Much of the work done in international development is ineffective, non-sustainable and sometimes even harmful. Habitat for Humanity International and other global NGOs are rightfully being challenged to undertake new strategies and work with new private and public sector partners to increase the effectiveness and the long-term sustainability of their efforts. During this talk, I will share the framework of Habitat’s global work in seventy plus countries around the world and highlight how that work is changing and must continue to change to further its impact and Mission.
I will support the case made by others that human rights visionaries, policy makers, and advocates of the next generation must help shape a changing world to one where international development causes community-based priorities to be enabled and implemented based upon permanent and varied improvements in local capacity especially among vulnerable populations. This will require a new vocabulary, new timelines, new coalitions with new actors, new --- but not necessarily more -- resources and new metrics.
I will illustrate these issues in several contexts including Haiti, where past practices have had results ranging from disappointing to devastating but where new and exciting efforts are emerging and setting positive global standards.
Liz Blake retired in December 2014 after serving nearly nine years as Senior Vice President – Advocacy, Government Affairs & General Counsel for Habitat for Humanity International. Prior to Habitat, Liz worked in the corporate world and in private law practice for 28 years.
At Habitat for Humanity, Liz created and led its Global Advocacy initiative, ran a global legal team and headed its government affairs office in Washington, D.C. Liz traveled extensively in the developing world working on land rights, women’s inheritance rights, issues of secure tenure, women’s issues, and water/sanitation related issues. Liz founded the Haiti Property Law Working Group working on land rights in Haiti and was also responsible for Habitat on the Hill, World Habitat Day events, and supported Habitat’s participation in the World Urban Forum, the World Bank Land and Poverty Conference and Prep Con for Habitat III. Liz served as a founding member of the Board of MicroBuild and represented Habitat for Humanity on the boards of the National Housing Conference and the International Housing Coalition.
Liz continues to lead the Haiti Property Law Working Group including implementation of a land tenure grant from US AID. Liz is on the board of the National Association of Realtors, the International Women’s Forum – Atlanta, the National Association of Corporate Directors – Atlanta and the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta where she heads the Audit and Compliance Committee. Liz is a director of Green Brick Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ).