Neighborhood development: towards a sustainable social change. Home improvement, basic infrastructure and empowerment.

Neighborhood development: towards a sustainable social change. Home improvement, basic infrastructure and empowerment.

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The project consists in generating a sustainable and long-termed social change, in terms of neighborhood development in underprivileged neighborhoods of the Greater Buenos Aires, where communities are central transformation actors. The project has three main fields of work: (1) Community EMPOWERMENT, through neighbor’s participation in project management (Communitarian Education Center); (2) TERRITORIAL DEVELOPMENT, through the provision of infrastructure and home improvement (financial tool: neighbors trust); (3) ADEQUACY OF SUPPLY to adapt its services to business models in the BOP (Umbrella companies: Inclusive Business Park).

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Urban-underprivileged neighborhood families: over 10,000 families have been benefited. They have managed projects and improved their homes. They have accessed to natural gas network, which has meant an impact in their health and life quality. Community work has founded the base ground for the organization of neighbors in relation to new projects. Neighborhoods youngsters: pupils provide technical support to families under the frame of agreements. Sponsors and companies: they benefited from their participation in projects (customer portfolio enhancement).

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

In Greater Buenos Aires’ second urban area there is a great infrastructure deficit and serious poverty issues. Most houses are self-built with poor planning and counseling. 54% of the families do not have access to sewages, 29% of them do not have drinking water network and 18% lack gas network. Families are in the informal labor market, with no access to credit, and companies do not trust in neighbors’ affordability. As a consequence of this situation, a vicious circle was generated where the lack of trust between different actors (neighbors, companies, State) favored status quo and postponed development. These ideas require a perspective shift, establishing new collective lines of action. The Project uses a model where neighbors incorporate the neighborhood developer role, leading the process of change. They promote and manage projects, and assure their sustainability. The concept of neighborhood and home planning is incorporated with technical assistance. FPVS acts as a bridge, linking its demands with companies’ supply. A virtuous circle is generated where integration to urban fabric through home and neighborhood improvement symbolizes the integration to the society fabric.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Tangible results Access to NATURAL GAS service: over 3,500 families have access to natural gas, through the construction of 70,000 meters of pipeline and the employment of 120 workers. Microcredit repayment for HOME IMPROVEMENT with a 98% rate of return (over 8,500 families improved their homes with a $ 12,000,000 investment): Substitution of individual gas cylinders for gas network has allowed reducing fuel spending for an equivalent of 7% of the average wage. Intangible results NEIGHBORS PARTICIPATION (a clear example of neighbors commitment is the organization permanence during over 4 years, waiting for the agreement with the project sponsor to become effective). The creation of the service cooperative with the community neighbors once the gas project is completed. Impact FPVS and Universidad Torcuato Di Tella developed the NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT OBSERVATORY which conducted 3 surveys and analyzed the result and impact of the programs (a 50% decrease in gastrointestinal disease cases in comparison to those families that have no access to natural gas, a 20% decrease in respiratory diseases and a 40% decrease in flu cases).
About You
Fundación pro Vivienda Social
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Fundación pro Vivienda Social

Organization Phone

54 11 4321 2700

Organization Address

Perón 667 PB

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

Raul Francisco Zavalia Lagos is a Math and Applied Physics professor.
Since the year 1970, he has dedicated his efforts to improve the life of Greater Buenos Aires’ urban-underprivileged neighborhood families. During ten years, he has worked as a teacher in a school in the Villa 31 neighborhood and has supported neighbors groups in the creation of a housing cooperative. He started a Business Administration university course in Universidad de Buenos Aires and specialized in Non-Profit Organizations. He attended a Master course in Non-Profit Organizations Management, jointly given by Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad (State and Society Education Center), Universidad Torcuato Di Tella and Universidad de San Andres.
He took part of the foundation “Fundación Vivienda y Comunidad” tech team and since 1993 he has performed as an Executive Director of FPVS.
He was the president of the network “Red Argentina de Instituciones de Microfinanzas”. He is a university teacher at the Universidad Tecnológica Nacional.
Raul Zavalia has always succeeded in challenging the gap of poverty by putting different actors to work together aiming at a common purpose. During his career, he has proven that reality can be modified through collective work.

Social Impact
How many people have been impacted by your project?

1,001 - 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

There are two main problems that might hinder success of the project.
1- Neighbors’ lack of motivation and difficulties to organize: Beneficiaries participation in the Neighborhood Development Plan management is crucial in order to implement projects. During 2011, the Community Education Center, which will train neighbors assessing their neighborhood development demands, will be institutionalized.
2- Companies reluctance to invest in underprivileged neighborhoods: With the Inclusive Business Park, awareness and motivation of companies has started in order to do business in the BOP successfully.

