Best Practices Database

Winners of the 2016 Dubai International Awards for Best Practices!

The following 12 winners were selected to receive the 2014 Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment. During the 2014 Dubai Awards, over 700 practices were received and reviewed. The 12 winners were decided upon based on the criteria of tangible impact, partnership, and sustainability and also leadership and community empowerment, gender equality and social inclusion, and innovations that can be replicated.

Village of Hope - Kigali, Rwanda

Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda. It has a population of 851, 024 (2005 estimates.) Beginning on 7th April 1994, Kigali was the scene of the Rwandan genocide for 100 days. Village of Hope (VoH) is a civil society initiative that provides basic needs, life skills and social amenities to disadvantaged women and orphans living in Kigali, especially HIV positive women survivors of the 1994 genocide. It is a multidisplinary initiative that deals with trauma in a post-conflict situation while at the same time providing realistic concrete solution - shelter and livelihood. (VoH) is an extension of the Polyclinic of Hope, a project of Rwanda Women Network (RWN), which addresses shelter needs of genocide victims. The village is made up of 20 housing units and a community centre. They use a holistic program, with an end goal of healing the wounds of genocide, by supporting peace and reconciliation. (VoH) supports around 1,000 women and 200 youths, with shelter, training on vocational skills and pays secondary school fees for 15 students.

“The Green brigade”: Setting-up of a team of 1200 women to clean the streets of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a landlocked nation in West Africa whose population is 11, 946,065 (2000 estimates). Burkina Faso, a least developed country, is one of the poorest countries in the world with a GDP per capita income of US$1,300. The “Green brigade” initiative aims at improving the city environment of Ouagadougou by providing secure employment to a group of 1200 women, most of whom are bread winners, to clean the streets and public spaces. The Green Brigade initiative has 3 main objectives. The first one is to reduce poverty through jobs creation. This has been achieved with the creation of 1,500 direct employments. The second objective is to improve the image and cleanliness of public spaces as well as urban streets. In this regard, 120 km of street and 3,000,000 sq metres are cleaned every Monday and Thursday. This practice allows the removal of all litter and all sort of waste from the streets. The final objective is to provide support to vulnerable social groups mainly women and children. The Green Brigade is made of 98 % women who are distributed in all the different sectors of the municipality of Ouagadougou. It is estimated that over 6,500 children have directly benefited from this programme, taking into account that, on average each women has to cater for the needs of 5 children, mainly: school fees, health care, and family nutrition. This initiative has also resulted in the protection of city’s environment. It is estimated that since the inception of this programme in 1995, over US$ 2 million tax payer money has been redistributed to over 1,000 women, enabling them to send 800 children (including 300 girls) to school.

Saint Nicodemus chain of homes, Douala, Cameroon

Cameroon is a country in West Africa with a population of 16.6 million people. Cameroon is today is listed among the Highly Indebted Poor Countries in Africa. The phenomenon of street children as a result of poverty and shortage of jobs in major cities in Cameroon is increasing daily. The Saint Nicodemus chain of homes is fighting poverty among street children by removing them from the streets of Douala and providing assistance and alternative means for their reintegration in the society. The homes main objectives are: to remove children and youngsters (aged between 5 to 20 years old without family) from the street; to educate them; and to provide them with material support. The initiative also assists abandoned children from troubled families and reintegrates them with their families therefore reducing the delinquency rates in Douala. Since the initiative began in 1996, 6,000 children have been assisted with accommodation; 8,000 social investigations were carried out; 4,000 children have been reintegrated in their families and society; 2000 children have been rehabilitated, some in schools and other in vocational training schools. 150 youngsters were employed after their professional training while 500 youths are now self-employed. In total 650 youths are autonomous. For its sustainability, the Chain of homes mobilizes funding from different partners: mostly business community, charitable organizations, international development organizations, and the church.

Job Creation through Restoration of Historic Centres of Palestine

Palestine is the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the banks of the Jordan River, with various adjoining lands. It has a population of 3.8 million (UN, 2005). During the period 1996 - 2001 there was increase in the rate of destruction of old and historic houses due to the huge boom in construction sector. Riwaq-centre for architectural conservation-an NGO-was established in 1991 to address this problem. The priority then was to document and conserve the cultural heritage. Only archaeological sites and buildings dated before 1700 AD are protected. In 2000, different pilot projects were initiated to preserve the historic identity, change people’s attitudes towards conservation and generate income through job creation related to preservation. Riwaq’s building register was one of the main activities undertaken, the others were; lobbying for the government to institute protective planning ordinances and to adopt new laws on the preservation of historic sites, empowering people at all levels to protect cultural heritage; expanding and cataloguing Riwaq’s archive, undertaking the protection of historic centres by involving national and local government as well as local organizations; and training people in labour intensive restoration techniques to create as many jobs as possible among local people. Five years since the initiative began, 29 buildings for community based facilities have been completed, providing significant temporary and permanent employment.

Ahmedabad Slum Networking Programme — India

Ahmedabad is the largest city in the state of Gujarat and the seventh largest city in India, with a population of more than 5.2 million. Approximately 440,000 people live in slums. Ahmedabad Slum Networking Programme is an infrastructure and service provision programme that improves the livelihoods of people living and working in Ahmedabad slum area through active participation of the community. It’s a partnership between Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) who plays the leading role, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and communities. The services include: household connections for water supply and drainage, toilets, paving internal roads and street lighting. All partners contribute towards implementation of this partnership project, though AMC bears about eighty percent of the cost of the physical infrastructure. The project is undertaken only in those slums where all households contribute a proportion of the 20% implementation costs. NGOs come in to mobilize community members to actively participate and contribute towards the project through schemes. Community participation at all levels and cost sharing instills a sense of ownership in the slum dwellers. By December 2005, 28 slum communities covering 4,868 households benefiting 24,340 people had been successfully upgraded. Implementation work is ongoing in 13 slum communities covering 3,835 households and benefiting 19,175 people.

Talisay Rivers for Environmental and Economic Sustainability, Philippines

Talisay is a fifth class municipality in the province of Camarines Norte, Philippines.
According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 79,146 people in 15,774 households.
This initiative is a community-based resource management project that harnesses Talisay
River and prevents soil erosion and encroachment into periphery land, and reduces flood
risk for neighbouring population. The riverbank is stabilized using Bio-engineering,
(development and fabrication of life support systems for under water and space explorations) financial assistance for sustainable production technologies to vegetable growers, and constructing tarmac paths.

During the implementation of the project, Local Government of Talisay played a lead role of developing a participatory plan of action, involving 1,175 men and 1,157 women. Institutionalizing the community based resource management process/provided technical assistance, facilitating and coordinating funding institutions and other agencies. The department of Agriculture provides support in form of farm inputs like seeds, fertilizers and livelihood specialist staff. The riverbanks have been stabilized and household income increased by 50% to 75%, while illegal activities such as overgrazing, quarries, fishing and deforestation have reduced by 80%.

Hatien - Habitats - Handbags, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam

Kien Giang is the southern province of Vietnam. The 1999 census estimated the population of Vietnam to be 76.3 million, and recent estimates place the figure beyond 84 million. The “Ha Tien - Habitats - Handbags” project - a World Bank’s Development Marketplace Award winner in 2003 - is a civil society initiative that protects Phu My wetland by conserving nature and improving daily income of local people whose livelihood depends upon harvesting natural resources from the wetland. A wetland of 2,890 ha was demarcated in Phu My commune, to conserve the last remnant of Lepironia grassland in the Mekong Delta. The project provides skill training so that local people can make fine handicraft products (hats and handbags) from the Lepironia sedge they harvested. After one year of on-the-ground operation, the project has provided skill training for 150 people and employed 32 full-time workers. 200 Families (out of 350 families living in the project areas) are making handicraft products for the projects. Daily income of people participating in the project increased to US$ 1.866683 from US$ .622278.

The Grassroots Women’s International Academy -GWIA

The Grassroots Women’s International Academy (GWIA) is an international transfer mechanism created by grassroots women’s international networks to transfer and upscale their good practices. GWIA provides a structure for peer learning to identify the success elements of grassroots practices around the globe and to enter them into mainstream channels. GWIA is about redefining governance and development roles and reframing the use of knowledge and resources from the perspective of what works on the ground.
GWIA provides opportunities to grassroots innovators especially women, who do not get opportunities to share their initiatives. It is through working with these women that great best practices have been identified. Funds were sourced through a strategy of linking to events like big international meetings. Best practices are taught through workshops. Partner dialogues increases exchange and it up streams the learning of GWIA. It also brings other partners like United Nations, donor countries, national leaders, local government officials, and NGOs into the GWIA sessions. The ten GWIA’s held so far, have contributed to a powerful exchange and transfer of best practices, all over the globe as well as between groups in the same region who were isolated from each other.

