Photo of Philippine family

Celebrating World Habitat Day 2020

MANILA (Nov. 9, 2020) — In commemoration of World Habitat Day, October 5, a livestream was organized by Habitat for Humanity in support of its global fundraising campaign, Homes, Communities, Hope + You. The webinar, “Is housing the secret to economic recovery from COVID-19?”, focused on the housing sector as a key economic driver and how different stakeholders could foster affordable and inclusive housing markets.

Graphic showing housing's share of GDP in various countries based on undercount of informal sector

The webinar also coincided with the release of the Habitat-commissioned report, Cornerstone of Recovery: How Housing Can Help Emerging Market Economies Rebound from COVID-19. The study revealed how emerging economies that have been struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic may be significantly underestimating the housing sector’s contribution to their respective gross domestic products. As a result, these countries could be missing opportunities for economic and social revival.

On social media, Habitat’s various national organizations in the Asia-Pacific region promoted the livestream, key findings of the Cornerstone report, relevant housing data, and the webinar panelists. Other content including videos, stories, and photos were also shared.

Screen shots of Facebook posts of Habitat India, Cambodia and New Zealand on World Habitat Day

Habitat’s Facebook posts from India, Cambodia and New Zealand on World Habitat Day.

A summary of some related activities is given below:

  • In an opinion-editorial, Rajan Samuel, managing director of Habitat India, homed in on the vulnerable Irula tribal community and their critical need for housing. In tackling land tenure and housing, he advocated partnering with the Indian government and community-based organizations and actively engaging the community.
  • A webinar organized by Habitat Nepal was well-received by 85 participants including local town officials. The event also helped to connect the policymakers and the youth, who were positioned as changemakers in addressing issues related to COVID-19 and housing.
  • Habitat Singapore’s event, Cycle Out Poverty, raised almost S$18,000 (about US$13,100) to build homes for vulnerable families on Indonesia’s Batam Island.
  • In Hong Kong, Habitat worked with a corporate partner, Raze, in raising awareness and funding support for the former’s home sanitizing projects.
  • Habitat Philippines aligned their fundraising campaign, Together We Rise, with Urban October celebrations. Together with Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, they hosted ‘BAHAYnihan: Rising Together through Housing,’ an online forum to raise awareness of the housing needs of the country and its unserved population, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The secretary of the Philippines’ Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development, Eduardo Del Rosario, led panelists from key housing organizations in the country. A new report, “Impact of COVID-19 on the low-income housing market systems in the Philippines” was also launched at the event.