In the low-income and underserved communities that we target, housing is often of low quality and overcrowded, with poor sanitation, insulation and ventilation. Many of these areas face high vulnerability to natural disasters or are in conflict zones that expose housing to further hazards and damage. AKAM institutions offer loans for the refurbishment and renovation of homes, contributing to genuine improvements in the quality of life of deprived families.
The First MicroFinance Bank Afghanistan (FMFB-A) introduced home improvement loans in 2008. With the support of the International Finance Corporation, FMFB-A developed a housing microfinance toolkit that is now used as a reference across the region. In 2009, with initial support from USAID and in collaboration with the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, Pakistan (AKPBS,P), FMFB-A introduced free construction advisory services paired with its housing loans to promote better-quality construction. This included seismic retrofitting, energy efficiency, sanitation and proper ventilation. With technical support from AKPBS,P, FMFB-A developed guidelines for the construction and retrofitting of non-engineered buildings. FMFB-A hired Technical Officers to provide construction advisory services based on these guidelines and developed a rural housing product.
In 2017, with support from Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) respectively, FMFB-A and First Microcredit Company-Kyrgyzstan introduced targeted loans for energy-efficient housing upgrades, paired with guidance on best practices and context-appropriate solutions.
AKAM’s affiliates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Tajikistan offer housing finance with an estimated total housing portfolio of US$ 30 million. They serve 30,000 clients – 30 percent of whom are women and 45 percent of whom are in rural areas.