Access to Affordable, Dignified and Sustainable Housing - SMEs address global challenge

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 Covering the G-20’s major new economic initiative with a focus on housing 

Today an estimated one billion people live in slums. Two billion lack access to electrical power, largely as a result of inadequate planning, poor policies, market failures, and gaps in government capacity. Though public institutions and governments recognize the universal need for adequate housing, in many cases it is local businesses that can most effectively provide solutions. Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are an important resource to help communities keep up with demand for housing construction, and improve water, sanitation, electricity, and transportation infrastructure.
 
The G-20 member countries recognize the importance of identifying innovative public-private financial models promoting the scalability and sustainability of (SMEs) working to tackle these global challenges. The G-20 SME Finance Challenge, which seeks the best ideas for unlocking the financing to ensure the growth and success of SMEs, demonstrates a commitment to poverty alleviation. Across the world, social entrepreneurs and SMEs are spearheading the identification of innovative solutions to ensure access to affordable, dignified and sustainable housing for the poorest of the poor.
 
 
Here are some potential angles and interviews for unique, interesting coverage of sustainable housing:
 
Small investments in infrastructure have a multiplier effect in the community – Poor housing and living conditions in low-income districts exacerbates urban poverty. Businesses that tackle them bit-by-bit see broad improvements.
 
  • Example: In Argentina, Celeste Bustero’s Fundacion ProVivienda, an entrant in Changemakers Social Business Competition, has implemented a groundbreaking business model that works with underserved communities to address the challenges of social inclusion, poverty and lack of basic infrastructure in the slums of Buenos Aires. The foundation has developed a natural gas service network that serves 3,000 poor families that previously lacked access to even the most basic utilities. Additional ProViviendaprograms provide support for the formalization of home ownership, as well as finance improvements to bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry facilities. 
Skills training in construction leads not only to housing and job creation but also to independence and civic engagement – Housing is but one of the interconnected challenges facing impoverished populations. Models that see beyond the single outcome of getting people off the street have a broader and deeper impact that benefits individuals and the entire community.
  • Example: In Brazil, Raquel Barros (Ashoka Fellow, winner of Changemakers Women|Tools|Technology Challenge, and founder of the Lua Nova Association) has been implementing a unique model that helps at-risk women realize their potential as they build their own comfortable, sustainable condominiums brick by brick. Lua Nova’s Project Contractor School offers women practical skills, access education, and financial management tools that empower women to be engaged citizens, entrepreneurs, and community stewards.
Civic rights must be protected to ensure the vitality and sustainability of urban communities – Ensuring tenant rights through education, advocacy, and improved living conditions creates a better, more just society.
  • Example: In South Africa, Ashoka Fellow and civic rights champion Sayed Iqbal Mohamed works with the disadvantaged elderly, the poor, and those suffering as a result of unjust economic conditions and laws. Moahmmed’s Civic Rights Organization is demonstrating how – through education, empowerment, advocacy and networking – poor people can protect their housing interests locally and leverage community activism to fundamentally change national housing policy.
This is just a small fraction of the resources available through Ashoka and Changemakers. For further information and to access our global community of over 140,000 changemakers around the world, please contact:
 
Sarah Mintz
Community Manager
703.600.8204
 
Josh Middleman
Community Mobilizer
202.450.5452

 

 

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