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

Scale and transference: With the support of BID-FOMIN, the gas network will be extended to 7,000 new families. This will be endorsed by a commercial bank that will finance home improvement microcredits, which will allow reaching more families.
Training: Alliance with one university and neighborhoods’ technical schools will formalize the education center for neighborhood developers.
The role of the promoter-constructor will be incorporated to technically advise neighbors in home improvement.
Companies interaction space: New companies will be called so as to incentive them to participate in the development.

For each selection, please explain the financial and non-financial support from each

YEAR 2010
Individual donations + Administration Counsel: USD 72,060
Foundations: Partage Foundation: USD 247,612, Ford Foundation: USD 30,004
Non-governmental organizations: FOMIN: USD 127,353, Inter American Foundation: USD 79,931, BID: USD 1,981.
Companies: Banco Supervielle: USD 64,267 – Projects financing + Association to work in Microfinance activity expansion,
Ferrum: internal gas network construction and promoter-constructor training.
Others: Helpargentina: USD 210, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella: Local Development Observatory, in charge of measuring projects impact, Universidad de San Andres: Alliance for the Community Education Center institutionalization, University of Tennessee: USD 270.
YEAR 2011
Individual donations + Administration Counsel: USD 72,060
Foundations: Partage Foundation: USD 254,309, Ford Foundation: USD 165,921
Non-governmental organizations: Inter American Foundation: USD 30,496
Companies: Ferrum: USD 4,583, Gas Natural: 3,235
National Government: “Mejor Vivir” program: USD 133,500, “Centro Nacional de Organizaciones de la Comunidad” Center (In Spanish, CENOC): USD 2,497
Others: Helpargentina: USD 404, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (Neighborhood Development Observatory).

How do you plan to grow and/or diversify your base of support in the next three years?

Historically, FPVS has diversified its financing sources, creating alliances with different actors. This has allowed itself to overcome difficult moments in crisis times.
FPVS will continue working in this direction. Moreover, in March 2010 it signed an agreement with BID-FOMIN for the implementation of a project to be executed during 4 years (gas network expansion) and an agreement with an Argentine-capital commercial bank will allow it to expand microcredit lines in the next years.
In addition to this, projects are designed to be financially, sociably and environmentally sustainable in the long term.
Gas project. Neighbors pay for the gas network expansion (in terms of up to 10 years) through the neighbors’ trust, which requires the enrolment of 70% of the neighbors. The model foresees a reserve fund, in order to lower default risks. These are some of the mechanisms that guarantee financial sustainability. The microcredit project uses group warranty and has obtained a 98% collection. 70% of the families have renewed their microcredit. Besides, projects are carried out by communities’ decision and organization (through neighborhood commissions).

Please select your areas of intervention in the home improvement market

Financing, Property rights, Sanitation, Water, Infrastructure, Income generation, Urban development, Citizen/community participation.

Is your innovation addressing barriers in the home improvement/progressive housing market? If so, please describe in detail your mechanisms of intervention

Term reduction
Granting of group microcredits to families allows them to reduce terms normally required for self-building, in order to improve their homes (without a microcredit, the lapse of time extends approximately to 20 years, while microcredit support reduces it to about 8 years).
Improvement planning
Incorporation of the promoter-constructor role (master builders trained by FPVS), supports microcredit beneficiaries in home project design and elaborates a proposal for gradual improvements in relation to the home’s needs. FPVS analyzes the family’s affordability and proposes a microcredit plan for those improvements proposed by the promoter-constructor.

Adequate financing
The neighbors trust allows natural gas network financing and, eventually, other neighborhood improvement infrastructures. It facilitates external gas networks construction payment, through installments payment during up to 10 years.
Adequacy of supply
Alliances with companies allow them to adequate their offers to the neighborhood families’ abilities and limitations (Companies which are examples of this are: Gas Natural Ban, Ferrum and Banco Supervielle).

Are you currently collaborating with private companies, or have you partnered with private companies in the past? With which companies?

Gas Natural Ban: It is the distributing company. They are in charge of billing the works for the Trust.
Banco Supervielle: They support microcredit financing and neighborhood developer’s formation. They will financially support part of the gas networks construction of the new project.
Ferrum/FV: Bathroom appliances leading company, which is in charge of carrying out home internal installations.
Rotoplas: Project to be launched in 2011, for the installation of a sewage sanitation system, through biodigesters.
Internet Service: Internet service supply in the area is being promoted.

Please describe in detail the nature of the partnership(s)
Select the unit(s) with which the partnership was formed

Sales department, Other (please specify).