Professional Workshops to Promote the Right to Land and Housing

Publishing date: 29/11/2018

 Professional Workshops to Promote the Right to Land and Housing

In 2018, the Arab Center for Alternative Planning (ACAP) and the Mossawa Center organized several events aimed at providing public committees and women's and youth groups with the professional, organizational and administrative mechanisms to develop and strengthen community work on land and housing issues. Vocational workshops were organized with public committees in Taybeh, Qalansawe, and Deir al-Assad, and with youth and women's groups in the Negev, Jisr al-Zarqa and Wadi Ara, and included dozens of social activists, lawyers and engineers accompanied by professional organizers and mentors.

Jafar Farah, director of the Mossawa Center, gave lectures to various groups on community organization, developing the administrative and outreach capacities of  public committees, and the importance of managing confrontation in front of government authorities in a professional and organized manner. Farah also stressed the importance of using best practices to mobilize and advance public action.

The staff at ACAP presented a number of lectures on general planning issues, including: the interplay between local authorities and public committees, the need to meaningfully involve the public in planning processes, the role and structure of planning institutions, and how to improve access to planning information.

These lectures and workshops also included detailed explanations of the Kaminitz Law and other discriminatory planning and construction policies, the great dangers contained in the Kaminitz Law and in Amendment 116 to the Planning and Building Law, the government's responsibility to provide appropriate planning options that meet the needs of Arab towns, the implementation of the basic requirements underpinning the concept of the right to land and housing, and the actual application of the various practical elements needed to attain this fundamental right.

The meetings included presentations and guidance materials on strategies and tools to improve the work of professional organizations and public committees, and also brought central activists from the field together to present their experiences and observations so that attendees could take proper advantage of these perspectives to promote their own public advocacy work.

Workshop participants stressed the importance of these meetings and the extent to which they benefited from the materials and lectures, underscoring the importance of continuing to develop and elevate community organizing in order to improve efforts related to land and housing issues.