24/08/2012 - The common goal of improving the living conditions of as many poor people as possible has resulted in a mutually beneficial partnership between SOS Children's Villages International and Habitat for Humanity International.
Richard Pichler, Secretary General of SOS Children's Villages International, announced at the organisation's General Assembly in Innsbruck on 22 June that a cooperation agreement of five years has been signed with Habitat for Humanity International.
The agreement is based on the understanding that the two organisations can achieve greater impact by working together than by working separately in areas of common interest and purpose. This has already been illustrated by successful collaborations in Nepal, Lesotho and Macedonia.
According to the agreement the programmes of both organisations are, in general, complimentary and mutually supportive. The focus of Habitat for Humanity International is on housing and shelter, while that of SOS Children's Villages is on care, education and health.
Six areas have been identified where the two organisations could work together. They are housing, joint communication, disaster response, maintenance of SOS Children's Villages, capacity building of youth and the exchange of lists of interested countries.
In a video message to the delegates at the General Assembly Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, said he hoped together the two organisations can have an increased impact on creating truly transformed communities.
"We are delighted to join with SOS Children's Villages to provide a more holistic approach to nurturing children and their families," said Reckford. “"We look forward to growing our partnership and bringing together more people to build homes, communities and hope."
The successful existing partnership between SOS Children's Villages and Habitat for Humanity in Nepal could serve as a blueprint for future partnerships in other countries. Through this partnership more than 400 families in Itahari, Nepal have received safe and economical housing. In this way SOS Children's Villages expanded its family strengthening programme (FSP) since the majority of the beneficiaries supported by the FSP in Nepal are in need of adequate shelter.
Mr Pichler, in his address at the General Assembly, said partnerships like these are a part of SOS Children's Villages' journey going into the second half (2013 to 2016) of its ONE strategy. According to the ONE strategy, support for SOS families and those in the community benefiting from the FSP should be well integrated.