Parla Citizen’s Forum: We All Count. A New Way to Understand Urbanism

Parla is a dormitory city in the region of Madrid in Spain; it has a population growth of 100,000. For a long time Parla lacked an economic, services, and public works infrastructure to cater for the needs of the residents. Real urban planning had not existed in Parla and the last Urban General Plan that regulated land use was written in 1997. It was then decided that, citizens had to be major actors in development solutions. Thus the Citizen’s Forum was created as a part of the new strategic planning, which included new participation structures, like Neighbourhood Councils, the Childhood Forum, and the Council for Disabled People, the Social and Economical Council.
The objective of the Citizen’s Forum had been to carry out in a participative way the revision of the General Urban Planning Plan of 1997 (GUPP). The objective was to integrate all social sectors that make up the society of Parla (companies, labour unions, political parties, associations, training and cultural centres.) The other main objective was the involvement of Parla residents in decision making. Work was carried out from a generational and gender perspective, in order to visualise the different uses of and needs for urban space by the different groups.
It was due to the participation of all the actors that the process of transforming the dormitory city into a real city with all the lacking facilities available, was achieved.

Rede Jovem de Cidadania [Youth Citizenship Network], Belo Horizonte, Brazil

The Youth Citizenship Network was established by a non-governmental organisation, Associação Imagem Comunitária (AIC), with the support of public and private sectors to support the youth. The Rede Jovem de Cidadania (Youth Citizenship Network, RJC) uses media and information technology to promote young people who live in low-income neighborhoods in Belo Horizonte. Young correspondents compile documentaries on cultural activities and groups, formal and informal educational opportunities, employment opportunities, and rights and health issues. Through the network, the correspondents are able to present their way of life and their points-of-view to the whole of Belo Horizonte, and in particular, to other young people in the city. The network has involved directly more than ten thousand teenagers and its results have reached hundreds of thousands via the newspapers, newsletters, webzines, radio programs and a TV program broadcasted weekly (500,000 viewers) on the state of Minas Gerais’ public TV station. The initiative has paved the way for a more socially healthy, culturally diversified and politically changed urban and media environment. The initiative offers a platform for community members to learn how to package and present their ideas and therefore be able to influence the subject matter of the media content. As a result, community members have been able to create networks to share their stories with other communities. RJC has benefited from the experience of previous initiatives in the field of public media in Brazil and it has also organized more than 200 workshops where the youth are trained in media production.

Urban Management and Participative Governance: Neiva’s Commune 10 Neiva, Colombia

Neiva's Commune 10 was initially an informal settlement formed by displaced persons running away from armed conflicts. This slum was characterised by lack of access roads, water and sanitation services, and other social services. The Municipality of Neiva led an initiative to improve the living conditions in Commune 10. There were a number of changes in the way the municipality ran its affairs to allow for input by citizens on how to plan and implement development programmes based on the most pressing issues. The programme has led to increased community participation where 40 grassroots organizations have contributed to the visioning process. The action plan for urban development has led to improvement in the community’s living conditions through improved access to health, education, sports, culture, recreation facilities, and access to public services such as water supply, sanitation, sewer and public roads. The most significant achievement is the sense of ownership that both the local administration and the community have in the development process. Promoting important cultural aspects of the local family-centered society and of women’s skills as primary caregivers allows the community to form support groups for vulnerable families where nutritional / culinary and educational skills are shared with mothers.

Sustainable Solid Waste Management Programme in Carhuaz City, Peru

Solid waste management in Carhuaz municipality was a major environmental concern with 60% of waste collected being disposed directly into Santa River. The Sustainable Solid Waste Management Programme was established by Ciudad Saludable, a local NGO, to improve the living environment of Carhuaz city. A capacity building exercise to sensitize all stakeholders in Carhuaz has paid off with the local residents utilizing reusable containers and separating waste at sources. There are effective waste collection routes and schedules in place - while sound financial management practices have allowed the programme to be self sustaining. Use of compost for organic agriculture has also been promoted among local farmers who then sell their produce to residents. The initiative provides employment to both waste collectors and recyclers who include the Association of Farming Women of Carhuaz. The association manufactures paper, envelops, greeting cards, masks, folders and notebooks out of recycled items