PCI Announces Neighborhood Approach to Transform Urban Slums around the World at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting

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Program Empowers Families in the Developing World to Build New Futures

PCI has been working to improve urban neighborhoods in both Haiti and Guatemala.

PCI has been working to improve urban neighborhoods in both Haiti and Guatemala.

By bringing the private and public sector together and providing people with the opportunity and tools to improve the lives of their families, these slums can become thriving neighborhoods.

PCI (Project Concern International) President & CEO George Guimaraes discussed a “neighborhood approach” to tackle the growing problem of urban slums around world while speaking today at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting. “Sustainable Cities and Communities” is the 11th Sustainable Development Goal being discussed during the UN General Assembly last week.

Building on PCI’s commitment at CGI to transform urban slums in the developing world into resilient neighborhoods, PCI is partnering with Build Change, CEMEX, and Cordaid in developing countries to empower poor and vulnerable populations with tools and supplies to create better housing and communities.

“The world will add an equivalent of 250 more New York Cities by the year 2050 as urban populations in developing countries continue to skyrocket,” said PCI President and CEO George Guimaraes. “Many of the neighborhoods in these growing cities are unsafe informal slums with deplorable economic and social conditions. By bringing the private and public sector together and providing people with the opportunity and tools to improve the lives of their families, these slums can become thriving neighborhoods.”

“Everyone has the right to a safe house that can protect them from natural disasters, including earthquakes, typhoons, and wind storms,” said Elizabeth Hausler Strand, Founder and CEO of Build Change. “Working with engineers and partners on the ground to build better housing with designs that meet the needs of local households is key to saving lives and creating lasting change.”

First piloted following the Haiti earthquake in 2010 with USAID’s Office of Private Disaster Assistance (OFDA), PCI and its partners transformed the Ravine Pintade neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, building homes for 2,000 families. This neighborhood included improved water and sanitation, roads and walkways, as well as retaining walls, adequate drainage and other measures to reduce the risks from future disasters.

PCI is currently working in Guatemala with USAID in five cities to transform high-risk communities into resilient, safe and productive communities.

The first pilot country partnership with CEMEX will be in Tijuana, Mexico, in the next year, transforming and upgrading communities at risk for flooding and earthquakes. PCI is working with CEMEX and CGI to expand to new countries in Asia and Africa. PCI is also engaging with a broader range of public and private partners, including banks, to improve and scale the approach.

In this unique partnership, PCI will convene local community groups on the ground with its experience in building healthy, safe neighborhoods around the world, and CEMEX will participate by early 2015 through PIAC, its award-winning Assisted Self-Construction Integrated Program with the objective to improve the quality of life of at least 80,000 people.

This strategic approach includes building strong local capabilities by providing access to tools, know-how and financing that will not only generate new employment opportunities, but also provide high quality and affordable products and services to self-home builders. In addition, governments have a very important role to play, and this strategy will align with local public polices and facilitate public-private partnerships with successful proven models.

Together with partners, PCI is also developing new innovative approaches to the social and economic empowerment of women. PCI is half way to reaching its 2014 CGI commitment, now equipping 425,000 women around the world through its Women Empowered (WE) initiative with the tools, training, and opportunities they need to improve their lives and communities. There are over 31,000 WE groups with accumulated savings of more than $3.4 million.

About PCI: PCI is a global development organization that drives innovation from the ground up to enhance health, end hunger and overcome hardship—resulting in meaningful and measureable change in people’s lives. PCI envisions a world where communities are able to provide for the health and well-being of their members, and children and families can achieve lives of hope, good health and self-sufficiency. For more information, visit http://www.pciglobal.org.

About Build Change: Build Change saves lives in earthquakes and windstorms by empowering people in emerging nations to build homes and schools that will protect their families and children. Build Change works to strengthen buildings before and after disasters strike in Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Nepal, and the Philippines. More than 23,000 people in Bhutan, China, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, and the Philippines have been trained in disaster‐resistant design and construction techniques and, in turn, have built over 47,000 safer homes, impacting 235,000 people. Visit http://www.buildchange.org.

About CEMEX: CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high-quality products and reliable services to customers and communities in more than 50 countries. CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through innovative building solutions, efficiency advancements, and efforts to promote a sustainable future.

About Cordaid: Cordaid creates opportunities for the world’s poorest, most vulnerable and excluded people. Cordaid works in health, emergency relief and investments. We are a social investor and invest in microfinance institutions and funds that offer loans, guarantees and capital stock to small- and medium-sized entrepreneurs, farmers, developers of housing projects and health clinics and other businesses that have limited other options. We do so in regions that involve a greater risk than other investors are willing to take.

About the Clinton Global Initiative: Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.

In addition to the Annual Meeting, CGI convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States; and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. This year, CGI also convened CGI Middle East and Africa, which brought together leaders across sectors to take action on pressing social, economic and environmental challenges.

For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

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Richard Parker
Project Concern International
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