Nearly four years ago, in March 2016, Habitat for Humanity launched our first global advocacy campaign, Solid Ground, in order to change and improve policies and systems related to land and housing at local, national, and global levels. Now, four years later, we are approaching the end of the campaign in March 2020. We look back encouraged and proud of the work achieved through the campaign, knowing that our collective efforts to break down barriers to land for shelter will continue long beyond the close of the campaign. 

To date, Solid Ground has improved access to land for shelter for over 3 million people in 41 countries – only possible through combined efforts with many global, national, and local partners—be they NGOs, governments, academia, civil society, communities or individuals. We have seen increased public support and knowledge around the importance of access to land for shelter, and how that helps women, children and marginalized groups who live under the fear of eviction from their homes.

As we celebrate the beginning of a new decade, we look forward to the new and exciting opportunities that await us in 2020.

First, as an acknowledgement of the outstanding policy and advocacy efforts achieved throughout the campaign from our global network, Habitat for Humanity International will be awarding three Habitat for Humanity national organizations implementing the Solid Ground campaign with a Global Advocacy Award.  

In early February, Habitat for Humanity will have a strong presence at the World Urban Forum, or WUF, taking place in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. WUF has become the leading international gathering on sustainable urbanization, focusing on the impacts that urbanization has on economies, climate change, communities, policies and systems, and more. A core focus of Habitat for Humanity’s engagement at WUF will be Sustainable Development Goal 11, or SDG 11: make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe resilient and sustainable. Through Solid Ground, we have long advocated for the importance of access to land for shelter as an integral component to achieving SDG 11. In order to ensure the implementation of SDG 11, Habitat for Humanity is engaging in a focused advocacy campaign to ensure the achievement of SDG 11.

On March 8, we will celebrate the end of the Solid Ground campaign; the lessons learned and the impact land policy and systems change can have on the lives of families around the world.

Also in March, Habitat for Humanity will participate at the World Bank’s annual Land and Poverty conference, sharing on the Solid Ground campaign and experiences of effective, sustainable, and efficient land governance practices around the world. We look forward to bringing together many campaign partners for an in-person celebration of their support and role in the success of the Solid Ground campaign.

Finally, following the close of the campaign, we will continue to join partner advocacy campaigns, such as the Stand For Her Land campaign, which aims to close the gap between laws and practice so that millions of women can realize land rights in their daily lives, across contexts and around the world. 

Recognizing that land rights involve several systemic issues that prove to be challenging but not impossible to resolve, Habitat for Humanity, together with existing and new partners, is committed to continuing to influence policies and systems change to improve access to land for housing. Land remains at the foundation of unlocking access to affordable and adequate housing for all and will remain a central component of Habitat’s work globally.

We recognize that advocacy campaigns are a proven method to align diverse networks to address a core, common issue – and we have seen the success through the Solid Ground campaign. As we enter a new year with many changes and opportunities ahead, we are excited to celebrate and wrap up our first global advocacy campaign. Solid Ground has clearly demonstrated that access to adequate and affordable housing is linked closely to equitable access to land. The lessons and learnings from the campaign are being incorporated into a broader global housing policy and advocacy agenda, driving our policy and advocacy work forward as we seek to ensure the implementation of SDG 11, and make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

We hope you will join us.