14Trees is a joint venture between LafargeHolcim and the CDC Group to bring low-carbon, affordable housing materials to developing countries. The company markets a comprehensive range of innovative building solutions which reduce construction costs, including ‘DURABRICs’ which are made by compressing a mixture of earth and cement and cured without firing, in the process saving up to 14 trees per house.
14Trees has identified that 16% of the funds sent by families working abroad back to their families in countries such as Malawi and Kenya are intended for building houses. However, construction projects can be hard for the diaspora to manage, coupled with the diversion of funds to other short term priorities for their families back at home. 14Trees plans to grow demand for its building materials by partnering with local construction firms to deliver off-plan houses and other services relating to housebuilding which are poorly served in these countries. A new remittance product will ringfence funds to save money for these purposes.
The pilot is expected to benefit about 350 low income construction workers and families of the diaspora through the housebuilding. Once the concept has been proven the project can be scaled within Malawi and Kenya and to other developing countries, potentially benefitting tens of thousands in access to affordable housing and in construction jobs.
The BPF is supporting this project by providing technical assistance to the value of £281,988 over a year to develop the remittance product.