Update I N T E R N A T I O...

Habitat for Humanity International
Reusing and Recycling What We Know:
How to Be Better Stewards
of Our Knowledge
by Chris Little
he best learning
can come out
of a tiny community on the
other side of the globe or
a big city a hundred miles
away. In today’s connected
world, the physical distance
between knowledge and the
person who needs it is really
not all that important. But
the mechanism for getting
the knowledge from one to
the other is.
as data or information, notes
Shobha Kumar, education specialist with World Bank Institute (the
World Bank’s knowledge-sharing
structure). Kumar uses a musical
metaphor to describe the difference: data is like a music note.
Information (organized data) is
like a musical score. Knowledge
(what people know) is like a
Habitat’s knowledge-sharing
mechanisms range from technology-based mechanisms, like the
Data is like a music
note. Information
(organized data) is
like a musical score.
Habitat for Humanity has
a number of those mechanisms
(you are holding one of them
in your hands right now, the
International Affiliate Update).
These mechanisms are designed
to help us “reuse and recycle” one
of our most important natural
resources—our knowledge.
Knowledge is not the same
Knowledge (what
people know) is like
a performance.
HFHU research database, and
PartnerNet round tables, to lowtech mechanisms like lunch table
exchanges at regional conferences
and the Innovations in Education
micro-grants, some of which are
featured in this issue.
Since 2002, the Global
Training department has been
awarding these relatively small
grants (between US$2,000 and
US$4,000) to fund small, innovative learning and development programs. (See Page 3 for
more details on the program.)
These small investments create an
opportunity for learning within
a community or country. But
the more exciting opportunity is
when they create learning elsewhere.
By sharing what was learned
from these projects at the Global
Training Conference, on the global
training Web page, and in the IAU,
knowledge generated in Nairobi
can be reused in New York or vice
versa. And it gets reused in a variety of ways. For example, a group
of educators had an engaging and
in-depth conversation about how
to manage the situation when the
content of a micro grant-funded
workshop surfaced serious tension and conflict. This was not the
intended outcome of the grant,
but the learning it produced was
useful nonetheless.
If you read about one of these
small education programs and
you visit the Global Training Web
page to see what they did and
how you might use the idea, then
knowledge has just been recycled.
Knowledge-sharing sounds
simple (and it is), but it is not
necessarily easy. In Habitat we
continued on page 2
c o n t e n t s
2 0 0 5 : Vo l u m e 1 2 N o . 2
Volume 12 Number 2
The International Affiliate Update is
published quarterly.
Anita Mellott
Copy Editor
Heather Wilkinson
Graphic Designer
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Portuguese Translator
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Portuguese Copy Editor
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Spanish Copy Editor
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French Translator and Copy
Fabienne Boulongne-Collier
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Distribution Manager
Nancy Barnes, [email protected]
Editorial Policy
We welcome the submission of
articles, photos, news items and ideas
for the International Affiliate Update.
We reserve the right to print, edit or
reject any items we receive, or to
file materials for later use as space
Guidelines for the submission of
articles are available.
For further details, contact:
Anita E. Mellott, editor,
International Affiliate Update,
Habitat for Humanity International,
121 Habitat St., Americus, GA
31709-3498, USA
fax: (229) 924-0577
e-mail: [email protected]
Reusing and Recycling What
We Know: How to Be Better
Stewards of Our Knowledge
continued from page 1
talk about stewardship of financial
resources all the time, but we tend
to undervalue and even waste our
knowledge capital (sometimes in
the name of saving money!).
The result is a loss of value for
our mission and, frequently, wasted
financial resources. Affiliates who
have managed a Jimmy Carter
Work Project, for example, can
say just how valuable it is to have
access to knowledge from affiliates who managed one before.
And some can tell the story of
the cost when they did not have
access to that knowledge!
Our rapid growth, the expansive geography we cover, and
turnover in volunteers and staff
can make it hard to tap into our
learning. But Habitat has other
cultural barriers to robust knowledge-sharing.
“Not relevant to my context.” Did you wonder at the
suggestion that New York could
learn from Kenya or vice versa?
Frequently, we assume that our
own situation is so unique to
our community or context that
we don’t look for what others
have learned. And we don’t think
to document or share our own
learning so that others can use it.
“Stop talking and start
doing.” Habitat is an actionoriented organization, with a passion for results and urgency for
moving towards our goal. This is
good. But taking the time to see
HFH: A Movement That Houses Knowledge
abitat for Humanity
is known throughout the world for
housing families. This movement actually houses something else: knowledge. Habitat
for Humanity University
(HFHU) was created as a
means of overcoming geographical and technological
hurdles to provide accessible
pathways to that collective
knowledge. E-courses are
only one of several pathways
that HFHU uses to promote
knowledge-sharing within
HFHI. Here is a brief overview of two important knowledge-sharing
projects that HFHU is working on:
Good Ideas and Promising Practices: As
part of a larger initiative to promote the sharing of “best” practices, HFHU has developed
an idea collection form that is currently being
piloted in HFH U.S.’s Midwest region. Still under
development are processes and systems for
review and sharing of ideas submitted via these
forms. The vision for this knowledge-sharing
initiative is that HFH partners around the world
will be able to learn from, adapt and use each
other’s innovative ideas as well as keep abreast
of promising practices being piloted in select
locations. Contact [email protected] to access
the idea collection form.
