August 1, 2009
Not only did the National Housing Commission (Conavi) sponsor two houses in the community of San Gregorio Aztoacan, México—120 of their employees also came out to help build them. In total, 200 people participated in the construction of five homes in the community, including volunteers, local residents, Habitat staff and families.
PUEBLA, MÉXICO—120 staff members from the National Housing Commission (Conavi) participated alongside Habitat for Humanity Mexico on July 31, helping to build two homes sponsored by employees of Conavi’s federal offices.
The homes will benefit families in need of adequate housing in the community of San Gregoria Aztotoacan, San Salvador el Verde, Puebla.
A group of 200 people—including Conavi volunteers, partner families, Habitat staff and local residents—participated in the construction of a total of five homes in this community.
Part of the objective of the Conavi team in working alongside Habitat partner families was to better understand the “social production of habitat”—a cornerstone of Habitat for Humanity Mexico’s philosophy. The build also provided Conavi staff with the opportunity to connect more closely with the sector of the population that typically applies for federal housing subsidies.
Habitat for Humanity Mexico, along with many other housing organizations, operates based on an understanding of the “social production of habitat.” The social production of habitat refers to the organized processes carried out by communities and non-profit groups to create habitable spaces, urban infrastructure and housing. The social production of habitat involves active participation of families themselves in every phase of the process. Families seek to organize themselves and their community to produce higher quality living spaces, which express the culture within which they live.
The participation of Conavi Director, Ariel Cano Cuevas, and General Coordinator, Margarita Chávez Murguía, was considered a key part of Conavi staff gaining a first-hand experience of this type of housing production.
Ariel Cano expressed that, “This is not a new relationship with Habitat…I am certain that we will continue as long-term partners.” He also commented about the opportunity that the experience represented for staff to integrate with their roles within Conavi. “We have to take advantage of these human spaces, of coexistence and team integration.”
Mr. Cano thanked the families that welcomed the team into their community. “Our work is to support the most marginalized populations in matters of housing. For us, it is a pleasure to be here and to meet you—and it helps us very much in the process of understanding what our work means.”
The Director also highlighted the achievements of the housing sector, and added, “We have not yet done enough to ensure that every Mexican citizen has a house, or access to this need so basic that every single one of us should see it fulfilled. This, for me, is the heart and soul of this event—that we understand that, well, people like Laura are the type of beneficiaries that we should be focusing on. We should take advantage of structures like Habitat for Humanity’s, which have been working, to some extent, on their own. What we want to do now is to accompany them, to take advantage of their expertise. For me, this event should be representative of what we have learned about where we need to take our work.”
After the build, the Conavi staff shared a meal with the families at the Ex Hacienda de Chautla.
Habitat for Humanity Mexico has collaborated with several other actors to provide adequate housing solutions to the lowest income populations, through a process of community participation.
For more information about Habitat for Humanity Mexico, visit their online profile .