Loans for access to basic services
In 2003, when the Moroccan Ministry of Finance gave the authorization for microcredit associations to grant loans for housing improvement and electric and drinking water connections, Zakoura Foundation responded to the need immediately. Always wanting to meet the needs of the most vulnerable populations, Zakoura was one of the first to design loans for access to these basic services.
The Housing Loan
In 2004, in the framework of the national fight against slum dwellings, the Zakoura Foundation developed a new product called “the Housing Loan”, aimed at improving housing conditions of the poorest. The amount of this individual loan varies between 2,000 and 30,000 MAD and, no guarantee is required. However, the Foundation requires that the beneficiary has already been a group loan client and must have a good repayment history. It also requires that the beneficiary be the owner of his housing or have a long-term lease and written authorization from the owner to carry out the work.
Acquisition of a house
In 2003, beneficiaries of the Zakoura Foundation in the slum of Carrière Ben M’sik in Casablanca formed a neighborhood committee and asked Zakoura to participate in the funding of low-priced 65 m² apartments to which they were entitled under the Government’s rehousing operations. The apartments were available for about 30,000 MAD (about $US 3,521). The Foundation answered the call by developing a loan ranging from 5,000 to 30,000 MAD with a repayment period of 18 to 60 months, and monthly installments not exceeding 800 MAD ($US 94). In 2004, 30 households were able to leave the slums and move into an apartment, thus improving their living conditions in terms of hygiene, health and security. Based on this successful experience, the Zakoura Foundation renewed this program and plans to grant loans for the acquisition of housing to about 1,500 households.
Water/ electricity loan
Numerous beneficiaries of the Foundation do not have access to water or electricity in their homes. A survey carried out with the beneficiaries of group loans found that funding was not the only obstacle to the connection of their housing to the electricity or water grids. The beneficiaries have expressed a need to receive support in the administrative formalities they deem complex and hard to understand for the access to these basic services. This is where the Zakoura Foundation has stepped in to develop a loan between 1,000 and 5,000 MAD as well as offering support to the beneficiaries. Individual connections have also been made in the rural areas thanks to the partnership signed by the Zakoura Foundation with the National Drinking Water Board (ONEP). After the success experienced by the connection to drinking water of 1,000 households, the partnership between the two institutions has just been renewed for the individual connection of 5,000 households.