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Sunday, 9 February 2014

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LFSUS to support underserved communities

Borrowing for the basic need of shelter or other financial necessities by low income earners have been a hassle with complexities such as providing clear title deeds to lands and other formalities that have distanced this segment of society from the financial sector.

To cater to this vacuum of not being able to access the formalised financial sector, Lanka Financial Services for Underserved Settlements (LFSUS), a company limited by guarantee was incorporated by local stakeholders to support the financing of slum upgrading initiatives.

The Chairman of LFSUS, Chandula Abeywickrema and the Chairman of YES Foundation, Tissamaharama, Pradeep Paranagama signed the agreement.

Officials of Hatton National Bank, Tissamaharama Branch and LFSUS General Manager Terrence Keyser were also present.

LFSUS is supported by the United Nations Human Settlement Program.

LFSUS plays an intermediary role in facilitating MFI and commercial bank tie up through a guarantee provided to create an effective partnership to reach underserved communities with affordable finance for healthy, clean and habitable housing.

LFSUS teamed up with Hatton National Bank in providing a loan facility of Rs.17,730,000 to YES Foundation, Tissamaharama, an oganisation with more than 10 years of experience in working with the youth, women and child development, to upgrade 129 houses spread across the region.

LFSUS operates via Community Based Organisations (CBOs) empowering them to mobilise resources and institute action.

Local communities are in a position to find solutions to their problems, provided that they are organised and empowered to do so.

LFSUS has supported the upgrading of 1,036 houses benefitting 4,355 recipients in Kirulapona, Moratuwa, Kolonnawa and Kaduwela in the Western Province, Ratnapura in the Sabaragamuwa Province, Galle, Deniyaya, Hambantota and Tissamaharama in the Southern Province, and Nuwara Eliya and Nawalapitiya in the Central Province.

These housing projects complement the livelihood means supported by the MFIs catering to the specific requirements of the regions. The dawn of peace in the country after decades of terrorism has opened new vistas in self-dependency in cottage industries.

The means of livelihood have been enhanced given the resurgence of tourism creating a paradigm shift from the traditional agriculture and fisheries to handicraft and the supply chain created by the hotels and guest houses set up to cater to the influx of tourists to every region in the country.

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