Habitat for Humanity invests in Cambodian water-access startup TapEffect

Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter announced today a US$300,000 equity investment in TapEffect, a Cambodia-based startup which provides clean and affordable tap water to underserved rural and semi-rural communities. The investment also marks the fifth anniversary of Habitat’s Shelter Venture Fund, launched in 2017 to accelerate innovative startups tackling affordable housing challenges worldwide.
It is estimated that 110 million people in Southeast Asia lack access to safe drinking water. In Cambodia, one third of the population rely on water from impure sources. TapEffect, founded in 2018, started from the desire to bring safe water to rural communities in Cambodia, while addressing the systemic barriers often faced by local providers, such as set-up costs and ongoing maintenance. The company designs, builds and operates self-sustaining piped water systems that can each support more than 10,000 people, and uses Internet of Things technology for remote monitoring and payment management, which reduces cost and increases operational efficiencies.

TapEffect offers a market-based solution where families pay a fraction of the cost for water compared to bottled or truck-in water options. Their initial demonstration system, built in 2020, serves over 14,000 people in 19 villages, and connects 12 schools and two healthcare facilities to clean and safe water.

“TapEffect’s model combines technology, engineering and blended finance to create a holistic approach that can be easily replicated. By employing local contractors and construction teams, we also build capacity within local communities,” said Hourt Vuthy, general manager at TapEffect. “We have been partnering with Habitat for Humanity since joining the ShelterTech Southeast Asia accelerator in 2020. The investment will help to bring the solution to more families across the region who still lack access to clean water and sanitation.” TapEffect is also an investee of World Hope Social Ventures, which supports market-based, community-driven enterprise solutions.

Habitat’s Shelter Venture Fund aims to nurture businesses with solutions that can improve housing conditions for low-income families. “We realized that high-potential enterprises often face a pioneer gap in their early stages of growth, when they are considered too risky by impact investors,” said Luis Noda, Habitat for Humanity’s Asia-Pacific vice president. “Through the Fund, we also send a message to the market that profitable opportunities exist in supporting entrepreneurs that are driving social change through innovation.”

Twelve startups have received investments from the Shelter Venture Fund to date globally, supporting over 5 million people in accessing improved housing-related products and services. The portfolio includes Tvasta – builder of India’s first 3D-printed house; Meridia – which uses mobile-based technology to improve land documentation and tenure security in Africa and Asia; and BURN – which impacts lives and the environment through the design, manufacturing and distribution of clean-burning cook stoves.

Since its launch, Shelter Venture Fund investees have catalyzed over US$34 million in further investments. At present, 40% of the portfolio focuses on solutions that are less damaging to the environment than market alternatives, such as water saving and reduced carbon emission technologies. The 12 ventures are also responsible for the creation of over 600 jobs in the locations where they operate.

About Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter

The Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, a unit of Habitat for Humanity International, works with housing market systems by supporting local firms and expanding innovative and client-responsive services, products and financing so that households can improve their shelter more effectively and efficiently. The ultimate goal of the Terwilliger Center’s market systems program is to make housing markets work more effectively for people in need of decent, affordable shelter, thereby improving the quality of life for low-income households. To learn more, visit habitat.org/tcis.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in South Georgia, U.S.A. Since its founding in 1976, the housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 70 countries. In the Asia-Pacific region since 1983, Habitat for Humanity has supported millions of people to build or improve a place they can call home. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit habitat.org/asiapacific.

To set up interviews, receive photos or further information, please contact:
Julia Ferraz
jferraz@habitat.org
+852 61001806






Topic: Press release summary

Habitat for Humanity’s youth supporters in Asia-Pacific return to on-site volunteering for the first time in two years

Supporters across the Asia-Pacific region started volunteering over the weekend on Habitat for Humanity sites in their home countries to mark the culmination of its 2022 Young Leaders Build campaign. This marks the first time the housing nonprofit hosted in-person youth volunteers in its build sites since the coronavirus pandemic began.
“Over the last two years, the youth responded creatively as the health and economic fallouts due to the global pandemic took a toll on everyone. Working virtually with Habitat for Humanity, they helped vulnerable families and communities to stay safe in decent shelter. We are excited to welcome young volunteers back on our build sites, following local health protocols in areas where the spread of the pandemic is controlled, to build and repair homes alongside local families in need,” said Luis Noda, Vice-President for Asia-Pacific, Habitat for Humanity International.

