Irfan

Ashoka Fellow
Kenya,
Fellow Since 2012
Karibu Homes

Citation

This profile was prepared when Irfan Keshavjee was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Irfan’s Karibu Homes is closing the housing gap through partnerships with developers, construction firms, banks, and insurance providers in order to drop the costs of building and financing a home. By doing this, he is able to achieve economies of scale and supply affordable housing at an unprecedented scale, something no other organization has achieved due to the high upfront costs. The houses have been designed to include income-generating potential that can contribute to family income and mortgage payments. All houses have an additional room that can be rented or used for a small business. Most importantly, all home owners have a stake in the ownership and management of the larger community. Karibu Homes provides an underserved group with the opportunity to enjoy a better quality of life (i.e. safety, access to better sanitation, and education services) with an asset that could provide the foundation to create wealth for themselves and their children.

Irfan has employed a number of creative project financing strategies, including the innovation of an investment facility, and the Affordable Housing Bond, to mobilize inexpensive and patient capital from social investors committed to the social impact of this project rather than its potential profits. In addition to achieving economies of scale through the sheer size of the Karibu Homes project, he has further reduced construction costs per house by designing contractual agreements that incentivize inexpensive and creative building solutions.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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