Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

Smart Havens Africa

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What is the name of your solution?

Climate smart Homes for Women

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Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

This project aims to Provide access to climate smart affordable homes for low income families while creating social and environmental impact.

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Film your elevator pitch.

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What specific problem are you solving?

In most African countries, owning a home is nearly impossible for women headed families. High costs and low incomes shut these women out of the
formal financial markets and limit their access to finance and land tenure making it hard for them to buy or build a home. Many pay a high proportion of their income in rent and are trapped in poverty as a result.

Take for example one of our clients Angela, 29 years old, a
single mother, who used to rent a one-bedroom apartment in a low income neighborhood with her 5 children.She relied on public transportation to commute long hours to and from work. She earned UGX 2,000,000 per month (approx. $18 per day), barely enough to cover rent, food, school fees, and daily transport. Angela spent most of her income on paying rent and
 little was left for her family.Angela is educated and employed, yet shewas financially and housing insecure. She applied for a mortgage at several banks to build a house on a small plot of land she owns. Because of her low-income and lack of collateral, she was offered loans with high interest rates that she could not afford.
Angela tried accumulating savings with the goal of paying a mason to construct a house on her land. She saved $1,369 in over 25 months, but after months of searching she could not identify a reliable mason for her project.
Angela learned about Smart Havens Africa through her friend that had already purchased a home from the organization.
She submitted her application and was approved for a two-bedroom house that was constructed for her by young women and men that SHA trained to become skilled masons. In the process, 25 long term jobs at livable wage for underserved young women and men were created.A path out of poverty for Angela had begun. SHA provided Angela and all SHA home builders with property management and financial skills empowering Angela to make financial decisions and the builders to manage their new income. She now owns a home worth $14,500 and has seen a $2,500 increase in equity annually from payments she puts towards her home and increase in annual income as a result of paying less on her rent to own payments vs rent.

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What is your solution?

In the last 3 years, we have been testing and refining a unique model that we believe is evolving towards a solution to SDG 11, and that will help solve the
housing crisis that leaves millions of low-income women and families across Uganda housing insecure and remaining in poverty. These are the countless poor, mostly mothers, who fall into long term indebtedness due to taking out high-risk loans on mortgages they can’t repay, or are constantly pushed out of their rental homes due to volatile rent hikes they cannot predict nor control.

Our unique model is comprised of three innovations that enables SHA to achieve its mission

RENT-TO-OWN FINANCING
We offer a financing option, proven to effectively serve poor women, to enable our customers to achieve home-ownership without falling into over-indebtedness from expensive bank loans or to high-risk lenders in the community.
CLIMATE-FRIENDLY, AFFORDABLE BUILDING MATERIALS
We press eco-friendly, durable bricks on site that results in homes that are high in quality, affordable, and good for the planet.

SKILLS TRAINING & JOB CREATION FOR POOR WOMEN &YOUTH
A major barrier to affordable home ownership for the poor is the lack of skilled masons. SHA trains and employs women and youth in the local community on masonry, construction and building skills, safety, financial literacy and property management that earn them long term (often permanent) higher-wage jobs and a pathway out of poverty.

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Our target customer segment is urban households especially those headed by women between the ages of 25-45,earning between $2-$8 per day.They typically live in slums and Urban centres,have 1-5 young children,are educated & employed or entrepreneurs.

Neither the public nor private sectors meet their housing needs.They are dissatisfied with their current home because of lack of space,poor conditions,Expensive & uncertain rents.They want a solution like ours that delivers:
Savings & income stability
Better health
Leads to Asset ownership
Enhanced personal image
Personal growth &job opportunities
Reduction of carbon-emission &
improvement on environment in which to safely raise their children

Our unique model can achieve our long term vision: to provide a sustainable, affordable pathway to homeownership for millions of low-income women and families across Uganda (and eventually Africa), while creating new high-skilled jobs in the fast-growing construction sector.

Specifically we achieve the following for low-income women and youth:

FINANCIAL STABILITY:Rent-to-own financing ensures affordable home-ownership within 2-8 years giving SHA customers the ability to save and build credit history for future borrowing.

• Impact Metric: SHA customers increased savings by an average $2,500 per year, due to no longer spending on higher rent. In addition they are earning equity on their new home.
• Underserved low-income women own a home without having to take an expensive bank loan.
• More first time women headed low-income families become
homeowners.

NEW HIGHWAGE JOBS
New high-wage jobs in the construction sector for low-income women and youth.
• On average, after 1 year SHA masons increase their income by 46.3% (up from $684 /year to $1,476/year).
• 25 (11 direct and 13 indirect) jobs created for women and youth per build.


QUALITY OF LIFE

Often for the first time, SHA customers are giving their children a safe, dignified home where they are not at risk of the mental health toll of constant upheaval and housing insecurity.


