The Los Amigos Core Housing is one of three pilot projects under LinkBuild’s Core Housing Program. It consists of 46 units of incremental, single-detached housing intended for families in Davao City who live informally on private land, or are affected by government infrastructure projects or live in places that are high risk in nature. The project is on a 22-hectare relocation site provided by the local government of Davao City. In September 2015, the units were successfully turned over to 46 identified and qualified families who have organized themselves into an association called “Samahang Matute at Soliman Homewoners’ Association (SAMASOL).
One year after the turnover, a Post-project Reflection Workshop was conducted last September 23, 2016 at the Los Amigos Relocation Site. The workshop was mainly facilitated by David Hoffman, LB intern from DPU (Development Planning Unit London) and assisted by Vhal Libutaque, LB’s Project Development Officer and Ms. Arlene San Pedro, HPFPI Community Leader.
The workshop aimed to learn and obtain feedback from the community about their experiences after one year of living in their new houses. It also aimed to find steps on how to get them involved in the process of sharing knowledge and experiences with other communities.
In the first part of the workshop, the community members were asked about the challenges they faced in living in a new house on a new site; and how they addressed those as a community.
Most of the issues that surfaced were all related to basic services and facilities that are not yet operational but are collectively dealt by the community as of the moment. These included water, power, drainage and streetlights. On the other hand, issues like theft, repayment, house improvements and processing of building permits have been dealt with individually.
According to Hoffman, "These issues labeled by participants as ‘solved individually’ offer an opportunity to further foster community involvement, since these issues could be potentially addressed collectively instead of individually."
The second part of the workshop was a reflection on their first impressions upon moving to the site and what made them feel at home. One community member wrote: " At first I felt nervous because it is the first time in my life that I am far from my loved ones. But then, I became happy even though nag-iisa lang ako (I am alone). The environment is clean, the air is fresh. The dream of my partner to have our own house was realized." Others also remarked: "We were excited to settle in our own house because my family would be safe from the floods."
Despite the issues and challenges the communities found, there was still a general sense of ownership and a feeling of belongingness amongst the members. They felt that they are secure, comfortable, peaceful and at home. And to most of them it had been a dream come true to finally own a house.
They gained a lot of experiences and learned how to face challenges as a community.
Right after the workshop, some members of the Los Amigos community shared their experiences to potential clients of LinkBuild’s next housing project in Brgy. Bago Gallera, Davao City. This sharing of experiences served a dual purpose of: (a) building the capacity and confidence of the ones sharing their experiences; and (b) sharing their learnings to potential clients on how to make their community and environment sustainable.