Land is at the heart of the New Urban Agenda. We know its importance: in order to build strong, safe communities, residents must have access to the land on which they live. We know the problem: 1 billion people in cities around the world lack secure land rights, and many laws, policies, and “machista” practices deny women the right to own land. But do we know how to address this issue in a way that creates real, sustainable impact?

This month, the World Urban Campaign is launching an Urban Thinkers Campus – or UTC – in Lima, Peru through local partners such as the NGO “Estrategia,” and the national network “United Women for a Better Nation.” The UTC serves as an open platform for engagement between actors who are working to implement the Urban Agenda. The Campus allows grassroots organizations, civil society groups, research entities, local authorities, and a range of other actors to come together to stack hands on building equitable cities for all.

This particular UTC is called “Empowered Women Building Partnerships on Urban Land Regulation,” and it focuses on women leaders from grassroots groups. The Campus aims to develop a constitutional amendment that will include the right to adequate housing and the right to the city, as well as the approval of a law that will protect women against land and housing based violence. The Campus features training and sensitizing workshops in twelve identified regions of Peru and thirteen districts of Metropolitan Lima from South, North and East Lima, Callao Province, and the Lima Provinces Region. The Campus’ School of Women Leaders will train women on citizenship, gender rights, property rights, the right to the city, constitutional amendments, leadership, conflict management and negotiation, advocacy and communications, and financial literacy delivered by a groups of seasoned professionals. Dialogue tables and conferences between speakers, participants, authorities, and officials with expertise on land issues will advance the Campus’s mission and work towards lasting change for cities in Peru.

Habitat for Humanity’s global advocacy campaign – Solid Ground – is actively involved in the UTC in Lima, taking a leadership role through: sharing tools and experiences in the Campus’s School of Women Leaders; advising local partners throughout the advocacy and policy process; and implementing an Urban Land Laboratory supported by Cities Alliance that connects women leaders, NGOs, experts, and decision makers to deepen analysis surrounding the constitutional amendment and its implications. HFHI’s Habitat on the Hill annual legislative conference inspired the organization of United Women Day in the Congress in Lima that is planned for this year’s World Habitat Day – Monday, October 2, 2017. The day will be an opportunity for women leaders to hold face-to-face meetings with lawmakers on the Peruvian Congress, presenting proposed constitutional amendments that would guarantee more equitable treatment for females with respect to land rights.

Representatives from Solid Ground will also lead school sessions for women involved in the Campus, using knowledge gained from several key experiences, including the School of Women Leaders in Bolivia, which culminated in a constitutional change to allow women the right to own property independently; previous training on the Right to the City and the social function of land delivered to women in Brazil; the advocacy methodology and manual based on Habitat for Humanity’s experience; and the extensive Habitat for Humanity experience on financial literacy.

Through collective action, we can create more access to land for shelter. With initiatives such as the Urban Thinkers Campus in Lima, we at Solid Ground are making good on our promise to create secure and safe shelter opportunities for all, advancing the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda. By joining the campaign, you are able to do the same.

 

This post is the original version of an article drafted in collaboration with Estrategia for the World Urban Campaign website