Research Agenda: Relevant scholarly
articles, practitioner summaries and other
research products are being made available
in HFHU’s library. Downloadable summaries
provide a concise summary of the work, key
findings, its relevance and implications for
Vo l u m e 1 2 N u m b e r 2 I n t e r n a t i o n a l A f f i l i a t e U p d a t e
the work of Habitat for
Humanity, and reflection
questions that allow readers
to consider the relevance to
Habitat for Humanity’s work
and other housing contexts.
Reports and findings will
be added on a regular basis
and categorized according
to the content areas they
address. Be sure to regularly
visit the “Research Papers”
section under “Programs
and Products” at www.hfhu.
org for the most up-to-date
findings. HFHU welcomes
submission of completed
research studies for possible inclusion in our
library. Send submissions to [email protected]
Other HFHU initiatives that encourage
and promote knowledge-sharing: In the spirit
of knowledge-sharing, HFHU offers links to
resources that could be useful to HFH partners around the globe. See “Links” under
“Programs and Products” at www.hfhu.org.
As part of its Brown Bag Lunch Program
and the recent launch of the Harvard
ManageMentorPLUS series, HFHU will prepare
simple, downloadable documents available
online that will allow groups everywhere, face
to face or virtual, to participate in related
discussions, fostering enterprise-wide examination of similar issues.
In order to keep the HFHU knowledge-sharing initiative relevant, we need
to hear from you! Feel free to send your
questions and suggestions to Jane Gruler at
[email protected]
Global Training
Innovations in
Education Micro-Grant
by Jane Gruler-Johns
Trainer Geoffrey Wheeler shares valuable knowledge during a blockmaking workshop in Danang,Vietnam.
what has been learned (by other
affiliates, other national programs
or other organizations) makes
good sense. In a learning organization, talking is doing. The most
valuable knowledge for getting a
project off to a good start may be
stored in someone else’s head!
“I don’t have time for the
conference, just send me the
notes.” Kumar notes that early
knowledge-management efforts
focused too much on “knowledge
stock,” reports, best practices and
databases and did not recognize
that the best knowledge exchange
will always be people to people.
(See the communities of practice
article on Page 8.) Well-facilitated
meetings and conferences, and
unfacilitated informal gatherings
are excellent knowledge-sharing mechanisms. Technology has
made it possible for these gatherings to occur across continents.
“Too much information!”
Mechanisms for sharing information can and do get disorganized.
And when we confuse information with knowledge, we can
overload each other. The Global
Training department learned, for
example, that it was not enough
to put our shared documents up
on PartnerNet. We used our Web
page to provide a “guided tour”
through PartnerNet, selecting
the bits of knowledge we think
most useful to educators. HFHU’s
e-courses are also “guided tours”
through what we have learned
as an organization using selected
cases, best practices and tips to
help us examine an aspect of our
work. Thoughtful facilitation of
dialogue (instead of a discussion
free-for-all) can also ensure that
information is converted into
manageable, useful chunks of
As Habitat grows and as it
experiments with innovative
approaches to accomplishing our
mission and partnerships with
other organizations, our knowledge will become an increasingly
powerful resource that can be
dedicated to the eradication of
poverty housing worldwide.
n March 2002, the Global Training department
launched a micro-grant program for innovations
in education. These small grants (up to US$4,000)
are designed to support global learning by funding
relatively small but innovative training programs, and then
sharing the program and key learnings around the globe.
The idea is to get global learning out of a relatively small budget.
Four thousand dollars does not stretch very far globally, but could make
quite a difference at a community or national level! Plus we build the
habit of reflecting on our experience, documenting and sharing what
we have learned.
Eight grants have been awarded to date. Past proposals and reports
can be accessed on the Global Training Team Web site on PartnerNet:
Grants are awarded to anyone working in training and education in
a country program or affiliate in Habitat for Humanity’s five areas (LA/
C, A/ME, E/CA, A/P, U.S.). Calls for proposals are sent out in August of
each year to area program and training leaders.
Proposals are first reviewed by area program staff, and then
forwarded on to a global selection committee. Criteria include:
• Link between this project and HFHI’s current fiscal year goals
• Innovativeness
• Potential for relevance and learning in other parts of the world
• How well the grant application adheres to application guidelines
(length, format, required information, etc.)
Jane Gruler-Johns is a global trainer
and international content manager for HFHU.
Christine Little is the director of
Global Training.
International Affiliate Update
Vo l u m e 1 2 N u m b e r 2
Africa and the Middle East
GTD Training Micro-Grants Enable
by Shadrack Mutembei and Mark Wooding
ince 1982 Habitat
Kenya (HFHK)
has been engaged
in low-income housing in
rural Kenya, and has so far
provided community groups
the resources and capacity to build more than 2,035
houses for families in need.
While this has brought simple, decent and affordable
houses to many families previously living in inadequate
shelter, we had not had a
significant impact in actively
involving local leadership and
institutions in our communities, nor had we concentrated
on ensuring that the field
officers were given every
opportunity to perform to
the best of their individual
However, this has changed
with the Innovations in Education
micro-grants awarded by Habitat
for Humanity International’s
(HFHI) Global Training department (GTD) to HFHK. The first
micro-grant was for community
leaders training, which last fiscal
year (July 2003–June 2004), contributed to a total of 466 houses
being built (an increase from
212 the previous year) and overwhelming excitement and participation in all affiliates, leading to
a backlog of qualified applicants
on our waiting list. The second
micro-grant was for the program
staff leadership training, which
was held in January 2005.
Our training capacity was jumpstarted in 2001 by HFHI’s Jane
Gruler and Christine Little, who
spent one week in Kenya inducting
all three program officers and the
six field officers involved in training into the Vella Adult Training
Approach, which HFHK has since
embraced both in the field and at
the national level. We have spent
the last three years upgrading
our own capacity through organizational development and the
creation of strong
systems to support
Leaders are not only the key
much greater scale
and impact. Staff
influencing figures in any
meetings now take
community or organization,
place on a quarbut they are also the policy
terly basis without fail, and this
makers who can adequately
is where we ensure
promote decent shelter.
the quality and
accuracy of communication and
Description of the Projects
the integrity of decision-making
HFHK won the two consecutive processes, including follow-up for
micro-grants (amounting to US$ the training conducted through
4,000 each), by focusing on people the micro-grant to ensure we are
and organizational development. connecting knowledge and action
Vo l u m e 1 2 N u m b e r 2 I n t e r n a t i o n a l A f f i l i a t e U p d a t e
resulting from the trainings.
The training objectives
sought to strengthen HFHK so
that as we embark on the HFHI
2006–2011 strategic plan, it
is from an improved financial,
human resources, infrastructure
and capacity standpoint. The first
training targeted and focused on
local community leaders and was
carried out in the field. The second focused on helping HFHK
program staff to become leaders
in their communities and took
place in Nairobi, with field officers staying in a local conference
centre within easy access of the
national office. Leaders are not
only the key influencing figures in
any community or organization,
but they are also the policy makers who can adequately promote
decent shelter to become a matter
of conscience and action, socially,
religiously and politically.
The main objective of the
first training was to encourage
and actively involve all stakeholders, local leadership, churches
and other institutions with an
interest in the poor and their
Page 4 Left: Staff from various Habitat affiliates in Kenya came together for leadership training. Page 4 Right: Local community members participate
in a team-building exercise during a staff leadership training session. Above left: Community leaders participate in a small group discussion in Kisii,
during the leadership training conducted by HFH Kenya. Above right: Habitat field and program officers participate in role-play during a training session on self-management.
sub-standard living conditions to
join us in our effort to bring simple, decent and affordable housing
to the families in need through a
simple, participatory process: the
Tujenge Nyumba low-cost housing scheme. The objective of the
and elders, affiliate committee
executives and homeowners. Four
main areas were covered: servant
leadership; poverty and transformational development; HFH mission, focus and principles; and
HFHK’s Tujenge Nyumba (House
Building) process.
In the sec[Attendees]…performed
ond training, all
HFHK’s 16 field
activities to understand the
officers, three pronew information and aftergram officers and
wards committed to inteother
office staff attendgrate the learning in order
ed the five-day
to effectively retain it.
workshop (Jan.
17–21, 2005). Four
external and two
second training was to help HFHK internal facilitators were involved
program staff develop the com- in this training and covered five
petence and spiritual character modules: servant leadership; selfthat will equip and enable them to management; conflict manageperform effectively, and at the ment and team building; effecsame time, give them an oppor- tive communication; and transtunity to be creative and perform formational development from a
in a manner consistent with their Christian perspective.
gifting and uniqueness.
The Vella Adult Training
The first training program Approach was used throughout,
was delivered consecutively in and incorporated all three learning
four regions, namely Kisii, Bomet, techniques (in other words seeing,
Maua and Runyenjes. A total of hearing and doing). Additionally,
12 affiliates and 144 local leaders those attending performed activiincluding 12 HFHK field offi- ties to understand the new inforcers were trained in this program. mation and afterwards commitOther participants ranged from ted to integrate the learning in
area chiefs and their assistants, order to effectively retain it. Each
area councilors, church pastors participant therefore developed at
least three personal development
goals, which were derived from
materials learned in the training.
The goals and tasks were not only
innovative but had to be attainable within a certain period of
time, to be reviewed after three
months during the program staff
quarterly communications meeting to ensure their continuous
implementation, adjustment and
Lessons Learned
Factors contributing to the
quality of the training results:
• Be prepared: Plan early, schedule sufficient time, identify target participants and facilitators.
• Using the Vella Adult Training
Approach helped the participants
retain new information learned.
• Content: Use previous evaluations and experience to tailor
the training content to participants’ needs.
• Facilitators must have adequate
knowledge and skills on the
subject matter of their sessions.
• Allow adequate team building before the training so that
participants settle quickly and
learn easily.
• Translating the training model
into the local language avoided
• Submit training models to
HFHI area/international offic-
es for prior feedback, revise as
Constraints and Challenges
• Finding the right balance
between overview or analysis of
broad subjects in a short period
of time.
• Finding the best time of day/
calendar slot for people in rural
communities to participate
Secondary Outcomes of the
Training Activity
• Utilizing the Result: The
training, especially on servant
leadership, management, communication, poverty and development came when HFHI had
officially pronounced these
concepts. This has led HFHK to
allocate funding in each year for
similar training.
• Skills Learned by Participants
and Facilitators: More HFHK
staff and additional affiliate
members learned useful skills,
and the trainings also provided
a practice opportunity for both
the facilitators and participants.
Participants gained additional
skills and experience for developing their action plans, personal mission and personal
development goals.
International Affiliate Update
continued on page 12
Vo l u m e 1 2 N u m b e r 2
Europe and Central Asia
Board Training to Better
Target Partner Families
(This is a summary of the Gliwice Board Training report submitted to
the HFHI Global Training department in March 2003.)
n 1992, an HFH affiliate was established
in Gliwice, Poland.
Due to a broad
range of inadequate housing conditions in this part
of Europe, the affiliate leaders encountered difficulties
in defining what “families
in need” really meant. As a
result, for eight years the
affiliate built relatively large
homes for middle-income
families. From 2000 to 2002,
the Europe/Central Asia
(E/CA) office staff worked
closely with this group to
develop good business practices and management skills.
Despite the tremendous
need in the community, the
board continued to grapple
with deciding which families
were in the greatest need of
Goal and Objectives
(per original proposal)
A run-down apartment in Poland.
As a result of receiving a microgrant through the Global Training
department at Habitat for
Humanity International, training
for the board was conducted in
October 2002. The goal of the
training was to help the board
understand poverty in their community and to commit to finding
housing solutions for the families
in greatest need.
Measurable objectives:
1. The board defines poverty in
its community.
Vo l u m e 1 2 N u m b e r 2 I n t e r n a t i o n a l A f f i l i a t e U p d a t e
2. The board defines conditions
of unacceptable housing in its
3. The board meets with families
from the second HFH affiliate
and witnesses their commitment, appreciation and hard
work (Note: this issue was not
addressed in the training because
board members were not able to
travel to the second affiliate).
4. The board devotes itself to
finding such partners in its
own community.
5. The board commits itself to
finding housing solutions for
such families.
Horoscope of Poverty
This activity encouraged the participants to use their imagination
and experiences to better understand the issue of poverty that
affects individuals by reflecting
on the lack of opportunities that
poor people have. Participants
were divided into small groups
(four to five people) and given
cards with the description of the
life of a certain imaginary individual. They were then asked to
imagine what that individual’s life
was as it related to work, finances,
family, etc. The horoscopes were
discussed in the plenary session.
Take a Step Forward
This was an experiential learning exercise in which participants
experienced what it was like to
be someone else in their society.
It helped highlight the fact that
social inequality is often a source
of discrimination and exclusion.
Where Do You Stand?
This exercise was a series of
provocative questions where the
participants have to take their
position in the room that is divided into three parts: I agree, I
disagree and I don’t know. After
each question was asked, the participants justified their positions
on the issues. This provided a
forum to hear opinions from all
participants on key issues that
affect the organization.
SWOT Analysis (Strengths,
Weaknesses, Opportunities
and Threats)
First as individuals and then in
small groups, the participants did
a SWOT analysis of the organization and then compared their
Teamwork and Leadership
Before the retreat, the participants
were asked to answer the following questions on their own:
1. What is a team?
2. What makes an effective
3. What are the advantages and
disadvantages of working on
a team?
At the retreat, the participants
compared their answers to this
Identifying and Managing
Each participant was asked to
write down three to four things
about the organization that they
would like to change. All items
were put in a bowl in the center
of the room. The facilitator drew
out the items one by one, which
Action Plan
Based on the items for change
identified above, the participants
were asked to identify items they
were committed to changing and
then prepare an action plan to
implement that change (including dates and responsibility for
the action).
Initial Outcomes
The initial plan was to hold the
training at another affiliate, which
was partnering with HFH target
families. Unfortunately, that did
not work out. However, the facilitator did a very good job in introducing an experiential element
to the retreat with the activities
of the first day. There were good
discussions about poverty and the
poverty cycle. Also, the facilitator
encouraged participation from all
the board members, not just a few.
The session, “My Personal Key
to Leadership” was very important in empowering individual
board members to recognize their
contributions to the organization
as a whole. (This concept of individual worth was not developed
during communism and, therefore, many individuals feel powerless to affect change.)
The session on identifying
change was particularly informative. When given an opportunity to identify areas in need
of change, the participants came
up with a wide range of ideas.
They then took these ideas and
integrated them into an action
plan. Their action plan included
the following five key topics for
1. Revise family selection criteria.
2. Fund raising.
3. Look at other possible building solutions to reduce home
4. Board development.
5. Development of strategic
It is obviously very hard to change
attitudes, and harder still to measure such change. However, a few
indicators were identified to measure progress:
Keeping construction costs
low. One of the problems in the
past was ever-increasing construction costs. The affiliate did
not monitor costs, and found that
once the project was completed,
the actual cost was significantly
higher than the budgeted cost.
After the training, affiliate staff
monitored the costs of a project
of 11 units. The affiliate reported
being under their initial construction budget! The affiliate is mak-
undertaken many activities since
the retreat.
1. Looking at wood construction. Unfortunately, this does
not look to be a very viable
solution in Gliwice. Wood is
an expensive material, and
it is also difficult to find an
affordable design for a multifamily structure using wood.
2. Analyze building costs. The
construction committee has
analyzed the costs of the
building currently under construction in order to determine where they can reduce
costs. In particular, they
recognize that they need to
control the cost of delivering
donated materials to the site,
and significantly reduce the
cost of their roof trusses.
pleted the project that was underway in October 2002. Though
challenging, the affiliate redefined
its target family income calculations to reduce the income level
and, therefore, the cost of their
construction project. The organization also prepared the area’s
Simple, Decent and Affordable
(SDA) assessment tool and recognized that they are building
for families of slightly higher
incomes than recommended in
the SDA guidelines. At that time,
they stated they were committed
to finding a lower-cost housing
solution for their families.
Note that an unexpected result
was that the retreat was the first
time that the participants, board
members and staff switched from
the formal method of address-
were discussed in plenary. The
participants discussed both the
merits of the suggested item to be
changed as well as potential ways
to move forward.
Marek and Judyta Tanczyk and their three young children live in this tiny two-room apartment in Gliwice,
Poland, that previously served as a school dorm room. The Tanczyk family has begun construction on their
Habitat house with the help of a Global Village work team, some of whose members are pictured here visiting
them in their current home.
ing tremendous efforts to negotiate discounts on materials and
improve their local volunteer program. Many of these efforts were
started before the retreat, but they
have been strengthened since.
Look at other building solutions for the next project. The
construction committee has
3. New/revised house design.
The board is very hesitant to
look at completely redesigning the project and feels it
is more economical to make
smaller design changes.
Redefine target families and
income calculations. In late summer 2003, the organization com-
ing each other to the informal
method. This was actually a huge
step in their intra-organizational
The training was very useful in
getting the board’s “buy-in” to
continued on page 10
International Affiliate Update
Vo l u m e 1 2 N u m b e r 2
Communities of Practice:
Leveraging Learning Through Relationships
by Jane Gruler-Johns
hen the line forms outside the U.S.
Consulate office, an informal knowledge-sharing community develops.
Hopeful visa applicants trade tips on
what to say; they tell their stories about how an aunt got
a visa, and a cousin got rejected. They share pointers on
what to say to which consular agent.
They are not a team. They arrived with similar but individualized goals. They do not share a boss, a budget or a project. But
there is little doubt that, for at least a brief period of time, these
participants are gaining valuable knowledge that will help their
performance on the other side of the gates.
In organizations, these groups are “communities of practice.”
“Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen
their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis,”
writes Etienne Wenger in
Cultivating Communities
of Practice: a Guide to
Managing Knowledge.
Communities of practice
(CoP) are one of the least
visible, and more important
ways that organizations like
Habitat for Humanity share
The intentional cultivation of communities of
practice is still relatively
new to many organizations,
including Habitat. But the
communities themselves have formed naturally for years. These
communities may meet virtually to discuss the finer points of
energy efficient housing; in periodic conference calls to talk about
volunteer retention; or in monthly meetings with other community groups to talk about addressing the community’s needs.
What is the difference between a CoP and:
• A network? A community of practice focuses on a substantive
topic rather than a set of relationships.
• A work team? The shared learning and interest of community
of practice members keep it together. It is defined by knowledge
rather than by an individual task, and exists because participation has value to its members.
Vo l u m e 1 2 N u m b e r 2 I n t e r n a t i o n a l A f f i l i a t e U p d a t e
• Other communities? Community of practice members are more
likely to share a common profession or work situation.
Communities have loose borders. Membership is defined more
by self-selection and relevance than by assignment, and the work
that happens in these communities often goes unnoticed.
“People belong to communities of practice at the same time
as they belong to other organizational structures. In their business units, they shape the organization. In their teams, they take
care of projects. In their networks, they form relationships. And
in their communities of practice, they develop the knowledge that
lets them do these other tasks,” notes Wenger, a well-known expert
and consultant on knowledge management and CoP. “This informal fabric of communities and shared practices makes the official
organization effective and, indeed, possible.”
What communities of practice exist within Habitat? PartnerNet
Round Table discussion groups, training staff around the world;
executive directors of affiliates and country programs who meet
and continue to communicate with one another in between meetings; Church Relations volunteers and staff.
What role do these CoPs within HFH play? Here are
some examples:
• Helping: Members help each other solve everyday problems.
Click on the discussions on PartnerNet and you will find
community members asking for and getting help from their
• Best practices: Members focus on developing, validating and
sharing specific practices. The Program CoP and Global Training
Team both have an area sharing component to their conferences
that serves as a forum for sharing best practices.
• Knowledge stewarding: Members focus on developing and
sharing tools, insights and approaches needed by members in
their work assignments. Members of the Finance CoP spent a
good portion of their most recent conference focusing on the
development of approaches to carrying out global finance initiatives in the most effective way.
The topics, modes of communication and ways of accumulating knowledge vary from one community to the next. But members of any CoP will have something in common: they know that
their own contribution of knowledge will come back to them, and
they become informally bound by the value they find in learning
Jane Gruler-Johns is a global trainer and international content
manager for HFHU.
Latin America and the Caribbean
Developing Community
by Manuel Mancuello
are concerned about their
neighborhoods and willing
to serve. Thanks to these
groups, it is no longer necessary to transport HFH staff
to the different communities
for meetings—group leaders
come to the affiliate offices.
“Currently there are four
community groups involved with
the Santa Cruz affiliate—the
Minero, Saavedra, Warnes and
Pailón communities,” comments
Celinda Melgarejo, national coordinator of education.
Community groups are also
operating through the El Alto, San
Julián, Chimoré and Ichilo affiliates. Also, several groups are being
developed in partnership with the
Oruro and Cochabamba affiliates.
Another significant achievement
has been the creation of a training
manual that serves as a guide for
or over a year
n ow, H F H
Bolivia’s affiliates
have been able to
save time as well as human
and economic resources by
organizing partner families
through the use of “community groups.” Community
groups are made up of partner families, volunteers and
community leaders who
community group leaders and other
volunteers who serve as liaisons
between the affiliate and the local
community, reporting on Habitat’s
activities in the community and
helping with family support.
In addition to saving the
affiliate time and resources, the
community groups serve another
important function: improving
the lives of partner families by
promoting community development and getting local leaders
involved in Habitat’s ministry.
“It’s great that Habitat is
concerned about community
development. They’ve shown us
the importance of participating
and making decisions for our
community, because if we don’t
change our attitudes, our community will never change,” says a
community group member with
the Santa Cruz affiliate. Since
1990, the Santa Cruz affiliate has
continued on page 10
International Affiliate Update
Vo l u m e 1 2 N u m b e r 2
built more than 1,700 houses with
families in need.
According to Lucy Banegas,
educator with the Santa Cruz affiliate, HFH staff members working with community groups have
observed the following results:
• The partner families’ level of
interaction with each other
changes after moving into their
homes. Families are open to help
before construction begins, but
this motivation decreases when
they already have their home.
• Some groups have empathy and
identify with the organization.
However, other groups have different attitudes and are resistant
to collaborating with families in
need of a home.
“Some people misinterpret the
purpose of the community leader.
They think that these leaders are
seeking some kind of personal
benefit. In order to change this
perception, we need to emphasize
leadership models in our training. We need servant leaders with
a commitment to social change,”
explains Melgarejo.
“It seems that until now we’ve
been more concerned with our
own problems. However, now I
Board Training to Better
Target Partner Families
continued from page 7
the idea of reducing their housing
costs in order to build for lowerincome families in accordance
with HFH principles. Following
are the key elements:
• Participation of all board
members plus key staff.
• Outside facilitator (in our case,
the fact that he was a native
Polish speaker facilitated the discussions—no translation necessary—and gave him an increased
level of respect from the start).
• In a neutral setting (casual
retreat center).
• Experiential element. What
realize that we have problems in
common and that we can support
each other to overcome them,” says
a community group member of
the other Habitat partner families.
For Melgarejo, one of the most
satisfying aspects of this project
has been the process of training
the partner families. As a result of
the workshops, the families have
been able to develop problemsolving skills that they use to solve
many of the problems encountered as new homeowners.
