the CBL, expressed interest in the collaboration, and said the program would gain support since it falls within the policy of inclusive national development program of the government’s Pro-poor Agenda.
They both highly commended the HFHI for the impressive presentation and assured them of the government’s support and cooperation in making the program a success.
Other institutions to benefit from this week’s training activities include selected financial service providers, including commercial banks such as Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), ACCESS bank, microfinance institutions, credit unions and housing firms with innovative ideas.