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The challenge

Poor and vulnerable households need basic services such as electricity, water, sanitation, health and education, to enable economic development. Despite significant improvements in Latin America and the Caribbean in recent decades, 110 million people in the region still lack sanitation services, 24% of rural population doesn’t have electricity, and roughly 50% of waste is not adequately treated. Quality, affordability, and sustainability are major challenges, even in those areas where services are available.

The MIF solution

The MIF’s goal is to develop market-driven business models to increase the provision of basic services for poor and vulnerable households, with a focus on partnerships and sustainability.

Creative partnerships, small-scale and off-grid solutions and innovative business models can help to reach that “last mile”. Multi-stakeholder alliances that include combinations of public agencies, private firms, NGOs, social businesses, community organizations, and others can help reduce coverage gaps, broaden the range of service providers, and adapt services to the specific needs of the poor and vulnerable. Financial and operational sustainability is a major challenge, but it is vital to ensuring services that last.

The MIF is ready to play a central role in enabling the private sector to contribute to basic services provision for poor and vulnerable households.

Download the brochure: The MIF approach to last mile basic service delivery

What the MIF wants to learn: The knowledge gap

Through pilots and research, the MIF seeks out models that can be financially sustainable and also affordable to poor and vulnerable populations.

The MIF also wants to extract lessons from successful partnerships, identifying the potential roles of communities, civil society, local and central governments and the distribution of risks, as well as analyzing what programs and policies can foster private sector engagement in providing basic services.


Where the MIF works


The MIF has worked on testing different business models for off-grid renewable energy systems for rural and isolated communities, with a range of public and private partners including large companies, social businesses, and the IDB’s Energy Division.

 Renewable energy technologies in Ecuador
 Infographic: Sustainable energy in rural Peru



To make quality health services accessible to poor households, the MIF is engaging other actors, such as microfinance institutions, and exploring technological solutions like tele-medicine. New models such as social franchises to prevent child malnutrition are also tested.

Integrated health services models
Infographic: Health in rural Guatemala



The MIF supports water community-based entities with innovative tools such as financial products for grids’ expansion or rehabilitation, and also piloting credit for households to connect to them. Strengthening sanitation local markets is also being tested. The IDB’s Water and Sanitation Division is a key partner in these initiatives.

Infographic: Water and sanitation services in Bolivia
 Project annoucement



The MIF seeks models with an integrated approach to solid waste management, focused on awareness and education, capacity building, research and public policy, management and maintenance in a partnership between the public and private sector to achieve the long term systemic goal toward zero waste, to minimize effects on health and the environment.

 Integrated solid waste management in Nicaragua



Early childhood development, housing, security, and transport present additional challenges. The MIF is exploring models in these sectors as micro-franchises for Early Childhood Education. To face all these challenges, partnerships are needed and social enterprises can play an important role.

 The MIF-OMJ program to accelerate business providing basic services to poor and low-income populations


Addressing the knowledge gap 

Partnerships for Innovation in Access to Basic Services
In collaboration with the Innovation and Technology for Development Centre of the Technical University of Madrid (itd UPM), the MIF  commissioned a publication in which five innovative solutions involving partnerships at the local level are presented and analyzed.

Download this publication

Download the case studies


Pro-poor PPPs for providing basic services
The MIF has collaborated with United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), an organization that represents local governments on the world stage, present in more than 140 countries. This month, UCLG is launching the Third Global Report on Local Democracy and Decentralization, the GOLD III. This third volume focuses on Basics Services for All in an Urbanizing World. The MIF has supported the Latin America and the Caribbean chapter through the mapping of our experiences of service provision through PPPs in the region. The report explores common issues related to basic services provision worldwide, analyzing the situation of access for basic infrastructure and social services; institutional and legal frameworks; management models including direct public provision, privatized provision and public-private, public-NGO and public-community partnerships; and financing models within the “3T” framework: Tariffs, Taxes and Transfers. 



The last mile - Foromic 2014

At the recent Inter-American Microenterprise Forum (Foromic), the MIF presented a panel titled “The Last Mile: Providing Services to the Poor through the Private Sector.” The panel was moderated by Carrie McKellogg, chief of the MIF’s Access to Basic Services and Green Growth unit, and included four social entrepreneurs who described their business models and discussed the challenges they face in delivering services to the base of the pyramid. The panelists were Jesse Grainger from Agora Partnerships, Moís Cherem of ENOVA, Juan Fermín Rodríguez from Kingo, and Alexander Eaton of Sistema Biobolsa