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Habitat For Humanity Programs Recognized In ASEAN Poverty Alleviation Project

July 19th, 2011

Decent Housing Is Key To Breaking Cycle Of Poverty

BANGKOK, 19th July 2011: The importance and impact of decent housing in alleviating poverty are highlighted in a compilation of case studies presented this week by the Asian Institute of Management, ASEAN Foundation and Asian Development Bank.

Habitat for Humanity operations in Cambodia and Myanmar were two of the sixteen case studies drawn from nine ASEAN-member countries featured in the compilation.

The case studies will be presented at AIM’s Center for Development Management in Makati, Manila, Philippines, on Friday (22nd July). The case studies present an array of successful development projects across Southeast Asia as example of best practice, so that poverty alleviation initiatives are shared and improved across the region.

Habitat for Humanity Cambodia features as a case study, outlining its “hand up, not hand out” approach to tackling substandard housing in Cambodia, and explaining how through better housing conditions, the cycle of poverty can be broken.

HFH Cambodia also goes beyond building houses, to develop livelihood opportunities, provide water, sanitation and electricity infrastructure, and set up community facilities.

“In Cambodia, as across the whole of the Asia-Pacific region, low-income families are priced out of the housing market. The result is that many live in unsafe and substandard housing, unsure of what may happen to them tomorrow. Habitat for Humanity Cambodia helps families to not only live in decent homes, but in thriving communities,” said Bernadette Bolo-Duthy, national director for HFH Cambodia.

“A decent home holds the key to an improved quality of life and increased social cohesion. I am delighted that Habitat for Humanity has been featured in this compilation of case studies, and hope that our work in Cambodia can play its part in improving lives across the region.”

The case study of HFH Cambodia includes the story of Ek Srey Hak, who was supported to stop living on a dumpsite in Phnom Penh, and now owns her own home. She has opened a small shop and has a dream of saving up enough money for her children’s education.

The compilation describes a Habitat for Humanity partnership with World Concern in Myanmar, tackling rebuilding after Cyclone Nargis as “exceptional”, and is included as one of the case studies. Together the two organizations built cyclone-resistant housing, based on concrete foundations and strong timber frames, for hundreds of villagers in the southern Irrawaddy delta.

The case studies form part of the “Mainstreaming Poverty Alleviation Initiatives” among ASEAN-member Countries’ project, implemented by AIM’s Center for Development Management and instigated by AIM, AF, and ADB.

The project officially launched in September 2009. It followed an acknowledgement that while member countries of The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, have implemented structural reforms and placed poverty alleviation as a priority in government programs, there had been little inter-agency and cross-country comparisons of strategies to this end. The project was launched to amass and share existing information as a means to attaining the goal of improving quality of life in the region.