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The youth-led organisation TECHO, who have supported millions of people into housing across Latin America and the Caribbean, are the first organisation to be awarded the World Habitat Outstanding Contribution to Housing Award.

In just 23 years, TECHO has progressed from a small housing project in Chile – led by a Jesuit priest – to an international operation covering 18 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. Having built over 135,000 homes and carried out over 300 infrastructure projects in more than 600 communities – with the support of over one million volunteers – their work represents a unique combination of scale, transferability and adaptation.

David Ireland, Chief Executive of World Habitat, said:

“TECHO’s contribution to housing is, by any measure, extraordinary. They have – in just over 20 years – built more than 135,000 homes for the poorest and most marginalised communities in Latin America. These have transformed people’s lives, provided safety, improved health, and resulted in greater community resilience.

“Our mission at World Habitat is to recognise great housing ideas, help them scale-up and – through our exChange Programme – get them replicated across the world so they can help improve the lives of even more people. TECHO’s remarkable work shows what can be achieved when that process happens over a whole continent. We believe it’s really important that TECHO receive special recognition for their achievements – it’s the first time we have presented an ‘Outstanding Contribution’ Award – and hope they will be an inspiration for more great housing projects to emulate.”

Juan Pablo Duhalde, General Director at TECHO, said:

“We are deeply grateful to receive this international award. It is an acknowledgment of the achievements, effort and perseverance over more than 23 years of active and collaborative citizen participation by Latin American youth and residents of popular settlements in the region. This award represents a new definition of shared work, collaborative action and dialogue between popular settlements and the youth of Latin America. It motivates us to continue working in a co-ordinated way, adapting to the circumstances in order to continue transforming the lives of millions of people.

“The award and partnership with World Habitat are vital for promoting spaces in which to exchange lessons and learning. Understanding the situations in other areas of the world will be essential for innovating in our work on the ground, and we believe that our experience in Latin America can also contribute a great deal. Today, multi-actor work is the best way to achieve agreements and actions that allow us to prioritize. This type of alliance is the route to collaboration between all the key actors.”

Mariana Gallo, Programme Lead (for Awards) at World Habitat, said:

“TECHO has achieved a tremendous impact, not only in housing provision, but also in involving young people in finding solutions for housing problems across Latin America. Having worked with over one million volunteers illustrates their incredible capacity to engage and motivate people, creating a sense of solidarity and bringing communities behind one, single, unifying purpose. We are delighted to recognise their achievements and are looking forward to collaborating in the future on some of the most pressing housing issues, facing communities today.”

Alongside the recognition that TECHO will receive, this Award will also signify a new collaboration between the two organisations.

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