Helping women thrive: the GROWTH Act -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Helping women thrive: the GROWTH Act

By Phillip Jordan



Investing in women is one of the surest ways to end poverty in the developing world. Studies have consistently shown that when women have more resources, they invest in better housing, nutrition, education and health care for their families. This is why Habitat often partners so successfully with women’s saving groups through microfinance institutions.

The recent introduction of the GROWTH Act in the U.S. House follows a three-year Habitat advocacy campaign, led by our Office of Government Relations and Advocacy, and Habitat’s Women Build program.

Thanks to outreach by HFHI Women Build staff, U.S. affiliates gathered hundreds of supporters’ signatures for a petition supporting House and Senate Resolutions for the GROWTH Act. The new bill in the House joins a Senate version that had already been introduced.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles was among the affiliates that answered the call put out by HFHI’s Women Build program. The affiliate first created an online campaign, creating web pages and e-postcards to emphasize the need for the GROWTH Act. Staff members also conducted “Lunch and Learn” sessions about the legislation during build days; volunteers were then given the chance to sign the petition on site.

Veronica Garcia is the vice president of advocacy and community partnerships for Habitat of Greater Los Angeles.

“Our mission here is not just to educate people about needs locally,” Garcia says, “but also to educate them on global needs and give them a way to get involved.

“This was an opportunity to engage people in advocacy on a global scale. It was also important for us to connect this issue with our local women volunteers.”

The effort to empower women living in poverty is not finished, of course. To learn more about supporting property rights for women, visit the Government Relations & Advocacy site on

Phillip Jordan is a writer/editor at Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus.

More about Women Build

The mission of Habitat’s Women Build program is to enable U.S. and international affiliates to recruit, educate and nurture women to build—and advocate for—simple, decent and affordable houses in their communities.

In achieving this, Women Build brings together women from all walks of life to address the housing crisis facing millions of women and children worldwide. Since becoming an Habitat for Humanity International program in 1998, Women Build projects, fundraising campaigns and advocacy efforts have taken place in more than 30 countries.

Women Build also engages women volunteers and donors through Global Village Women Builds and through project-based funding opportunities. In 2010, the program has recruited volunteers and donors to support Women Builds in India, Tajikistan and Zambia; in 2009, Women Build funded PBF projects in Bulgaria and Nepal.

For more information on how to get involved with Habitat’s Women Build program

Visit the Women Build section of or e-mail