March 8th marks the first anniversary of the Solid Ground campaign. Known as the "paper anniversary" in many countries, the first anniversary is traditionally celebrated with a gift made of paper. This is significant for us, as a global advocacy campaign to improve access to land for shelter, because 75 percent of people around the world lack the proper documentation to the land on which they live. Lack of the required paper records leaves millions of people in fear of eviction. That is why one year ago, we launched Solid Ground to advance the cause of access to land for shelter in four ways: expanding security of tenure, promoting gender equality in property rights, upgrading slums, and making communities more disaster resilient.
In just one year, the Habitat for Humanity organizations and partners implementing the campaign have reported changing policies and systems projected to increase access to land for shelter for nearly 1 million people in countries ranging from Honduras to Poland – and many more are on the road to success. Solid Ground’s recommendations on housing, land and community-led development are included in the New Urban Agenda, a 20-year roadmap putting us on a path to address urbanization and make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable for everyone. As we commemorate the launch of the campaign, we’re excited to highlight just a snapshot of the progress that has been made and express our gratitude for the partnership and support of those who have helped make the campaign a reality.
Habitat for Humanity Brazil is working with local organizations and community members to map and disseminate information on land conflicts in Pernambuco - one of the states in Brazil most affected by land conflicts in urban areas. To date, they have provided local governments with over 45 documented cases of land conflict that make families vulnerable to forceful removal from their land.
Habitat for Humanity Bulgaria developed proposals and amendments to the “Action Plan for the Implementation of the National Strategy for Roma Integration.” They also promoted a new social support service called a “Housing Mediator” to facilitate integration of the Roma community, which is increasingly segregated due to lack of security of tenure. Last year, Bulgaria hosted its second annual National Housing Forum, engaging key government and local leaders and garnering significant media attention.
Habitat for Humanity Kenya produced two important studies and convened an advocacy workshop that brought together governmental institutions, international and local civil society and other non-state actors to share lessons learned and take stock of progress in implementing programs that impact land rights.
Habitat for Humanity Cambodia mobilized thousands of youth during the Habitat Young Leaders Build, engaged the media, helped to found the “Cambodian Housing Network” – a coalition of NGOs pursuing access to land and housing, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Cambodia to support the adoption and implementation of their National Housing Policy, and participated in a national housing forum.
While our first year was full of successes, there is still much work to be done to achieve our vision of a world where everyone has access to land for shelter. As we move into the second year of the campaign, we need the support of our partners – and that includes you. Share your actions and accomplishments using #FromtheGroundUp to call attention to the great progress that has been made for global land access. Throughout the month and moving forward, share how you will #ActforLandAccess and encourage others to do the same.