Tuesday 28 April 2015-- Winners of the 2015 World Habitat Awards were presented at the 25th Session of the UN- Habitat Governing Council in Nairobi. This year’s winners were Liter of Light, Philippines and Housing First Project by Y- Foundation, Finland. Both projects were selected on the basis of their innovative approach to housing and their impact on the lives of thousands of people.
Liter of Light is an open source movement that uses inexpensive, durable and readily available materials to provide low- cost solar lighting to homes in poor communities and remote islands. The project is also heavily focused on working with local communities, stimulating local job creation by providing community education and training programs designed to teach communities how to manufacture and install the solar bulbs themselves. Through its innovative ability to mobilize local resources and organisations against a single purpose, as well as its effective use of social media and open- source technology, the project has grown from nothing to installing more than 250 000 lights in the Philippines.
Y- Foundation is a social enterprise that specializes in housing homeless people in Finland. The enterprise brings together different organisations and combines resources in the pursuit of a common goal: that is, permanent and effective housing for homeless persons. To achieve this goal, the project focuses on the provision of permanent housing in conjunction with quality support services for residents. Importantly, Y- Foundation has demonstrated the potential benefits that can be derived when a traditionally state-dependent service is run as a social enterprise, providing quality services, generating profits and re-investing profits in new housing projects. The enterprise also utilizes innovative designs and construction methods, and makes better use of space in order to support the integration of homeless people and families.
Adequate housing for all
The World Habitat Awards play an important role in promoting awareness and recognition of projects that seek to further these objectives. First awarded in 1985, the Awards were developed in an effort to recognize, award and transfer best practices in housing and urban development. Each year two projects that demonstrate innovation, transferability and sustainability are granted the award, and winning projects and finalists are promoted by the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF). BSHF is currently calling for innovative housing projects to apply for the 2015/16 World Habitat Awards, with submissions closing on 30 April. for more information, visit the World Habitat Awards website.