February 25, 2022 marks the first anniversary of Hadiya Village, the first permanent resettlement site established by UN-Habitat Philippines’ Rebuilding Marawi Project for families displaced by the 2017 Marawi Siege. Hadiya, which translates to “gift” in Arabic, is the home to 109 families who were awarded permanent houses constructed by UN-Habitat through funding support from the People of Japan on land procured and developed by the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC).
One year into settling in their permanent homes, we look back at how the home partners have rebuilt not just their concrete houses, but the lives of their families and community as well.
Strengthening their self-governance
Since its inauguration, the management of Hadiya Village was led by its Council of Leaders, composed of the most active leaders representing the four Homeowners Associations (HOAs) in the site. During this period, the Council of Leaders came face-to-face with the daily realities of establishing a new community where their leadership skills were put to test: networking with government agencies for basic services, coordination with host barangay, conflict resolution, security concerns, garbage collection, among others. UN-Habitat extended on-site leadership coaching, mentoring, and formal training on estate management, to support the Council.
Eleven months after, the community is ready to strengthen the governance of Hadiya Village. On January 27, 2022, they elected their first set of officers.
“When we transferred here last February 25, 2021, we wanted right away to have an election. But then, we realized that we were not yet ready for it. The 109 home-partners from four Homeowners Associations (HOAs) were not at all familiar with one another; the individual HOA officers also were new to managing a resettlement site – never had we experienced before building a new community like this one, but now, 11 months after, I believe we are ready for this,” said Abdul Jalil Madid, the newly-elected president of Hadiya Village.
Growing capacity to manage their community
In December 2021, the Council of Leaders of Hadiya Village, together with the Council of Leaders of Darussalam Village, engaged in a three-day Strategic Estate Management and Sustainability Planning Workshop. The activity aims to build the leaders’ capacities in estate management. These include areas of repair and maintenance of house structure, care and use of common spaces and facilities, access to basic social services, safety, security, sanitation, and clean environment, and financial management.
They also learned the effective ways of mobilizing resources, the roles and responsibilities of leaders in performing such function, and practical tips when engaging with different donors and audiences. Tailor-fitting the capacity-building activity to the community, they also engaged in the lecture on “Community Cohesion and Environmental Sustainability in Islam,” where they discussed how edicts from the Qur’an apply to estate management.
As an output, the leaders from the two resettlement sites developed the initial draft of their sustainability plans and policies, for refinement and approval of the home-partners.
Engagement with host community
Building a strong relationship with the host community in a post-conflict setting is an important part of establishing a permanent resettlement site. For the residents of Hadiya Village, such relationship with the barangay officials and the local people of Dulay West started even before the first stone was laid down. Peace-building activities, site assessment, and risk mapping were the preliminary activities done together with the key barangay officials and HOAs of Dulay West.
The engagement by the local people of Dulay West continued during the actual site development and shelter construction in the form of providing security at the site, supplying skilled and non-skilled workers, and delivering available materials such as concrete hollow blocks and wooden doors.
Since the inauguration of Hadiya Village, that collaboration with their host community only became stronger. Hadiya Village is now included in the provision of basic services of the barangay such as vaccination campaigns, health monitoring, garbage collection, among others. Dulay West also supported Hadiya Village in its first election by assigning the Barangay Peacekeeping Team to provide security and crowd control, and the Barangay Captain serving as part of the Election Committee. She expressed her full support to the newly elected officers and her commitment to a continued partnership.
Paying it forward to other IDPs
To support in the transition of other families who will soon be transferring to their new homes in other resettlement sites, home partners of Hadiya Village participated in a learning exchange in January 2022. Joining representatives from other sites, they shared tips on what to prioritize prior to transferring such as coordination with the officials and residents of the host barangay, electrical connection application, improvements to the core house, to name a few. They also shared good practices in resolving resolution of challenges.
In the past four years of project implementation, the home-partners of Hadiya Village have participated in the People’s Process approach, taking an active role in the construction of their permanent shelters, organizing livelihood projects, formation of peace structures, ensuring environmental and social safeguards, mapping of family profiles, constructing site facilities, and more.
The physical infrastructures built are clear evidences of the project’s success. But the intangible ways in which the community has grown – strengthening their self-governance, managing their own estate, and building relationships with other communities – are greater testaments of their resilience, and power to build and determine their own future.