Rebuilding for a better urban future

The official blog of UN-Habitat's response to Typhoon Haiyan


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Women in Panay Actively Step Up in Their Own Rehabilitation

UN-Habitat Community Mobilizing & Training Officer Maria Elvira Borlagdan Duka explains the beneficiary selection criteria and the people-centered process of housing reconstruction by UN-Habitat.

UN-Habitat Community Mobilizing & Training Officer Maria Elvira Borlagdan Duka explains the beneficiary selection criteria and the people-centered process of housing reconstruction by UN-Habitat. Photos by Tomoko Matsushita.

On 9 July, UN-Habitat community organizers met with the Home Owners’ Association Inc. (HOAI) members of Pawa in the municipality of Panay, Capiz. In this coastal community, majority of the men are out at sea where their work and livelihoods are based. As a result, 90% of those who attended the meeting were women.

In the meeting, community members were briefed on their new role as UN-Habitat partners and the organization’s upcoming projects designed to help rehabilitate Haiyan-affected areas. More importantly, criteria for becoming beneficiaries of UN-Habitat shelter projects were discussed in detail, and families were urged to complete and submit information sheets that were handed out if they felt that they met the criteria.

The meeting also discussed upcoming training sessions on construction methods that promoted structural resilience and building back safer homes, targeting local masons and carpenters. The women, however, eagerly spoke up, saying that they wanted to be trained as well, since most of the men would be at sea during the day. They were happily welcomed and encouraged to apply as trainees.

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Roxas: Building skills to rebuild communities

Carpenters from Roxas learn practical and affordable measures in building back better, safer shelter constructions. Photo by Ilija Gubic

While the national and international assistance supports the relief by distributing shelter emergency kits, running emergency centres and setting up transitional shelters, the affected population rebuild their homes, in most cases, without sufficient funds, skills and experience.

Some families lack the resources to obtain good construction materials, and hardly have the means to engage skilled carpenters or masons to carry out the construction. Carpenters sometimes only have limited skills and are often lacking know-how and experience on disaster risk reduction requirements. Without proper guidance on practical and affordable safe construction, the self-recovery often turns towards building back worse.

In order to strengthen guidance on affordable and safer shelter, UN-Habitat in partnership with Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), and Iloilo People’s Habitat Foundations Inc. (IPHF), conducted a 3-day workshop for 58 carpenters and masons from 32 communities in Roxas on “Practical and Affordable Disaster Risk Reduction Measures for Self-builders”.

The workshop introduced several technical options that could be applied on various types of shelters using different materials such as timber, bamboo, or industrialized products like concrete, hollow cement blocks, and CGI sheets.

Participants actively engaged in discussions, visual assessments of damaged houses in neighbouring communities and in the “hands-on” exercises supporting each other in learning how to use locally available and affordable materials such as bamboo.

At the end of the 3-day workshop, Mr. Dante Madello, Mayor of Panay, congratulated UN-Habitat and partners on this successfully conducted event, and requested UN-Habitat to further support carpenters and masons in Roxas on building back better and safer shelters.

See more photos from the workshop: photo gallery

Watch a video of the training workshop in action: on Youtube

Update: See a letter of appreciation from the Social Housing Finance Corporation to UN-Habitat