As the world continues to urbanize, cities will grow rapidly with the number of people in need of decent housing increasing faster than ever before. To combat this growing trend, Habitat for Humanity International is launching Solid Ground, a three-year global advocacy campaign focused on promoting policies and systems to advance access to land for shelter.
Habitat’s Solid Ground campaign aims to draw attention to the often overlooked role of land for housing and will influence land policies through four key areas: secure tenure, slum upgrading, disaster resilience and gender equality. To date, 75 percent of land worldwide is not legally documented, leaving millions of people in developing countries vulnerable to eviction or, after a disaster, displacement. Many of these people, primarily women, lack access to property rights and in turn face barriers in finding adequate housing for themselves and their families.
“Increasing the chance for people to access land means more people will live in decent housing in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Rick Hathaway, Habitat for Humanity’s vice president, Asia-Pacific. “At Habitat, ‘advocacy’ means calling for sound policies, laws, systems and attitudes that eliminate barriers to decent housing for all.”
To ensure the campaign meets its goal, Habitat has been increasing support for advocacy programs and initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region. By working together with individuals, communities, partner agencies and governments, Habitat’s campaign will bring about positive policy changes to bring more families onto ‘solid ground’, meaning secure tenure where they live.
“Over the past 40 years, we have become a global organization capable of tackling large social issues in need of change,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “The need for access to land is one of the largest obstacles to a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Through the Solid Ground campaign, Habitat organizations around the world will use our collective voice to remove barriers and ensure strength, stability and self-reliance for generations to come.”
Recent successful advocacy projects have included obtaining secured land tenure from the government for squatter families living in informal settlements in Batttambang, Cambodia. The project has built awareness on land rights, provided land tenure security, and developed new housing, drainage systems, and communal infrastructure using an innovative model combining housing finance and eco-friendly techniques. Habitat for Humanity Cambodia will also be working to support the effective implementation of the National Housing Policy in Cambodia, through a broad multi-stakeholder group involved in secure tenure and housing issues.
In Bangladesh, Habitat for Humanity undertook research that addressed key policy issues relating to tenure security, and slum upgrading in the capital of Dhaka.
To learn more about Habitat’s Solid Ground campaign and how to get involved visit: solidgroundcampaign.org.
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