Weekly Urban News Update
February 8, 2019
In This Update: 
White House Introduces Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative
Tanzania Introduces Property Rights Program for Urban Poor
Land Portal Launches "Women's Land Rights Help Desk"
Amidst Increasing Number of Homeless in the European Union, Finland Embraces "Housing First"
Houston Decreases Number of Homeless Veterans
IHC Spotlight Event
In the News and Around the Web
Women's Economic Empowerment 

White House Introduces Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative
On Thursday, the White House introduced its Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative to be led by Ivanka Trump. The initiative follows the passage of the Women's Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act in late 2018. The Act aims to reduce gender inequality in the developing world through economic empowerment and financial inclusion. The Initiative draws from an allocation of USAID's budget to bring economic security to 50 million women across the world by 2025, partly through private sector partnership with companies such as UPS and Walmart. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Wednesday, Ivanka Trump explained: "The economic empowerment of women shouldn't be viewed as a 'women's issue'...By investing in women, we are investing in a future in which countries can support themselves by unleashing the potential of their own people."

Read more here.
Advancing Land and Property Rights 

Tanzania Introduces Property Rights Program for Urban Poor
In June 2018, the government of Tanzania launched a nationwide program to secure property rights for home owners in informal settlements. The program focuses on Dar es Salaam, where 70% of its 5 million population live in informal settlements, according to UN-Habitat. This program marks an important shift in Tanzanian policy. Previously the government regularly demolished homes in informal settlements, but new policy will provide the urban poor with land tenure rights instead. Some  critics view the program as a political ploy, but many former slumdwellers are enthused for their property registration.  Sabina Luhago, a widow with three children says: "I feel very much secure now. My children's future is bright."

Read more here

Land Portal Foundation Launches "Women's Land Rights Help Desk"
Land Portal Foundation launched a "Women's Land Rights Help Desk," to collect, share, and exchange knowledge on the advancement of women's land rights. Land Portal's Renee Giovarelli notes an increase in awareness of and attention to women's land rights as an essential component of economic empowerment. But, Giovarelli points out this does not correlate to successful implementation of new development gender strategies. Women's Land Rights Help Desk contributes to the effective implementation of these strategies by providing answers to important and sometimes difficult research questions. Specific examples of knowledge sharing include information on the relationship between women's property rights in Uganda and childcare or how to track whether women in India have certificates on land documents in government land distribution programs.

Read more here:
Policies and Strategies to Ending Homelessness

Amidst Increasing Number of Homeless in EU, Finland Pursues Housing First
Over the past year, the number of homeless grew in almost all European Union countries, according to the European Federation of National Organizations Working with the Homeless. Yet, Finland continues to decrease its homeless population through its "Housing First" approach. According to Mother Nature Network, the Finnish "Housing First" policy, inspired by United States policy recommendations, "inverts" the typical approach to ending homelessness. Rather than viewing employment or drug rehabilitation as a prerequisite for housing, Finland's "Housing First" treats housing as the "starting line" of ending homelessness.  IHC Global believes that lacking affordable, safe and decent housing is a primary challenge to breaking out of the cycle of poverty. T he efforts of Finland's "Housing First" approach, as well as the evidence of its effectiveness in ending homelessness, is extremely encouraging.

Read more here.

Houston Decreases Number of Homeless Veterans
In Houston, collaboration between various municipal, state and law enforcement authorities successfully reduced the number of homeless veterans from approximately 8,500 in 2011 to 5,000 in 2015. According to Rebecca Gale at the Pacific Standard, the responsible program Housing Houston's Heroes largely benefited from cross-departmental collaboration between the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs and Department of Veterans Affairs. Eva Thibaudeau-Gracyzk,Vice President of Programs for the Housing Coalition for the Homeless says: "In non-veteran homelessness, the only federal agency that has money to do anything is HUD, and it's a small amount of the overall budget. When you pair HUD money with VA money for veterans, you can create a system that is on steroids." Transferring the program to non-veteran homelessness has proven less successful, especially for individuals who prefer the community of street living over stable housing.

Read more here.
IHC Global Spotlight Event
Land Rights for Slum Dwellers in the East Indian State Odisha:
Making Technology Work for the Urban Poor
Solid Ground Partners
February 14, 2019
7:30-9:00 AM

Odisha, one of the major states of India, is urbanizing at a fast rate. Much of the high urban growth rate is due to the migration of poor people from rural to urban areas in search of better livelihood opportunities, and this also contributes to the growth of informal settlements or 'slums.' This webinar will discuss anecdotes of the land rights policy in the state and how the application of innovative technologies, such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones), have the potential to help slum dwellers gain land rights. The webinar is co-organized by the Government of Odisha, Azim Premji University, Cadasta Foundation, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and Tata Trusts with support from the NRMC Center for Land Governance and the Land Portal Foundation. 

Find more information  here.
In the News and Around the Web
  • Car-Free Addis Ababa: Addis Ababa enjoyed its third car-free day.
  • The Missing Women in Croatian Streets: European Data Journalism examines why less than 5% of the streets in Croatian cities are named after women.
  • Trump Nominates World Bank President: This week President Trump nominated David Malpass for World Bank President.
  • Air Pollution in the Mongolian Capital : Mongolian parents are sending their children from the capital to the countryside to escape choking smog.
Residents enjoy a car-free day in Addis Ababa.
(Photo cred: BBC )

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