Zima Affordable Homes Project

US$1 Million

Amount Raised


Total Investors

Project Overview

Zima Homes is the first collaboration between Reall and BuildX Studio, an innovative architecture, engineering, and construction company delivering affordable homes that impact people and planet. The Zima Homes project provides affordable, climate-smart homes connecting these with innovative housing finance models to make them accessible to our shared target audience of families in the bottom 40% of the income pyramid. The Zima Affordable Homes Project is a housing development on a 0.5 acre site on the Gitaru Road at Wangige, Nairobi.

The scope of Zima Homes is to build 137 housing units, consisting of 16 studio, 81 one-bedroom and 40 two-bedroom typologies. The 137 units will provide housing solutions for an estimated 338 people across a three-stage development plan. These homes will be priced at an average of USD $23,000, with the cheapest units at USD $14,000. BuildX will further offer rental facilities, starting at USD $90 per month.


  • Affordable Housing
  • Energy
  • Water & Sanitation
US$2.6 Million
Funding Goal


Reall, an innovator and investor in affordable housing across urban Africa and Asia and a track record of over 30 year addresses the housing deficit challenge by incubating green entrepreneurship, providing key contributions to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and delivering life-changing opportunities for the bottom 40% of the income pyramid.

The following outputs will be generated by the project:

  • The Zima Homes Project will provide 137 affordable housing units, delivering housing for 338 people across a three-phase approach. Three typologies will be constructed, consisting of 16 studio, 81 one-bedroom and 40 two-bedroom typologies. These homes are designed to achieve IFC EDGE certification.
  • Leverage innovative finance products for people in the low-income bracket to access competitively-priced homes, through a partnership with an offtake partner. BuildX has Letters of Intent from 3 potential off-take partners, all of whom are capable of taking the units for their clients.
  • The project will create 650 jobs, with BuildX’s construction programme directly creating at least 100 new jobs for low-income people for 18 months, integrated with on-site skills training and capacity building to catalyse future employment opportunities. At least 50% of these new jobs will be filled by graduates of BuildX’s sister organisation, the non-profit organisation called Buildher, which equips disadvantaged young women (ages 18-35) in Kenya with accredited construction skills, leading to greater financial prosperity, changing male attitudes and promoting gender equality within the construction industry. BuildX will provide professional growth opportunities on the project in the form of technical skills capacity building for all and management training for selected workers. Workers will receive a Certificate and professional reference upon completion of the project for us in securing future employment opportunities.

Progress Tracker


  • Phase 1

    Block C includes 25 units of 6 studios, 13 1-beds, one 2-bed and 5 2-bed duplex. Completion date: May-23.

  • Phase 2

    Block B includes 53 units of 7 studios, 28 1-beds, 3 1-bed duplex, 6 2-bed and 9 2-bed duplex.

  • Phase 3

    Block A includes 59 units of 3 studios, 37 1-beds, 8 2-beds and 11 2-bed duplex.

Current Stage


The overall services and utilities also include, but are not limited to: Communal courtyard with recreation and seating spaces, communal laundry areas with sinks and hanging lines, security measures (Boundary fence, manned gatehouse, access key cards and CCTV), metering (Private check meter), rainwater harvesting for laundry spaces, fire blanket for each unit.

Phase Units Timelines
Phase 1: Block C 25 MAY-23
Phase 2: Block B 53
Phase 3: Block A 59
Total 137

Project Milestones

See above.

ESG Impact

There are very few projects that provide truly affordable homes for the bottom 40% of the income pyramid whilst also addressing the placemaking aspects that make housing actually liveable. The Zima Affordable Housing Project in Kenya provides access to green space, communal facilities, considering the sustainability of the project from every perspective and understanding the cost of living, facilities management and building up-keep. The project also considers the necessity for disabled access and safe spaces for women, the need for green space and clean air for physical and mental wellbeing, while reducing the impact on climate, designing in renewable resources as well as reducing the carbon footprint of the build itself.

This is a flagship project, serving the needs of the bottom 40% to improve health, wellbeing and prosperity in an environmentally conscious, resilience-building and financially sustainable way. It is a distinct move away from the traditional ‘housing the poor’ with the least cost, which typically results in poor and unsustainable conditions, to a holistic, sustainable model for the future wellbeing of people and planet. This represents a high-impact, investable proposition ripe for scaling and roll-out across cities and geographies. It provides a showcase development against the backdrop of rapid urbanisation, growing housing deficits and the critical need to bake in climate-smart growth.

From an environmental perspective, the IFC EDGE certification is achieved by making savings of at least 20% across energy usage, water usage, and embodied energy in the construction materials. The Zima Project is designed to achieve a minimum of IFC’s EDGE certification. It will harness alternative materials, innovative green technologies, and renewable energy solutions to achieve the green building standards while demonstrating that housing can be affordable and climate smart. The project incorporates designs that develop upon the natural environment. Social infrastructure, retail and green public spaces are prioritised within the development or in the locality and help guarantee a resilient and vibrant community. This ensures people have access to employment, education and other facilities that improve life opportunities of low-income families.


The project targets a low-income population of young Kenyans within the bottom 40% of Nairobi’s population. The Zima project will provide affordable homes to an estimate of around 338 occupants.