In Indonesia and the Philippines, long-term Habitat volunteers trained their peers about the importance of building decent, affordable housing. In Cambodia, volunteers are expected to build and repair at least four houses later this week.

Volunteers in the Asia-Pacific region also used virtual spaces to raise awareness of COVID-19 safety and the links between health and housing. They will continue to raise funds to support Habitat’s mission in the region.

“A house is where all of your basic needs are met. But sadly, a lot of people still don’t have access to adequate housing. This is where we as youth should come together to increase awareness of the situation and work to solve the housing problem in our community, country and all around the world,” said Monica Hartono, a volunteer from Indonesia. Together with fellow students from Wardaya College, she implemented Project: Home, virtual fundraising sessions in support of families in need of decent homes.

In December 2021, young leaders launched the 2022 campaign with the #VolunteeringisViral Challenge, a social media-based activity that aimed to highlight the power of volunteering to inspire action for good.

In the four months since the annual campaign’s launch, thousands of supporters have hosted and attended learning events about the housing needs in Asia-Pacific and their respective countries, supported disaster response efforts, assisted older people in cleaning and repairing homes. They also advocated for more support and funding for the housing sector. In addition, supporters have used crowdfunding sites in support of various Habitat projects in 10 countries and one special administrative region and assisted in fundraising events.

Since 2012, over 17 million supporters have raised US$9.2 million, enabling more than 33,300 families to achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. While the 2022 campaign peaks in end-April, the momentum will continue as youth groups and volunteers are expected to participate in Habitat’s upcoming global advocacy campaign.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in U.S.A. Since its founding in 1976, the housing organization has grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 70 countries. In the Asia-Pacific region since 1983, Habitat for Humanity has supported millions of people to build or improve a place they can call home. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit habitat.org/asiapacific.

About Habitat for Humanity Young Leaders Build

Since 2012, Habitat for Humanity Young Leaders Build brings together youth from across the Asia Pacific region to support people and families in need of decent housing. Every young person volunteering, fundraising, raising awareness and adding their voices in support of affordable housing can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. The movement encourages youth to take the lead and motivate their peers to create societal changes by building homes and communities, on a Habitat build site and/or online through their social networks.

For further information, please contact Ms. Angeli Alba-Pascual, AAlba@habitat.org, +63 920 956 3376, or Ms. Michele Soh, MSoh@habitat.org, +65 9233 1544. Please find a short video on the call for youth volunteers to support Habitat for Humanity’s mission, www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMC8LyQL_Sc.






Topic: Press release summary

Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter Leads Transformational Investment to Increase Affordable Housing in India

As the 3D printed construction market grows, startups and nonprofits alike are beginning to leverage advances in concrete 3D printing technology to address the affordable housing crisis. Recently, Habitat for Humanity International through its Shelter Venture Fund invested $411,000 in Tvasta Manufacturing Solutions Ltd. to increase production of affordable 3D printed homes in India. Hestia Partners and Capnetic Investments joined Habitat in investing in the construction technology startup.

Habitat’s investment in Tvasta builds on a multi-year collaboration, beginning when the company was one of seven startups to participate in Habitat’s ShelterTech India accelerator program in 2018. ShelterTech accelerators bridge the gap between housing innovation and real-world impact.

3D printed construction technology offers the potential for faster, more cost-efficient and resilient housing in high-income countries as well as emerging markets. Construction of Tvasta’s first 3D printed home, completed in late-2020, generated less waste and was completed faster than traditional methods.

“The pandemic has only exacerbated the affordable housing crisis, with rising demand as well as material costs. Through the Shelter Venture Fund, Habitat is helping ensure that the most promising, disruptive technologies achieve scale, expanding affordable housing markets to reach more low-income families in need of reliable housing,” said Patrick Kelley, vice president of Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter.

According to UN-Habitat, an estimated 1.6 billion people lack adequate housing today, with global demand for affordable housing growing by 4000 units every hour. In order to reach more low-income households, Tvasta is working with the Government of India through its “Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana” (Housing for All) initiative, which aims to build 20 million urban and rural homes for low-income families by 2022.

Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter launched the Shelter Venture Fund in 2017 to invest in shelter entrepreneurs operating in the pioneer gap – where early-stage companies are often considered too new or too risky for conventional venture capital firms. The intent is to accelerate those entrepreneurs’ pathways to reaching low-income families with products and services that improve their housing conditions. To date, the Shelter Venture Fund has invested a total of $3 million in 11 startups with disruptive and innovative products and services.

To set up interviews, receive photos or for further information, contact Michele Soh msoh@habitat.org, +6 9233 1544. Link to the web version – habitat.org/ap/about/newsroom

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in U.S.A. Since its founding in 1976, the housing organization has grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 70 countries. In the Asia-Pacific region since 1983, Habitat for Humanity has supported millions of people to build or improve a place they can call home. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit habitat.org/asiapacific.

About Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter

The Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, a unit of Habitat for Humanity International, works with housing market actors to expand innovative and client-responsive services, products and financing so that households can improve their shelter more effectively and efficiently. The goal of the Terwilliger Center is to make housing markets work more effectively for people in need of decent, affordable shelter, thereby improving the quality of life for low-income households. To learn more, visit habitat.org/tcis.


Topic: Press release summary

Habitat for Humanity Report: Construction is Vast Source of Jobs in Emerging Markets

The construction industry — led by homebuilding — is a large, often-overlooked source of jobs in emerging market economies, according to a report (https://www.habitat.org/sites/default/files/documents/A-Ladder-Up_Report.pdf) released today by Habitat for Humanity to mark World Habitat Day. Every $1 million in construction output creates an average of 97 jobs in emerging markets, economists at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Southern California, and the University of Washington found in the report commissioned by Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter. That compares to 81 jobs created per $1 million in agricultural output and 96 jobs per $1 million in output in the accommodation and food services sector, according to the report, which focuses on 9 countries: Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, and Uganda. Graphics below.
“Investment in residential construction represents a potential win-win-win in emerging markets because it creates such a large number of jobs locally, helps close stubborn gaps in affordable housing and stimulates the larger economy,” said Patrick Kelley, vice president of Habitat’s Terwilliger Center. “These findings are critically important for low- and middle-income countries deciding what areas to prioritize as they work to build back economies weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in a world where 1.6 billion people still lack adequate shelter.”

The report, titled “A Ladder Up: The construction sector’s role in creating jobs and rebuilding emerging market economies,” (https://www.habitat.org/sites/default/files/documents/A-Ladder-Up_Report.pdf) also provides evidence that many of those jobs go to workers with lower levels of formal education. These are relatively well-paying jobs compared to other employment options for workers with limited educational attainment, the researchers found.

Construction workers in emerging markets often work outside of formal, regulated channels, according to the report, with informal employment representing 50% of construction workers in South Africa to more than 90% of those workers in countries such as India, Indonesia and Uganda. Residential construction dominates the sector, the report found. In Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, for example, residential construction accounts for more than 80% of total building construction.

The researchers also concluded that measures to improve the working conditions and on-the-job training of construction workers can help urban areas — including those hit hard by the pandemic — develop in a more sustainable, equitable way.

For further information, request for graphics, visuals or arrange an interview, please contact Michele Soh, msoh@habitat.org, +65 9233 1544.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

About Habitat’s Terwilliger Center

The Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, a unit of Habitat for Humanity International, works with housing market actors to expand innovative and client-responsive services, products and financing so that households can improve their shelter more effectively and efficiently. The goal of the Terwilliger Center is to make housing markets work more effectively for people in need of decent, affordable shelter, thereby improving the quality of life for low-income households. To learn more, visit habitat.org/tcis.


Topic: Press release summary

Habitat for Humanity: Innovation Awards at the Virtual Asia-Pacific Housing Forum to Promote Winning Sustainable Solutions for Affordable Housing

The Asia-Pacific Housing Forum’s Innovation Awards recognize and celebrate innovators and disruptors in the affordable housing sector. Startup and scaleup companies, policymakers and advocates, architects and engineers are invited to submit sustainable and practical solutions for affordable housing.
“The Asia-Pacific region faces complex housing challenges, compounded by rapid urbanization, natural and human-made disasters, the negative effects of climate change, and persistent poverty and inequality,” said Luis Noda, Asia-Pacific vice president of Habitat for Humanity. “We need everyone working together and every possible creative solution that is locally adapted to address the housing deficit.”

