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A savings and credit cooperative run by and for women in rural El Salvador, which is rebuilding the community after years of civil unrest and earthquakes, has been named a finalist of this year’s World Habitat Awards.

From Disaster to Dignity repairs, rebuilds and improves communities in rural areas. Through the cooperative, families access much needed credit and funds for improving homes and one-to-one training to help them manage their finances. By actively empowering women this project helps to create more gender equality in a traditionally male dominated society.

As well as housing, women have set up a business making environmentally sustainable building materials and they also run a water treatment plant.  The training and employment opportunities they offer to local young people are helping them to remain in their community rather than migrating to urban areas for work.

David Ireland, Director of World Habitat, funders and co-ordinators of the World Habitat Awards, said: “This project highlights the leadership and achievements of a small number of women who took on the challenge of repairing the damage to their community. They are now actively tackling poor housing through creating opportunities for people to improve their homes and lives.”

Each year the World Habitat Awards are presented to ten of the most outstanding and innovative housing projects – from over 100 entries from across the world. The judges are particularly keen to award projects that have not only produced outstanding housing solutions but those that can also be copied elsewhere.

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