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How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

At Smart Havens Africa, we have always had impact measurement at the core of our business strategy. As an organization that contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals 1 - No Poverty 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities | Target 11.1 - Ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services

we defined and started tracking metrics from the beginning:

  • Number of secure and affordable houses built
  • Number of jobs created for women and youth
  • Number of lives impact with secure and affordable homes

However, in 2021 we decided to take a big step and improve our impact strategy with the support of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University and Sopact. Together, we defined a systematic process to gather outcome-oriented feedback from homeowners and workers. With the learnings from this first data collection cycle, we will continue to improve our process and dig deeper into our learnings.


Details on My Story and Motivation
Anne's story
When my father died leaving no will, my family were kicked off our home by relatives. For many years we were practically homeless. My mum fought for her rightful ownership of our home but eventually gave up. It affected our education, health &feeding.

This inspired me to become a Female civil engineer, to create housing-opportunities for people like my mum.

Despite qualifying to-study-civil-engineering at-Uganda’s prestigious Makerere-University, I couldn’t afford the fees since my mum was spending most of her hard to earn, earnings on rent. To spare my already over-worked mother, I settled for a government sponsored degree in industrial design

Although I never fulfilled my dream of becoming a female civil engineer, it gave me an Intimate passion & Desire to help women like my mother and this led me to found Smart Havens Africa

I want my story & experience to inspire others to follow their passions and drive change in the world.

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Enable mass production of inexpensive and low-carbon housing, including changes to design, materials, and construction methods.

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Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Wakiso, Uganda
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Our solution's stage of development:

Scale
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How many people does your solution currently serve?

Since we started three years ago, we have built 68 affordable homes, created 1,700 jobs, ensured 500 low-income individuals are living in safe, affordable housing, saved 3,400 of Africa’s rare trees, and transferred $1.5B USD worth of assets to women.

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Why are you applying to Solve?

In the last 3 years, we have been testing and refining a unique model that we believe is evolving towards a solution to SDG 11, and that will help solve the
housing crisis that leaves millions of low-income women and families across Uganda housing insecure and remaining in poverty. These are the countless
poor, mostly mothers, who fall into long term indebtedness due to taking out high-risk loans on mortgages they can’t repay, or are constantly pushed
out of their rental homes due to volatile rent hikes they cannot predict nor control.

Since we started three years ago, we have built 68 affordable homes, created 1,700 jobs, ensured 500 low-income individuals are living in safe, affordable
housing, saved 3,400 of Africa’s rare trees, and transferred $1.5B USD worth of assets to women.

We’re on to something big, and we need your support to help us further develop our model and impacts, and push us into the growth stage by 2025. We invite you to learn about our funding opportunity over the next 4 years, that will enable us to rapidly grow our business and impacts, lifting poor households, women and youth out of poverty through home ownership across Uganda and eventually Africa

SHA is seeking $3,500,000 in grant funding for this 3-year period to carry out activities that are essential to evolving from early stage of testing and refining our model and impacts, to growth and expansion:

In Addition to the financial support requested the key barriers are demand generationer lack capability in consumer research (important for improving our housing design for example) and in marketing strategy. We wish to build a strong brand identity for SHA and use that to help guide our marketing and communication with our target audience,We wish to understand our target audience better and gain deeper insights into their needs and drivers as this will support our scale.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

Public Relations (e.g. branding/marketing strategy, social and global media)

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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Anne K Rweyora

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More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Existing options are traditional builders &contractors that are expensive,use burnt brick that harms the environment,rent homes indefinitely &leave customer with little or no savings &no clear path to economic &personal growth.Our solution provides a unique pathway to homeownership &the tools to gaining financial security for women.

With our model one can own a 2BH house at $5K as compared to $45K on the market

While use of traditional burnt brick causes mass deforestation,our blocks require no wood for firing.At least 50 trees are saved on every home built

Unlike traditional builders,for every home built we create 25 jobs for women,each receiving a $2,500 increase in income per year

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What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

in the next three years our goal is to build 602 homes impacting 4,426 women and children.

Here is our plan to achieve this.

2022: ENHANCING THE CONDITIONS REQUIRED FOR SCALING
Key Activities:
Build and sell 140 new homes, stimulate customer awareness and demand while building organizational capability to scale (systems, talent, plat, etc.) and introduce a loyalty and referral program that sustains client retention and triggers word of mouth.
End Milestones:
• Demonstrated evidence to build and sell 140 quality affordable homes and strong customer awareness, as well as demand measured vis qualified customer wait list of at least 25% of following year home sale goal.
• On time payment performance of 85% of payments; 20% of sales referred by current customers.
• Necessary organization systems to be evaluated include Salesforce Customer Relationship Management System and QuickBooks

2023: EXPAND SERVICES & DEVELOP SUPPLY CHAINS
Key Activities:
Build and sell 217 new homes, introduce end user finance in collaboration with other financial institutions like banks while developing both upstream and downstream supply chains and implement the marketing strategy.
End Milestones:
• Defined supply chain with at least 90% of building materials being locally sourced and at least three signed off take contracts with financial institutions to purchase SHA rent-to own contracts.
• A revised range of products that are more tailored to local preferences and affordability constraints of our customers.


