The Ministry of Human Settlements and Development, the Housing Arm of the BARMM, showcased its strong and progressing partnership with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) during the Asia Virtual Regional Meeting 2024 on “Advancing Local Leadership” with development partners from across Asia on March 12, 2024.

Zuhaira U. Ebrahim, RN, the Housing and Homesite Regulation Officer (HHRO) IV of MHSD-Special Geographic Area (SGA) and CRS Focal Person, highlighted the core strengths of the partnership, including trust, goal sharing, capacity building, knowledge sharing, and expertise.

The significant milestones accomplished since the partnership between the MHSD and CRS was solidified, through Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2021, that has further been extended the following years, were also presented. These accomplishments accordingly were invaluable in lobbying for enough budget to be utilized for the respective rollout of the projects.

One of the milestones was the launching of the Housing and Human Settlements Management Manual, which highlights the processes of Housing Construction and Community Support Services.

Another accomplishment was the Monitoring Evaluation Accountability and Learning (MEAL) System and Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICT4D) Integration, which prioritizes monitoring and evaluation to establish a system that ensures effective programming and is essential in the establishment of check and balance.

HHRO Ebrahim was also transparent as to the challenges faced by the partnership, such as delays in the detailed implementation plan and political instability in the pilot area, and how the parties involved coordinated to overcome such challenges.

In terms of delays, prioritization efforts are practiced, so with intervention and coordination processes as an effective and efficient method in the context of the BARMM to ensure smooth implementation.

Presenting with HHRO Ebrahim was Bai Maroudz Ibrahim, CRS Senior Program Manager, who gave the background of the partnership, highlighting the common goal “Building Homes, Developing Communities,” where one of the MHSD’s taglines “Building Communities, Building Ummah” stems from.