Habitat for Humanity University supports HFHI’s strategic plan -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Habitat for Humanity University supports HFHI’s strategic plan

By Jane Gruler-Johns

Responses to a recent survey of area vice presidents, regional directors, area HR managers and area training staff revealed three strong themes around what staff members in the field think Habitat for Humanity University should focus on in the coming years:

  • HFHU should have a role in knowledge/information sharing as a “document clearing house,” “catalyst” and “facilitator.”
  • HFHU should have a role in capacity building through focused course development. Advocacy, microfinance and innovative housing solutions were specifically mentioned as topics around which capacity building is needed
  • HFHU should have a role in seeking out and forming strategic learning partnerships that would help link HFH staff in the field with key learning opportunities through partners.

To address these themes, HFHU is currently in the planning, design and information-gathering phase for a project that will create a knowledge-sharing space, both online and on regularly updated CD-ROMs, focusing on four key topics that align closely with the new HFHI strategic plan. This knowledge-sharing space is meant to provide HFH staff and volunteers with the information they need to effectively implement the new strategic plan.

The four key topics are:

  • Innovative housing solutions (which relates to Goal 1 of HFHI’s strategic plan)
  • Innovative financing solutions (Goal 2)
  • Sustainability and advocacy (Goal 3)
  • People development (Goal 4)

Because these topics are quite broad, HFHU envisions having several categories within each topic. For example, for “innovative financing solutions,” information can be organized into categories such as credit management, microfinance, etc.

Information shared could include internal and external research, guidelines and policies, innovations being tried in the field, links to helpful Web sites, recommended reading, contact information for internal and external experts, and more. Various communities of practice within HFH, as some of the main users of this knowledge-sharing project, are providing input on how the knowledge-sharing space should be organized and what it should contain so that the end result best meets the users’ needs.

If you have ideas for how this knowledge-sharing space should be set up and/or what should be included within it, please e-mail jgruler@habitat.org.

Jane Gruler-Johns is HFHU’s international content and knowledge manager.