Rebuild to Remain
Affordable, revolving construction financing for Palestinian homes in the West Bank's so-called Area C, w advocacy to assure planning rights
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.
Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Burlingame CA with a branch office in Ramallah
Location(s) of impact
Palestine: Al Aqaba Village
Shadi and his father in front of their new home, with neighboring homes in construction their village of Al Aqaba, in the West Bank's so called Area C
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
In the 62% of the West Bank controlled by Israel, Palestinian villages must obtain Israeli-approved master plans & building permits or risk demolition. However, these are nearly impossible to acquire - only 3 of 116 master plans were approved. Under international law, Palestinian villages deserve the right to plan their future, like communities everywhere. After 50 years of occupation, villagers need a way to remain in their homes and live in peace, with a home, education, and a job being key to a sustainable future.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
Al Aqaba Village has bravely asserted their right to exist by issuing permits for families to build on their land. In 2011, US-based Rebuilding Alliance (RA) helped Al Aqaba design & build their first 3 homes, which encouraged 4 more families to build. All are safe – no demolition orders. With 16 new homes in construction and local banks unwilling to provide credit, Al Aqaba’s Housing Association and RA launched an affordable, revolving construction loan & advocacy program.
This innovative initiative utilizes a “crowd-sourcing” model. Central to this solution is international advocacy; crowdfunding creates a large group of concerned citizens who can keep the village safe from demolition and human rights abuses. Also, start-up contributions are provided to families the form of micro loans; principle paid back from Phase 1 loans are recycled into new loans (by the Housing Association) for an impact that can be replicated to meet the housing needs of 150,000 Palestinians in Area C.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
All 7 completed homes, as well as the 16 still under construction, received Village Council-issued building permits and all construction has been inspected in conformance with Palestinian building codes. The 3 families homes which were financed by RA contributions signed loan agreements pursuant to which they have been making monthly repayments to the Housing Association, which has in turn built infrastructure, installed electrical power and running water, creating safer hygienic conditions. To date, the default rate on these 3 home loans is zero. Unlike most of the other homes in Al Aqaba village and Area C, none of the new Rebuilding to Remain (RTR) homes – nor the next 4, nor any of the 16 currently under construction – have been issued demolition orders. The measure of economic stability provided by new construction jobs underlies Al-Aqaba as a model of peace and encouraged others to invest; in 2 factories, a women’s center, playground, and a guesthouse for visitors.
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
Phase 1, scheduled to launch in the fall of 2017, entails construction of 16 homes. Upon completion, RTR will provide financing, through the Housing Association, for the construction of 15 new homes (Phase 2) in Al Aqaba (New Construction Loan Program) at a cost of approximately $38,000 per unit. In Phase 3, RTR will add 2 more villages in so-called Area C and build a further 5 units in each of these villages & in Al Aqaba; thus totaling 15 units for Phase 3.
Individual donations have made-up 90% of the funding for the Rebuild to Remain program and we are applying for grants and corporate contributions to provide 60% of the funding in the future. Because borrowers have taken pride in repaying their loans, the revolving loan program becomes self-funding in 6 years’ time.
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
This is the first and only construction loan program provided to Palestinian families building homes in so-called Area C. The kindergarten built by RA in Al Aqaba is still standing and growing after 15+ years, despite demolition orders, due to the inspiring leadership of Mayor Haj Sami Sadeq, the Israeli High Court, and RA’s frequent communication with Congress, lawyers, and human rights defenders. That kindergarten attracted the investment of some 20 countries in Al Aqaba, now a model village.
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
In 2002, RA received a grant to build a Palestinian school that would not be demolished. We were directed to visit Al Aqaba village because the Israeli High Court had brokered an agreement that ended the Israeli Army’s live-fire training exercises in this remote village. When Donna Baranski-Walker met Mayor Haj Sami Sadeq, he asked her to start with the kindergarten – and they did. The kindergarten serves as many as 160 children each year and is the heart of this remarkable village that now includes an expanding tea factory and goat-cheese factory, in addition to a library, school, and guest house. The Israeli Army continues to hold to its agreement (with some reminders) and the mayor continues to welcome all who come in peace.
RA coordinates within the UN humanitarian aid structure, audits its financial statements, and has a sound reputation within the development community.
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