Over the 18-month construction process, 100 new jobs will be created, of which more than 50% employment will be female.

SDG Goals

SDG 1: No PovertySDG 2: Zero HungerSDG 3: Good Health and Well-beingSDG 4: Quality EducationSDG 5: Gender EqualitySDG 6: Clean Water and SanitationSDG 7: Affordable and Clean EnergySDG 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthSDG 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureSDG 10: Reduced InequalitySDG 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesSDG 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionSDG 13: Climate ActionSDG 14: Life Below WaterSDG 15: Life on LandSDG 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsSDG 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goals


SDG 1: No Poverty – Affordable housing is a financial, economic, emotional, social and cultural asset that empowers people to permanently escape the poverty cycle. In-addition to the families who would get a home as a result of the project, it will also positively affect all workers involved in construction, logistics, maintenance and the employment generating activities undertaken in the commercial section of the project.

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being – BuildX has designed the Zima Homes Project to promote the dignity and health of users, focusing on core environmental comfort factors. Homes are provided with balconies, generous corridors that can double as shared communal spaces, and a deliberate effort to maximise natural lighting. BuildX will further deliver disability-accessible units in line with the Kenyan Government’s guidelines as a minimum, the ground floor units providing disabled access and incorporating flush thresholds, appropriate door widths and window heights.

SDG 5: Gender Equality – BuildX boosts the local economy by prioritising labour for women and youth within the communities where they work. During the Zima Homes project construction, BuildX estimate that 100 construction workers will be employed, at least 50% of which will be filled by graduates of its sister organisation, BuildHer, a non-profit organisation which equips disadvantaged young Kenyan women, aged 18-35, with accredited construction skills. Through this concerted employment effort, BuildX support skills development and leadership opportunities to boost future employment, but further contribute to improved attitudes and gender equality in the construction industry.

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation – Providing housing in tandem with WASH, sustainable communities are fostered in which living standards, health, educational attainment, employment opportunities and economic participation are significantly improved compared to typical low-income urban environments. All Zima homes will have quality, sustainable water and sanitation will be provided for each home.

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy – The Zima Project is designed to achieve a minimum of IFC’s EDGE certification. The project incorporates rainwater harvesting facilities, solar panels and local sourcing of materials with low to no embodied carbon emissions, further implementing designs that incorporate and develop upon the natural environment on which the site sits.

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth – There will be considerable low to high skilled jobs created throughout the construction process. Additionally, through the sourcing of materials, supplies and services, considerable economic multipliers will be unlocked.

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure – The project uses innovative, climate-smart materials, design and social infrastructure that mitigates and boosts resilience and advances sustainable economic development.

SDG 10: Reduced Inequality – Addressing housing deficits and delivering affordable homes at scale is a foothold into the formal economy to escape poverty and deprivation. The project will have around 338 beneficiaries of low-income population within the bottom 40% of Nairobi’s population.

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities –The project will provide safe, accessible, green and affordable housing, an essential infrastructure component for inclusive, sustainable and resilient cities.

SDG 13: Climate Action – The project harnesses alternative materials, innovative green technologies, and renewable energy solutions. The project will achieve the globally recognised EDGE green building certification.


In development with CIF partners

Risks and Limitations

What are the key risks, constraints and dependencies related to the project?

Primary Risks

Risk 1: The sale of homes not keeping up with the forecast. During the feasibility and design stages, continued market research will be carried out and community events held that encourage participation, provide exposure, and ensure buy-in of this new model. Market research is reviewed and updated regularly. Sales will be launched as early as possible to maximise sales off-plan.

Risk 2: 2022 elections may lead to issues such as a down-turn in the economy, changes in the target market and difficulty of access to financing institutions among others. This is mitigated by reviewing and updating market research on an ongoing basis and prioritising early sales.

Risk 3: Unit Sizes are small, which could affect the sales. BuildX envisages marketing the smallest units to singletons and young child-free couples as market-entry points with a view to them being in a position to upgrade when they begin a family. BuildX will work with the chosen offtake partner to embed limitations on occupancy numbers within purchase contracts and to monitor compliance as far as is reasonably possible. Ongoing engagement with residents through the proposed residents associations will also provide monitoring opportunities.

Risk 4: Lack of access to finance for the target market. This is mitigated through the partnership with financial organisations that provide access to affordable credit, in particular via the Kenya Mortgage Refinancing Company (KMRC), alongside a SACCO as the Off-take Partner.

Risk mitigation and continuity



Funding Goal

US$2.6 Million

Type of Investment


Financing Structure

User Pays Model – Revenues generated from unit sales and rental yield.
Projected internal rate of return is 11%.
8.1% Yield on Rental Properties.

Secured Investment

Investment to date by Reall: USD 1 million debt finance.

Committed Government Funding


National and Subnational Investors


Committed Private Funding



Technical Support Required



Governmental Buy-in


Other Forms of Governmental Support


National Ministries Involved


SubNational Ministries Involved


Other Entities Involved


Licenses and Permits

All building permits were obtained in Jun-2021.


Supporting Documents

No supporting documents included.