2024: ACCELERATE GROWTH
Key Activities:
Build and sell 245 homes and expand into four new regions manage stakeholder engagements essential for growth, and enhance organization systems and processes, investing in assets and talent.
End Milestones:
• Ready to roll out the validated model to sustainably start reaching over 1,000+ customers yearly starting in 2025.
• Achieve home sales of 85% of new built developments in each of these new regions



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How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

At Smart Havens Africa, we have always had impact measurement at the core of our business strategy. As an organization that contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals 1 - No Poverty 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities | Target 11.1 - Ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services

we defined and started tracking metrics from the beginning:

  • Number of secure and affordable houses built
  • Number of jobs created for women and youth
  • Number of lives impact with secure and affordable homes

However, in year 2021 we decided to take a big step and improve our impact strategy with the support of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University and Sopact. Together, we defined a systematic process to gather outcome-oriented feedback from homeowners and workers. With the learnings from this first data collection cycle, we will continue to improve our process and dig deeper into our learnings.

Visit our live impact dashboard to learn more about the the people who buy and build our homes and how SHA improves their lives available HERE http://impactcloudv3.sopact.co...

and also our 2021 impact report is available on this link https://shafrica.org/sha-impac...

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What is your theory of change?

Our theory of change below 

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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Two innovations enable us to build affordable homes in a way that solves the current problem,creates jobs,&protects the environment.Our innovation combines low cost building technology with a novel financing mechanism (rent to own).We also employ women as masons to help improve their incomes.

Our technical innovation is a unique building technology that presses on-site locally available materials under optimum moisture to produce an interlocking soil-stabilized brick(ISSB) that cuts costs by 5o% has a lower environmental footprint &speeds up construction. 

 

ISSBs are superior to conventional burnt bricks(BBs) in several ways.They are:   

Stronger - dry compressive strength is over 80% higher. 

Lower impact-embodied energy  (at 5% cement )is 35% lower 

Cheaper-cost  is 50% lower,  

Higher Quality-do not require plastering  

Faster construction time is 10times  less –one unit can be built in a week 


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Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Materials Science
  • Software and Mobile Applications
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 4. Quality Education
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 13. Climate Action
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Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

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How many people work on your solution team?

12

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How long have you been working on your solution?

3 years

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What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

We are an inclusive organization.Our team is comprised of talents with experience in sector and with different cultural backgrounds;

Our board is comprised of talent from different backgrounds as well as etnicity and of different colour.

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Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Our unique model is comprised of three innovations that enables SHA to
achieve its mission:

RENT-TO-OWN FINANCING
We offer a financing option, proven to effectively serve poor women, to enable our customers to achieve home-ownership without falling into over-indebtedness from expensive bank loans or to high-risk lenders in the community.

CLIMATE-FRIENDLY, AFFORDABLE BUILDING MATERIALS
We press eco-friendly, durable bricks on site that results in homes that are high in quality, affordable, and good for the planet.

SKILLS TRAINING & JOB CREATION FOR POOR WOMEN & YOUTH
A major barrier to affordable home ownership for the poor is the lack of skilled masons. SHA trains and employs women and youth in the local community on masonry, construction and building skills, safety, financial literacy and property management that earn them long term (often permanent) higher-wage jobs and a pathway out of poverty.

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What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

SHA earns revenue from outright sales and from rent-to-own payments.

• Rent-to-Own-Payment are $65-$270 USD/ month; SHA takes 40% of every rent-toown-monthly payment (thus ensuring our eventual profitability) while 60% is applied toward the customer’s home ownership.
• 40% of all SHA homes built are sold outright for $10,000-$15,000. SHA earns 30-53% gross margin.

SHA forecasts earned revenue will cover all program costs when 602new homes are sold. This will further enable SHA to unlock the construction of
3,300 homes between 2025 and 2028. At that time, SHA will continue to fundraise for grants to cover the costs of ongoing M&E, R&D, and expansion into higher-need areas or demographics.

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Share some examples of how your plan to achieve financial sustainability has been successful so far.

Since our establishment in 2018, we grown our revenues from $0 to $200,000 Annual recuring revenues for the next 8 years.

We have secured a total $750,000 in funding since our establishment, both in grants and debt.

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Solution Team

 
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