Low cost housing organization Habitat for Humanity launches its annual youth campaign in the Asia Pacific region – Habitat Young Leaders Build – on International Volunteer Day, December 5. Millions of volunteers and participants who are the prime movers of the movement will volunteer, raise funds and speak out for the cause of affordable housing under the theme of PLAY LEAD SHARE. The 2018 launch also unveils two key youth initiatives: a leadership academy and an advocacy grants program.
The new Habitat for Humanity Young Leaders Build Leadership Academy and toolkit will equip young people with self-leadership skills and enable them to better lead others. Developed in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership, the 10-module training includes two modules on sustainable communities as an introduction to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Participants will also learn about the need for decent housing and identify specific community actions and projects that support their community.
More than 150 young people took part in the pilot training conducted in Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore this year. The HYLB Leadership Academy is being rolled out in five countries and will be extended later to others. Youths will be equipped with leadership skills and opportunities to contribute and meaningfully support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The goal is to train 1 million youth across the Asia-Pacific region annually from 2022.
“Now my definition of leadership is to build up other leaders so that we can create a bigger impact,” said Tracy Catherine Talledo, 18, a recent graduate of the HYLB Leadership Academy. The regional student council president from the Visayas region of the Philippines will go on to train her peers and juniors with the Academy’s curriculum.
As part of the Habitat Young Leaders Build, young individuals and youth groups around the region are invited to submit proposals for community advocacy projects. The focus of the projects should be on one of the following areas: decent housing, slum upgrading, gender and property rights, disaster resilience, and security of tenure. Grants will be awarded for creativity, innovation and inclusiveness to effect change.
Past advocacy grant recipients have used their awards to send petitions to the authorities; call for mock votes from youths on housing issues; produce a video showing the problems faced by people in Bangladesh who lack shelter; hold talks on peace and urban issues at a Philippine university; organize an art lesson and contest; run a photography and essay competition; and generate an online survey to gather perceptions on urban homelessness.
The multi-month Habitat Young Leaders Build campaign will culminate on April 21, 2018, with thousands of young people taking part in simultaneous activities across the Asia-Pacific region. These include house building, school cleaning, fundraising events, and advocating for decent housing on social media. From Japan, over 700 students join Habitat's Global Village program to build homes in the Asia Pacific region.
The campaign in the past year (Link to 2017 wrap-up video) saw a record 4.1 million supporters from 17 countries and one Special Administrative Region in the Asia-Pacific region. Since 2012, over 8 million Habitat Young Leaders Build supporters have been mobilized, US$ 5.2 million funds raised and 25,635 families were supported in their journey to achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves.