Indonesia

Indonesia: Mexican donors see their funds rebuild homes and lives in post-tsunami Aceh

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Aceh Jaya, Indonesia, 28 June -- Mexican delegates from an historic fundraising initiative visited Aceh recently to see how they enabled UNDP and UN-Habitat to help survivors of the 2004 tsunami rebuild their homes.

Six delegates from the fundraising campaign Alianza por Asia (Alliance for Asia) attended a colourful ceremony to celebrate UNDP/UN-Habitat's completion of 1,140 houses in Pidie, Aceh Jaya. They were accompanied by the Vice Governor of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province, Muhammad Nazar, and the Mexican Ambassador to Indonesia, His Excellency Pedro Gonzales Rubio.

Alianza por Asia was formed in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami. It is a joint initiative of 37 Mexican civil society organizations, foundations, companies, financial institutions and communications groups. The campaign raised more than USD4 million in private donations from Mexican citizens to support the reconstruction of homes in Indonesia. It represented the first-ever public fundraising opportunity for the people of Mexico to contribute to humanitarian work outside their country.

The substantial funding went towards the UNDP/UN-Habitat Aceh-Nias Settlements Support Programme (ANSSP), which awards grants for housing reconstruction and community infrastructure rehabilitation to those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. For the Alianza por Asia delegates, their visit to Pidie was a chance to see exactly how their funding helped some of these individuals.

The Alianza por Asia delegation comprised Mr. José Ignacio Avalos, President of Un Kilo de Ayuda (One Kilo of Help); Mr. Miguel Angel Laporta, Senior Executive of Un Kilo de Ayuda; Ms. Liliana Garcia, CEO of Fomento Social Banamex; Mr. Gabriel Altamirano, CEO of Televisa Foundation; Mr. Jorge Machado, CEO of Azteca Foundation; and Mr. Miguel A Toledo, a videographer from Televisa.

Upon arrival in Pidie, the delegation met with Mr. Mirza Ismail, the Bupati (District Head) of Pidie, and Mr. Salam Ishak, Bupati of Pidie Jaya. They also participated in a handover ceremony of keys to representatives from nine villages in Pidie. The group then visited Geunteng Timur village, where they attended a colourful housing completion ceremony on the beach, attended by hundreds of villagers. Souvenirs were also exchanged, and speeches were made.

José Ignacio Avalos, a leading delegate from the Alianza por Asia campaign, explained: "After the tsunami, I felt I had to do something to help the people of Aceh. No matter where we are in the world, we have a strong connection as human beings. There are a lot of similarities between Pidie and Mexico, and I feel happy to be here and to see these houses have now been built."

As part of his speech, Binod Shrestha, UN-Habitat Programme Manager, said: "This fundraising was a genuine expression of helping hands to those in need. The people of Aceh and this programme would like to say thank you."

The visit to Pidie formed part of the delegation's week-long trip to Indonesia. During this time, they also met with UNDP Resident Representative Bo Asplund, and members of BRR (the Aceh Rehabilitation and Reconstruction agency).

The UNDP/UN-Habitat ANSSP programme began in 2005. The programme supports a process of Community Action Planning (CAP) to ensure a needs-driven, participatory approach to reconstructing houses and community infrastructure damaged or destroyed by the tsunami. The programme's strategy ensures that affected families are at the centre of the recovery process. To date, 3,447 houses have been completed in Aceh and Nias, and a further 1,012 are currently under completion on the islands of Nias and Simeulue. Funding from Alianz por Asia to ANSSP has contributed to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of 2,012 houses in Aceh and North Sumatra provinces.

Background information on the Alianza por Asia delegates:

Mr. José Ignacio Avalos, President of Un Kilo de Ayuda (One Kilo of Help)

Un Kilo de Ayuda focuses on alleviating malnutrition in children under five in Mexico. Mr. Avalos is also the CEO of Compartamos, the largest microfinance enterprise in Latin America. In 2005, he was named the Social Entrepreneur of the Year at the World Economic Forum. He is also a member of the World Philanthropic Circle.

Ms. Liliana Garcia is the CEO of Fomento Social Banamex (Banco Nacional de Mexico), the social development department of one of Mexico's leading banks, now Citigroup.

Mr. Miguel Angel Laporta is the Senior Executive of Un Kilo de Ayuda.

Mr. Gabriel Altamirano is the CEO of Televisa Foundation.

Mr. Jorge Machado is the CEO of Azteca Foundation. TV Azteca and Televisa are the largest television networks in Latin America.

Mr. Miguel A Toledo is a videographer from Televisa.

For more information, please contact:

Diella Dachlan: diella@unhabitat-indonesia.org, +62 (0)812 699 1779

Nina Doyle: nina.doyle@undp.org, +62 (0)812 105 279