New agreement boosts role of grassroots women

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UN-HABITAT has signed a milestone agreement with the Huairou Commission to strengthen the involvement of grassroots women in projects and programmes for better housing and sustainable urban development. The agreement signed Monday on World Habitat Day strengthens areas of existing work, and also ventures into newer areas, such as information technology.

A highlight of the Memorandum of Understanding is a commitment to collaborative working on the creation of a grassroots women’s web portal on human settlements. The portal will enable grassroots women’s groups to network and exchange information on strengthening policies and programmes for gender equality in towns and cities.

The agreement also strengthens joint work in promoting good governance, women’s land and housing rights, urban safety, and disaster risk reduction and recovery. Signed by UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director, Mrs Anna Tibaijuka, and the Chair of the Huairou Commission, Mrs Jan Peterson, the agreement gives formal recognition to the important role of grassroots women in development programmes and policy making.

"UN-HABITAT and the Huairou Commission have had a long-standing relationship in many areas of collaboration. We have shared interests in promoting women's empowerment, gender equality, and better towns and cities. In signing this memorandum of understanding, I am pleased to strengthen our work together and to explore new areas of partnership," said Mrs. Tibaijuka.

The Huairou Commission is a global network linking women’s community development organisations to influential development practictioners, including United Nations agencies and academic institutions.

Mrs Tibaijuka also presented Mrs Peterson with a Scroll of Honour award at the World Habitat Day celebrations in Washington, honouring her role as a champion for the recognition and support of grassroots women’s leadership in community development for over thirty years.

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