“The recognition allowed us to expand our circle of influence, created more awareness about our advocacy in the community and open more opportunities to help others,” said Paulette Liu, president of SKILLS and a 2019 Innovation Awards winner.

The Innovation Awards (visit aphousingforum.org/innovation-awards) underscores the importance of strategic collaboration, specifically by multiple sector partnerships that foster innovations. The Awards are organized by Habitat for Humanity in collaboration with the Hilti Foundation, Whirlpool and the European Union-funded SWITCH-Asia SCP Facility.

There are three award categories: ShelterTech, Public Policies, and Inspirational Practices. The ShelterTech category seeks technology innovations (product & services) led by the private sector; while the Policies category promotes innovative public policies across all government levels to help reduce the housing deficit while taking into consideration specific needs of minorities, vulnerable and marginalized populations. The third category recognizes practices from public or public-private partnerships that contribute to improved communities and settlements and increased access to affordable housing for the most disadvantaged segments of society.

A special Sustainability Award, sponsored by the SWITCH-Asia SCP Facility, will be given to the innovator who will score highest in showcasing scalable solutions for sustainable housing, regardless of the category. The EU and its SWITCH-Asia Programme recognize the critical importance of the housing sector to sustainable consumption and production, and promote sustainable housing and buildings as part of their support for green, circular economies in its 24 target countries in Asia.

“For Asian countries to achieve more sustainable consumption and production in the housing and building sector, it is vital that we heed diverse experiences and adapt these to local realities. The SCP Award will showcase one solution that is particularly inspiring, and we are looking forward to supporting its winner in connecting with EU SWITCH-Asia stakeholders,” said Zaida Fadeeva, Team Leader of the SCP Facility.

The top 12 finalists will get to present their ideas in front of a jury panel and the public during the virtual Innovation Awards Grand Premiere on December 1. Winners will be announced on December 8, 2021 during the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum. Each winner will receive a trophy and a US$ 5,000 cash prize. Deadline for submission is September 12, 2021.

The Forum, with the theme “Building forward better for inclusive housing,” includes program tracks on resilient cities and communities, innovative housing solutions and technologies, sustainability in the housing sector, and financing affordable housing. It includes a training course on land tenure and markets and a youth congress that will highlight the need for decent, affordable housing and the ways in which the youth can contribute to addressing the housing challenge.

Register for complimentary access to the fully virtual Asia-Pacific Housing Forum at aphousingforum.org.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort and has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 70 countries. In the Asia Pacific region since 1983, Habitat for Humanity has supported millions of people to build or improve a place they can call home. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit habitat.org/asiapacific

About EU SWITCH-Asia Programme

Launched in 2007, the SWITCH-Asia programme is the largest European Union-funded programme promoting Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) supporting 24 countries in Asia and Central Asia. The programme has funded around 130 projects, supporting over 500 Asian and European non-for-profit partners, about 100 private sector associations and 80.000 Asian MSMEs. The SCP Facility, one of SWITCH-Asia Components, aims at strengthening the implementation of SCP policies at the national level, facilitating the coordination of all components of the programme through information sharing. In addition, it carries out analyses on the results of the pilot projects and supports dialogue with stakeholders.

The EU and its SWITCH-Asia programme have recognised the critical importance of the housing sector to sustainable consumption and production or SCP, and the construction, housing and buildings cluster is a major pillar of EU policy and SWITCH-Asia activities. It is highlighted as part of the green transition in the flagship EU Green Deal (2019) and the Circular Economy Action Plan (2020). To stimulate further green innovations, the EU has also put forward legislation including its Construction Products Regulation. As the housing and building stock in Europe is not expected to grow as dynamically as in Asia, one of the focus areas for the EU is the renovation of existing buildings for increased energy efficiency, through its “Renovation Wave” strategy (2020), which prioritises social housing. In the SWITCH-Asia programme, several national assignments focus on implementing SCP principles in the buildings sector, including in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan.