7 April 2017
Vice President Leni Robredo visited South Africa last April 2-5 for a study tour organized by the Frederich Naumann Foundation (FNF). The study tour had various conferences and discussions on women and housing.
VP Leni met with Cape Town Councillor Xanthea Limberg, the Executive Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Water and Wast Services, and they visited two local housing project sites of former informal settler families, which provided the opportunity to learn from these efforts and possibly adapting certain initiatives. The housing project focused on a community driven approach, and NGOs partnered with the city government of Cape Town. Part of this partnership is the agreement that utilities would be provided by the city government.
A community-based approach was a method advocated by VP Leni while she served as chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). In her experience, the participation of beneficiaries in the planning process ultimately made projects more successful and sustainable.
The second housing site visited by VP Leni was an emergency shelter, which served as a staging area where families displaced by natural disasters or other calamities were billeted while awaiting permanent housing solutions. VP Leni said she was hopeful that this initiative be adapted in the Philippines, in the effort to better support families affected by the many storms, floods, earthquakes, and landslides that affect the country.
VP Leni also had the opportunity to speak in a forum focusing on women in leadership roles. There, she spoke in front of the women leaders of Cape Town, which included members of the parliament, city council, and parliament activists.
The last day of the study tour culminated a tour of Parliament, where delegates met members of parliament and were given an orientation on the system of government of South Africa. Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said, “the fight for freedom is borderless,” during a discussion with members of parliament about the parallelisms between the political history of the Philippines and South Africa.