“The support of the entire
affiliate—including the educator,
director, board of directors and
volunteers—has been an essential part of this process. It has
been interesting to see the families’
level of commitment to the organization grow. They now want to
help other families have a home
of their own. In addition, as members of a community, the families
have become aware of the need to
address problems within the community and search for solutions
to those problems,” she concludes.
Manuel Mancuello is a writer and
editor for HFH's programs in Latin
America and the Caribbean. For
more information, including a manual on forming community groups,
contact [email protected]
does poverty “feel like?”
• “Where do you stand” activity.
Gave each participant the opportunity to speak and share his/her
thoughts. Participants who are
typically silent shared ideas and
experiences that really moved
the rest of the participants and
encouraged people to open up.
• “My Personal Key to Leadership”
activity. Empowered people to
see how an individual can influence and contribute to the team.
• Action plan. Set out clear steps
and provided written documentation of what would happen next, when it would happen
and who was responsible for it.
• Provided a tool for follow-up
Vo l u m e 1 2 N u m b e r 2 I n t e r n a t i o n a l A f f i l i a t e U p d a t e
Future Habitat
homeowners Jenny
Luzu Riaga and
José Luis lay blocks
for their new
house. This was
part of the first
Women Build in
that country.
Developing Community
continued from page 9
HFH Ecuador
Holds Training
Sessions to Promote
by Yolanda Rojas
abitat for Humanity Ecuador is currently
conducting a training program for 50 volunteers representing the country’s seven affiliates. The purpose of this program is to provide participants with the methods and tools necessary
for promoting sustainable projects and growth in their
regions. The topics covered in this program include an
introduction to learning; Christian leadership; strategic
planning and thinking; facilitation tools; and project
design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
Among the program’s most significant achievements include
a standards-based system for evaluating each participant
according to his or her ability to accomplish certain tasks at
the affiliate (i.e., updating the operating manual and carrying
out self-evaluation of the affiliate’s work, fund-raising activities
and family support program). The program has also become a
source of cultural integration and support at all levels. In addition, program participants have benefited from the involvement
of other organizations such as World Vision Ecuador whose
employees have facilitated workshops on servant leadership and
strategic planning.
Yolanda Rojas is the education coordinator at HFH Ecuador. For
more information, please contact her at [email protected]
Using Case Studies in Online Forums
by Manuel Mancuello
n May 2004, Lina Maria Obando—institutional tion in the case studies.
One of the case studies that participants looked at was “The
development coordinator for South America—
and I decided to initiate a series of online Secrets of Los Tuxtlas” written by Christy Stickney, regional
forums in South America using case studies director for HFH Central America and Mexico. “Studying ‘The
as the primary tool for reflection. We found the online Secrets of Los Tuxtlas’ has been a wonderful experience,” says
forums useful for overcoming the limits of geography in Maria Cristina Delgado, national partner and educator with
order to strengthen networks between programs and HFH Colombia. “I felt as though I was traveling along a path of
for providing continuity in training
and the construction of learning
communities. The case studies provided a way for us to reflect on our
work and develop plans for modifying our actions. “[Case studies]
allow us an objective view of our
work and give us an opportunity
to reflect on it as a group in order
to learn from the best practices
and errors of our colleagues,” says
The first step in the process of developing the online forums was to locate the
case studies. Then we had to decide on
the best way to disseminate the informa- “The online forums have allowed me to start knitting
tion and, finally, we had to identify the together new ideas like a spider web. I now feel that the
people we would invite to participate in
the forum. Our first two forums took Habitat Colombia family and the Eje Cafetero affiliate
place via e-mail. After confirming the
have the support they need to grow and change.”
participants, we proceeded to send them
—Maria Cristina Delgado, national partner and educator, HFH Colombia.
five guiding questions as well as the case
study as an attached Word document.
Although distributing the case study materials via e-mail divine inspiration. The online forums have allowed me to start
had certain advantages, it also presented certain problems such knitting together new ideas like a spider web. I now feel that the
as not being able to see all of the participants’ comments. For Habitat Colombia family and the Eje Cafetero affiliate have the
this and other reasons, we decided to use the PartnerNet Round support they need to grow and change. I hope that as these new
Table for our third forum. After confirming the Round Table ideas crystallize, they will grow into an organized web.”
“I continue to encourage people to participate in the online
participants, we sent them the link to access PartnerNet and
download the case study, a list of guiding questions to the Round forums,” says Obando. “Listening to their voices and reading and
reflecting on their ideas are what make these forums vital. It’s
Table, and instructions for participating.
For our first forum, we limited participation to educators, important to be able to learn from each other through sharing
national directors and international personnel of Habitat South ideas.”
