UN-HABITAT marked World Habitat Day on Monday, 4 October 2004, by honouring selected individuals and organizations for their commitment to the cause of human settlements development.
The panel of judges said the winners of the 2004 Scroll of Honour Awards were selected for their outstanding contributions in various fields ranging from the provision of shelter, highlighting the plight of the homeless, to leadership in post conflict reconstruction, among others.
For of his tireless efforts to uplift the lot of the poorest of the poor in Africa, President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique has also been feted. A champion of the urban and rural poor in his own country, President Chissano never missed an opportunity as Chairman of the African Union to bring their plight to the world stage. He was instrumental in lending political support to the drive by African mayors to devolve authority to local governments so that basic services such as water, sanitation, electricity and shelter could be ensured.
Xiamen Municipal People's Government in China is being honoured for the way it has worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone has adequate shelter. The concept began in 1980 when the city fathers launched the Economy Housing Project which raised funds amounting to US$8.66 billion. The sums were used to build 16.17 million square metres of residential houses boosting the municipality's main goal of "a decent roof over everybody's head."
In India, the Centre for Development Communication (CDC) earned its place in the prestigious list for its work in improving the living conditions of slum dwellers in Jaipur. Started with the main objective of promoting hygienic living conditions of urban and rural dwellers, CDC is the first organization in India to provide city-wide garbage collection, achieving success in street sweeping and transportation of waste for disposal and recycling.
Also making it into this year’s list is The Big Issue magazine. A current affairs and entertainment magazine written by professional journalists, The Big Issue is sold on the streets by homeless and vulnerably housed individuals as a legitimate alternative to begging. The ethos behind The Big Issue is that of 'A Hand Up Not A Hand Out' - helping the homeless to help themselves. The magazine campaigns on behalf of socially excluded people. Its charitable arm offers support and services to the homeless community enabling them to break the cycle of homelessness and move on with their lives. In 1994 The Big Issue founded The International Network of Street Papers (INSP), a global network of over 55 street papers in 28 countries.