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Lutheran World Relief and Habitat for Humanity International Work Together to Provide Shelter and Improve Resilience Following Disasters

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Baltimore, May 4, 2012 — Safe housing for all is a complex problem throughout the world, but especially so after a disaster. With complementary missions and a similar approach to relief and development work, Lutheran World Relief (LWR) and Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), are coordinating to ensure that affected families receive the best assistance possible.

Roger Hernandez, a seaweed farmer in the Philippines, knows the damage that a powerful storm can wreak. When a strong typhoon came through his village in December 2011, he lost his entire crop, which was just about ready to harvest, and his home sustained significant damage. Roger, whose wife is expecting their first child, wasn’t sure how his young family would manage after the disaster.

He has been able to make some stop-gap repairs to his home, “just so we are protected from the rains,” but now Roger and more than 1,200 other families in his community will benefit from a new partnership between LWR HFHI to repair homes damaged in the typhoon. Families will receive building materials and shelter repair kits, as well as technical assistance that will enable them to be better prepared for future disasters.

"Partnering with Habitat goes beyond just repairing or building houses, as families are mobilized to become more resilient against disasters,” said Femia Baldeo, LWR’s country director in the Philippines. “This helps them to transform their lives and attain sustainable development, a goal that LWR shares.”

“Habitat for Humanity and Lutheran World Relief are working together as the only international agencies in the municipality of Hinatuan, on the island of Mindanao, helping families affected by tropical storm Washi. Not only has Lutheran World Relief supported Habitat’s work financially, but they have linked us in to their network across the Philippines. This has meant we have more resources at our disposal, and the families in Hinatuan will be supported with more holistic assistance. Our work together will reestablish and invigorate communities, not just repair damaged homes,” said Charlie Ayco, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity Philippines.

The two organizations have previously worked together in Indonesia, to address the needs of families affected by the 2004 tsunami. Many families who lost homes in that disaster received emergency housing from the government, but the homes were poorly constructed. Together LWR and HFHI worked to renovate these homes to meet Indonesian building codes, and to withstand future disasters. With HFHI’s expertise in housing, and LWR’s expertise in clean water systems and disaster risk reduction (DRR), not only do the communities now have safe housing, they also have a solar-powered water system that provides clean water to the whole community and they know how to .

“Habitat’s model of community orientation, beneficiary verification and tailoring to individual beneficiary needs ensures that the project is run in a manner that is efficient and with community ownership,” said Paul Drossou, LWR’s country director in Indonesia. “It mirrors LWR’s model of accompaniment.”

In all, the results of the partnerships in Indonesia and the Philippines translate to 1,241 homes for 6,205 people, and clean water for 27,008 people, and the organizations are looking closely at future opportunities for collaboration in other parts of the world as well.

“We are excited about building this partnership with Habitat and are actively looking at how to expand our joint work to other areas,” said Tim McCully, LWR’s vice president of international programs. “We bring complementary skills to the table that make us both more effective in our common mission. Our shared commitment to living out our Christian values makes this a natural and gratifying example of how we can increase our impact around the world.”

“Helping people recover from a significant disaster requires many people and many organizations working together, and we are very pleased at the level of assistance we are able to offer to the people of the Philippines by working together with Lutheran World Relief,” said Jonathan Reckford CEO of Habitat for Humanity international. “Operating with the shared desire to serve God by serving others is enabling us to assist entire communities. We sincerely thank Lutheran World Relief for their ongoing support of Habitat’s mission in the Philippines, and we look forward to the ongoing success of this partnership.”