Every year, Habitat for Humanity International launches a multi-month campaign with the aim to encourage youth to take lead and motivate them into action to build homes and communities, on Habitat build sites or online through social networks. Habitat Young Leaders Build (HabitatYLB) is one of the largest youth movements in the Asia Pacific region and it is a chance for the young people to get together to volunteer, fundraise, raise awareness, and voice out their support for the need for decent and affordable housing.
The HabitatYLB campaign focuses on motivating the youth into action and joining the cause of advocating for the need for decent and affordable shelter. The campaign this year began on 5 December, 2017 on World Volunteer Day and it will continue until culmination on 21 April, 2018. The goal of this campaign is to get as many of the youth possible to support Habitat’s cause and speak up about the need for decent, affordable housing. To motivate the youth to participate in advocating for housing, Habitat for Humanity International introduced the advocacy grants in the 2016 HYLB campaign. Since then the application for advocacy grants opens every year during the HabitatYLB season, where applicants are encouraged to submit projects focused on decent housing, slum upgrading, gender and property rights, disaster resilience, or security of tenure. Grants of US$500 to US$1,000 each will be awarded for creativity, innovation and inclusiveness to effect change. There have been close to a dozen applications for the grants this season from Bangladesh.
The HabitatYLB campaigns focus on various aspects of Habitat’s work, and while the main events are usually centred on new house constructions, other activities such as fundraising, advocacy, social media activities are also highly encouraged. We do not want to limit the youth’s creativity and neither do we want them to be left out of this opportunity. The youth can engage themselves by speaking about the need for housing, using their creativity to inform more people about the prevalence of homelessness and how we can ensure an end to such vices by empowering people in need.
This year, Habitat Bangladesh hosted a series build at Kaliganj, Gazipur engaging volunteers from various schools and organizations in the HabitatYLB campaign on houses donated by the Abinta Kabir Foundation. Volunteer teams visited the build sites in Brahmongaon village in Kaliganj on different days over the weeks starting from 25 January to 17 February, 2018. There were a number of schools and organizations that volunteered for the very first time with Habitat Bangladesh, and it was an exciting experience for both the parties. We had a total of 158 volunteers who participated in new house constructions over three weeks. We had individual volunteers, and volunteers from International School Dhaka (ISD), Playpen School, Delhi Public School (DPS), Sir John Wilson School, GraphicPeople, and Pathao.
Habitat Bangladesh will promote the work of our volunteers with those of others in the region and showcase the efforts put in by the community in Bangladesh to help out. HabitatYLB culminates on 26 April, 2016 when all Habitat affiliates in the Asia Pacific region host special events to commemorate the efforts of the volunteers over the months.