A 2016-2020 global advocacy campaign which contributed to more than 12 million people gaining improved access to land for shelter
Land is the foundation for life.
The global need for adequate shelter is so great that we know we must engage in more than new construction and renovation to help us reach more families. That’s why in 2016, Habitat for Humanity launched Solid Ground, a global advocacy campaign to improve access to land for shelter. The four-year campaign, which committed to influencing land policies and systems, resulted in more than 12.4 million people with increased access to safe and secure land in over 40 countries around the world.
The campaign helped improve access to land for shelter through four key areas:
- Secure tenure: With freedom from fear of eviction, people are more likely to invest in their families, homes and futures.
Habitat demonstrated a model of successful policy reform one municipality at a time. After engaging civil society and local government in each municipality, they formed a diverse commission to review existing policies, develop recommendations, ensure approval, implement, monitor and evaluate. More than 200 of Honduras’ 298 municipalities passed housing policies, and Habitat Honduras continues to apply this model throughout the country.
- Gender equality: Improving the property rights of women has a catalytic effect, elevating the standards of living for entire communities.
Habitat Zambia supported resident advocates in building relationships with municipal officials, resulting in the development of intermediary systems to issue land documents. Approximately 3,000 households, totaling over 15,000 people, received government-issued land record cards thanks to their efforts.
- Disaster resilience: Disaster resilience enables communities to better prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters, predictable or otherwise.
Habitat Nepal influenced governmental implementation of land and housing policies around secure tenure, disaster resilience and gender equality. As a result of Habitat Nepal’s lobbying and advocacy efforts, local and federal governments allocated land and provided funding for more than 10,000 low-income, vulnerable, landless and flood-affected people.
- Slum upgrading: The enhanced stability achieved through improved security of tenure, or living without fear of evictions, enables a cycle of investment that can improve slum settlements over time.
Habitat Bangladesh helped 68,500 people living in informal settlements by collecting data that was used to improve family services.
During the campaign’s four years, we saw exciting growth as members of our network from Argentina to Zambia led policy and advocacy initiatives, developing long-term, meaningful impact in communities around the world.
The experience and relationships garnered during the campaign will continue to support ongoing and future policy and advocacy efforts led by Habitat and our partners.
Solid Ground was implemented by our national organizations and partners in more than 40 countries around the world, adapting to the specific needs of each location and focusing on our subthemes.
Solid Ground by the numbers
- More than 12.4 million people now have improved access to safe and secure land through policy and systems changes in 12 countries.
- There are 41 countries where Habitat and our partners worked to improve the way people access land globally, ensuring more people have a decent home.
- Habitat had 17 global campaign organizational partners working alongside us to change land policies and systems.
- A total of 26 challenge grants were awarded to support the local and national policy and advocacy efforts of 18 national Habitat organizations.
- Three policy priorities are reflected in the New Urban Agenda, the outcome document of Habitat III, the third U.N. Conference on Sustainable Urban Development — adequate and affordable housing, secure land tenure and community-led development.
Noteworthy moments from each year of the campaign
- Launch: Solid Ground campaign begins.
- Policy and advocacy capacity building grants were awarded to Habitat organizations in Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Kenya and South Africa.
- First reported policy win: Recommendations from Habitat Poland were included in Poland’s National Revitalization program with the potential to improve security of tenure for up to 240,000 tenants.
- Partnership with Devex raised the public profile of the New Urban Agenda, garnering more than 1.7 million impressions.
- New Urban Agenda: Habitat successfully advocacated for the inclusion of adequate and affordable housing, secure tenure, community-led development and accountability measures in the New Urban Agenda, the outcome document of the Habitat III conference.
- 13 countries with active Solid Ground campaigns.
- Policy and advocacy capacity building grants were awarded to Habitat organizations in Bulgaria, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Lesotho and the Philippines.
- European Consensus on Development: Inclusion of urbanization and housing ensured the importance of land strengthened in the new European Consensus on Development, setting the agenda for the next 10 years of European Union funding for development in the Global South.
- Global Peer Learning Exchange on Land was co-hosted with UN-Habitat’s Global Land Tool Network in advance of the World Bank Land and Poverty Conference in Washington, D.C.
- Action Land Laboratories: Hosted in Latin America and the Caribbean and sponsored by Habitat Argentina, Habitat national organizations, partner organizations, government and academia came together to share knowledge, best practices, policy recommendations and innovative solutions around land issues and tools.
- 30 countries with active Solid Ground campaigns.
- Policy and advocacy capacity building grants were awarded to Habitat organizations in Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Hungary, India, Nepal, Philippines, Zambia and Wake County, North Carolina.
- Partnership for Action Conference: Improving Land Governance and Management in Africa was co-hosted with the Urban Civil Society Organization Cluster of UN-Habitat’s Global Land Tool Network.
- Asia-Pacific Learning Exchange on Land was co-hosted with UN-Habitat’s Global Land Tool Network.
- Sustainable Development Goal indicator 1.4.2: Habitat mobilized support to elevate the level of SDG indicator 1.4.2 — focused on the number of people with or perceiving secure tenure — to encourage and enable country data collection and reporting.
- Development, Education and Awareness Raising grant: Awarded by the EU, this three-year, nearly US$5 million (€4.5M) enabled Habitat national organizations and partners in 12 EU countries to enhance the understanding of and engagement in global development — specifically urbanization, land and gender — of 5 million EU citizens.
- World Urban Forum: Habitat participated to elevate secure tenure and land issues among civil society and national and local governments.
- 38 countries with active Solid Ground campaigns.
- UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development: Habitat participated in the 2018 forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with presentations from Habitat Jamaica and Habitat Vietnam.
- Published policy paper advocating for land and housing as included priorities in the renewed agreement between Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries and the EU; the agreement defined EU development funding priorities for 79 countries for 15 years.
- Launched Stand for Her Land: a collaborative effort to strengthen land rights for women around the world by closing the gap between law and practice and helping fulfill promises of gender equality.
- More than 40 countries with active Solid Ground campaigns.
- Global Advocacy Award: Habitat Brazil, Habitat Côte d’Ivoire, and Habitat India received the Global Advocacy Award to acknowledge their advocacy efforts to increase access to land for shelter achieved through the Solid Ground campaign.
- Campaign closes: Work by the Habitat network and partners to advocate for land policies and systems continues.
- More than 12.4 million people in 12 countries with improved access to safe and secure land through policy and systems change.
- Subtheme issue briefs:
- Solid Ground Cumulative Report (FY16-FY20)
- Lessons from the Solid Ground campaign (English | Spanish)
- Case studies: