During the last week of September, the staff and volunteers of HFHA’s national office participated in a day of collaboration with the staff of Fundación Sagrada Familia, a non-profit based in the municipality of San Isidro, Buenos Aires. Like Habitat, FSF works to facilitate access to adequate housing while implementing programs that highlight community development and empowerment. Currently HFHA has an agreement in place with their “Sume Materiales” program, in which FSF houses, reconditions and manages any in-kind donations (construction materials, home supplies, etc.) that cannot be immediately used by a Habitat beneficiary. But we were looking forward to the chance to broaden our partnership further.
To this end, we completed a fruitful “intercambio,” sharing stories of success and discussing the challenges we face on the organizational level, as well as within the context of Argentina’s non-profit environment. At the closing, we were able to outline new specific ways we can provide support, taking advantage of each organization’s operational strengths.
A few weeks later, HFHA staff attended two professional symposiums to explore recent developments in the non-profit world. The 4th Annual Conference of Microfinance in Argentina, hosted by Fundación Andares and the Network of Argentine Institutions of Microcredit, and the 2010 Congress of Housing and Human Development, hosted by the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina. The former looked at the global impact of the International Monetary Fund and the role of the state in facilitating the growth of microfinance programs in Argentina.
Sessions also explored the need to recognize the differences among projects within rural regions as compared to urban environments, the use of incentives and the need for a long-term outlook. The latter addressed the subject of housing as a universal human right, and looked at the wide-ranging housing issues faced in Argentina from legal, technical, economic and social policy angles. HFHA National Director Ana Cutts participated in a panel discussion about the intersection of civil society and business within the housing framework with the director of the UCA Business School and Buenos Aires province’s Minister of Social Development.