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Transforming communities

Habitat’s urban development approach
While we measure our progress by the number of families and individuals served, the impact of our work can be seen in the transformation not only of lives but entire communities. We call it our urban development approach and it is based on empowering and strengthening communities in defined geographic areas.

Helping communities help themselves
By working closely with communities, we help them to build self-confidence to take action, identify and prioritize their needs. We also help them develop community action plans and leverage their capacity to advocate for change.

Case study: The Simon-Pelé neighborhood
One such community is the Simon-Pelé neighborhood of Port-au-Prince where Habitat has been active since October 2010. With support from donors, local community organizations and government, the community maps each house and building in Simon-Pelé. They also survey each family.  

The information helps the community understand their own needs. It gives them the tools to become change agents and champions for critical services. To date, we have met, and in many cases surpassed, the outcomes established for this approach in our work in Simon-Pelé. 

The Habitat Resource Center, located within the community, has strengthened the local construction sector through:

  • Training.
  • Facilitating 175 home repairs and retrofits.
  • Latrine construction.
  • Building the capacity of the local community councils to manage reconstruction infrastructure projects.

In addition, the program has helped to increase the number of community members participating in discussions regarding neighborhood concerns and priorities. The HRC also provides trainings in conflict management, financial literacy and disaster risk reduction. 

To date, the Simon-Pelé community has completed 14 projects that were identified as high priorities for the residents. These accomplishments include:

  • Paving roads.
  • Clearing canals.
  • Adding street lights.
  • Improving sanitation at the local health clinic.
  • Constructing new water kiosks to provide clean drinking water.
  • Reconstructing a local basketball court.