Model & Strategy

6.4 million people in urban Kenya live in informal settlements without adequate housing that supports personal safety, safe water access, proper sanitation, and human health. Most of the structures that house low-income Kenyans are made of wood, mud, and/or metal, which are vulnerable to theft and to destruction from fire. One in two Nairobi residents, for example, lacks access to clean running water. Only 40% of Nairobi is connected to a sewerage system. Quality of housing and related infrastructure is not the only challenge: total supply is insufficient as well. Kenya faces a housing shortage of 200,000 units per year, and only 2% of formally constructed structures target low-income families.

Kwangu Kwako Limited (KKL) builds safe, affordable concrete structures that include electricity in every unit, as well as running water and sanitation facilities that are either shared among a small number of units, or fully private. They build both residential units and classrooms. KKL structures typically replace metal and wood or mud shanties, or bare-bones school buildings that lack electricity and sanitation. The anticipated lifetime of KKL’s structures, with proper maintenance, is 20-30+ years. Maintenance costs are actually reported to be lower than for low-cost shanties.

At a Glance
Founded: 2015
Systemic Poverty
Location of work: International, Africa
Kwangu Kwako
Nairobi, Kenya
Truly affordable housing
Meet Simon Dixon & Winnie Gitau

Simon Dixon is originally from the United Kingdom and has lived in Kenya for nearly a decade. Before co-founding Kwangu Kwako, he spent two years with Sanergy, which inspired him in part to address Kenya’s housing challenges. His background is in real estate and construction, project management, and NGO work.

Winnie Gitau hails from Kenya, with expertise in nonprofit and human services work. Before co-founding Kwangu Kwako, she worked with VSOJitolee, a Ford Foundation implementing partner, as a field worker with HIV/AIDS affected communities; and with the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

 

Impact

KKL built 18 units in 2019, rising to 39 units in 2020, and is projecting to build 118 units in 2021. These units are a mix of studios, classrooms, and community structures all located in the urban settlements in 2 cities in Kenya.

The total number of beneficiaries that will utilize these units is projected to be more than 20,000 by 2025 and are a mix of students in the classrooms and families in the home units.

KKL has received early recognition from several sources: they participated in Santa Clara University’s GSBI accelerator; Winnie participated in MIT D-Lab’s East Africa program in 2019 (and was their only female participant), and KKL was one of three winners of the Sankalp Africa prize in 2019.

  • RT @dlab_mit: Tune in to the Fourth Builders of Africa’s Future (BAF) event that celebrates innovation and impact in early-stage African en…
  • RT @AfricanDNetwork: Meet Winnie Gitau, co-founder of Kwangu Kwako. Kwangu Kwako is a social enterprise that builds safer, healthier, affo…
  • RT @CAHF_Africa: Excellent presentation and fascinating business model by @kwangu_kwako in #kenya. Simon Dixon has answered all the questio…
  • RT @AUHF_Housing: Excellent presentation and fascinating business model by @kwangu_kwako in #kenya. Simon Dixon has answered all the ques…
  • We build in the communities using local labour and suppliers. This again promotes the circular economy but also ens… https://t.co/DaXfcEQ8DM
  • Our manufacturing process uses Kenyan based materials and local teams ensuring we reinforce the circular economy an… https://t.co/JHX8ZNsKNw
  • With almost 90% of all reported cases of COVID-19 in urban areas and the close link between deprivation and infecti… https://t.co/OKqFU6O9Lu
  • We build these houses so that families and communities can create meaningful experiences and have the confidence to… https://t.co/LSG6c5u4ZU
  • A house will often be the most important asset a family can own.Even when ownership is not an option, rent can make… https://t.co/46z8FSQLBO
  • Our vision is to be the ultimate enabler to access safer, secure, dignified, and affordable homes to the under-serv… https://t.co/lWGwEDq4S8
  • "According to UN data, more than half of the population of the world’s developing economies live in cities. But the… https://t.co/VEHTpvf2Dy
  • RT @AUHF_Housing: Excellent, inspiring address by Shelter Afrique CEO and our AUHF Chairman at the 39th AGM & Symposium of Shelter Afrique.…
  • The housing affordability challenge became especially acute in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic when Government… https://t.co/LGm4u956Vv
  • "While there is great need in our communities, including for KKL’s product—affordable houses that will equally repe… https://t.co/U06NovUSPO
  • Our flexible designs can be adapted to suit any need e.g. schools, homes, kiosks, shops, offices, stores, etc. Do y… https://t.co/v64Og2yIjZ
  • "Are you inspired by our mission to provide affordable housing? Read on to see what it's like working with us."… https://t.co/L3Kn7e7znW
  • RT @ewb: Don't miss our Beyond Borders Impact Series: Alumni Spotlight Webinar tomorrow August 27th at 11AM ET. We're welcoming Alumni fr…
  • "KK is providing an opportunity for thousands in Nairobi to live in a safe home. To allow each individual to live a… https://t.co/uU9LKAm1Nn
  • Early this year we had a little fun with a useful purpose - test the strength of our panels. Check out the blog pos… https://t.co/PQ1BZf8h89