Every year World Creativity and Innovation Week is a chance for people around the world to see, generate, and achieve new things to make Earth a better place. World Creativity and Innovation Week begins every year on April 15, which non-coincidentally is Leonardo DaVinci’s birthday, who was an innovator in all sorts of ways. This week we celebrate what it means to think freely and give a spotlight to new ideas. Today marks the end of World Creativity and Innovation Week, rightly named World Creativity and Innovation Day. Every day people around the world are creating new and interesting things, discussing big ideas and transforming the world around them. Habitat for Humanity is one of many voices changing the world through addressing housing challenges of housing. More specifically, through the challenge grants we award to Habitat national organizations enrolled in the Solid Ground campaign, we have seen many creative and innovative ways to change policies or systems to increase secure tenure and access to land for shelter. Here are three ways national organizations, through the campaign, have created the change they want to see in the world.

1. Habitat for Humanity Brazil       

Through an innovative idea, Habitat for Humanity Brazil is educating the public about the impact of eviction through the creation of an app for the public.  The app allows the user to interact with a map of Brazil and can be zoomed in to look at states and cities. When zoomed in on any region, data collected about communities spotlight eviction risk and those who have actually been evicted. The app also gives a visual idea of where land conflicts are happening. All of the data has been collected over the past two years through Habitat. Habitat Brazil has encouraged partner organizations and social movements to do the same with their data.

 

2. Habitat for Humanity Hungary

Habitat for Humanity Hungary had a unique issue. The Hungarian government was spending a majority of its housing budget on subsidizing housing for higher income households and encouraging homeownership, which was out of reach for lower income families. Affordability wasn’t in the picture, so Habitat Hungary found a fun way to educate the public. They created an online game that focused on the available state and local housing support. The game lets players choose from a list of predefined characters – ranging from a member of a high-income family living in its own housing to a person experiencing homelessness – the option for players to create their own character with their own specifications was available too. In each of the six steps of the player must guess based on the specificities of their chosen character whether they are eligible for particular state or municipal housing supports. The game helps players to realize how support is based on having sufficient and legal income. Within a week of the game’s release it was played over 4000 times.

 

3. Habitat for Humanity Philippines

In the Philippines, roughly 22 million people live below the poverty line. For a country of over 100 million people, that’s almost a quarter of the population. Of the 22 million below the poverty line, rough 2.2 million people live in informal settlements. To help with this situation, Habitat for Humanity Philippines developed an online policy tracker to engage others and enhance accountability with the community. The policy tracker allows advocates to interact with and understand 68 different bills. To date, they have used their congressional oversight function to hasten executive action on implementation of 3 presidential land proclamations benefitting 46,000 families or 230,000 people.

Habitat affiliates around the world are making impacts in their communities. Through ingenuity, creation and innovation affordable housing can become a reality for all. It has been exciting to see the ideas and approaches used to increase access to land for shelter thus far in the campaign and we look forward to what is to come. Happy World Creativity and Innovation Day!