On Thursday, 2 May 2019, SERI and the Slovo Park Community Development Forum (SPCDF) participated in an international conference about land tenure, displacement and recovery, hosted by Caño Martín Peña in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Lerato Marole presented on a community leaders panel about the SPCDF’s history, challenges and their successful use of the courts and existing housing policy to engage the South African government and ensure the upgrade of Slovo Park informal settlement. On a different panel, Tiffany Ebrahim presented on the importance of civil society organisations aligning their missions to support the strategic agendas of community based organisations and social movements that advocate for the implementation of pro-poor policy and community participation in government decision-making processes.
Marole and Ebrahim were joined on their panels by a wide range of activists and community leaders from Brazil, Mexico, Barbuda, Argentina and Puerto Rico. Organiser and host, Caño Martín Peña is the winner of the World Habitat Award in 2015 for developing a community land trust in an informal settlement that secures tenure and ensures the provision of services for more than 5000 homes previously neglected by the Puerto Rican and United States government. The community land trust has been lauded as the first of its kind in an informal settlement context, and has played a central role in ensuring resident access to government support services post-Hurricane Maria in 2017.