America. For subsequent forums, however, we included other
people depending on the theme. It was gratifying to see how Manuel Mancuello is a writer and editor in the Communications
people from different geographic locations in South America department of HFH Latin America and the Caribbean.
came together to exchange questions and reflect on the informa-
International Affiliate Update
Vo l u m e 1 2 N u m b e r 2
GTD Training Micro-Grants
Enable Leadership
continued from page 5
• Sharing and Relationships
Improved: Affiliate members
learned the importance of
regional affiliate meetings and
trainings and requested having
such trainings once per year.
The staff training provided an
opportunity for interaction and
learning from each other, their
supervisors, colleagues from
other departments and facilitators. External facilitators who
shared experiences from their
organizations inspired the participants.
• Team Building: The training
built affiliates and staff teams,
through various workshop exercises, discussions and activities;
during informal discussions,
teams were also affirmed.
• Forum for Asking Questions
Affiliates were happy to
meet staff from the national
office who could answer their
questions, and also provided
programmatic feedback to the
national office for consideration. The staff met and shared
their successes and challenges
with their supervisors and
received face-to-face feedback.
The community leaders training and program staff leadership
training were excellent opportunities for HFHK to enable its
important resource (people) to
become more actively involved
in housing efforts currently being
promoted by the Government
of Kenya. The two training programs were accomplished quietly
and effectively and demonstrated
the commitment of all stakeholders and community leaders to
deliver low-income housing in a
way that enables and empowers
the poor to be critical players in
the process.
The training sessions not only
encouraged, inspired and motivated leaders to play a critical
role in their ministries, but also
equipped them with information and skills that will count in
HFHK’s community development
efforts. The moving of 466 families into decent housing last fiscal
year alone and the overwhelming excitement and participation
among all affiliates involved in the
program, leading to a backlog of
qualified applicants on our waiting list, is a clear indication of the
importance and impact of these
Because the development of
the people of a community or
organization is the only guarantee
that the community or organization will grow into all that it can
be, the two leadership trainings
demonstrated that this can be
accomplished more economically
than going after the “multitude.”
By so doing, we encouraged all
stakeholders, local leadership,
churches and other institutions
with an interest in the poor and
their sub-standard living conditions to join us in our effort to
bring simple, decent and affordable housing to the families in
need. By training our field officers, we enable them to be true
ambassadors for HFHK in rural
and urban communities, and
have the knowledge and tools to
advocate on behalf of the poor in
their quest for decent shelter.
Shadrack Mutembei is the program officer for affiliate development. Mark Wooding is the national director of HFH Kenya.
Habitat for Humanity
Unveils New Logo
n May 2,2005,Habitat
for Humanity
unveiled a powerful
new tool to strengthen the
organization’s house-building mission worldwide: a new
shared logo that incorporates
the ideals of partnership, shelter and action and reflects
the principles that shape the
Habitat movement. And while
our “look” may be changing,
rest assured that our mission
is steadfast: to build simple,
decent, affordable houses in
partnership with families who
desperately need them.
The new Habitat for Humanity
logo was designed in the spirit of the
previous mark and in light of input
from partners all over the world. It
builds upon our blessings of a clear
mission, dedicated partners and a
well-established name and allows
us to establish a visual identity that
has just as much impact.
In this new logo launch, we
have carefully considered local
identity, cultural sensitivities
and sound stewardship. By our
30th anniversary celebration on
July 31, 2006, we expect all affiliates will have fully implemented
their—and our—shared logo. To
that end, we will provide you the
tools and assistance necessary to
make a successful transition to
your new affiliate-specific logo.
We will support you as needed to
launch the logo in your own community—whenever and however
you decide to do so.
One such launch tool is the
BuildBrandSite, a Web-based resource that was launched on May
2. Through this site, you will be
able to:
• Customize and download your
new affiliate logo
• View logo usage guidelines and
download templates for brochures, flyers, signs and more
• Create your new letterhead,
business cards and envelopes—
and download a file for your
local printer
Please contact your area communication director for more information, or visit the BuildBrandSite
at http://partnernet.habitat.org/
newlogo to create your own consistent and compelling new logo!
121 Habitat St. Americus, GA 31709-3498 USA
phone: (001) 229-924-6935 e-mail: [email protected] World Wide Web: www.habitat.org/
HFHI Mission Statement
Habitat for Humanity works in partnership with God and people everywhere, from all walks of life, to develop
communities with people in need by building and renovating houses, so that there are decent houses in decent
communities in which every person can experience God's love and can live and grow into all that God intends.
International Affiliate Update Mission Statement
The mission of the International Affiliate Update is to promote a borderless Habitat for Humanity by providing
information, training and communication around the world by creating:
1. A vehicle of communication between Habitat for Humanity International and local Habitat affiliates.
2. A vehicle for sharing and communicating among local Habitat partners.
3. A blueprint for steady growth of the total Habitat organization and of the various local affiliates that make
up the organization.
Vo l u m e 1 2 N u m b e r 2 I n t e r n a t i o n a l A f f i l i a t e U p d a t e