CIDEM wins the “World Habitat Award"

Ecomaterials in social housing projects” that EcoSouth partner CIDEM has been implementing in Cuba since the year 2000 is the winner of the prestigious World Habitat Award that will be presented during the "World Habitat Day" festivities in Den Haag (Netherlands) and Monterrey (Mexico) at the beginning of October. The project produces EcoMaterials in various Cuban municipalities and has allowed 2332 families to repair or reconstruct their houses or apartments during the past five years.

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The project is an ideal merging of investigation and development, combining the scientific work of finding new ecological and economical solutions to produce materials with the creative implementation of technologies on site. New ways have been created to work with the municipal governments and the National Housing Institute of Cuba. The backup provided by the EcoSouth network through Grupo Sofonias during the different project phases has been another important element, not only for the development in Cuba but also for its impact abroad. The approach has given important impulses to projects of other EcoSouth network partners, especially in Ecuador, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

 
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It is not the first occasion that this project has been internationally recognized. The “Dubai Award” of the United Nations had already chosen it as one of 40 finalists from over 2000 projects and the “Habitat” magazine highlighted it as excellent in 2004. The project began under the name “From waste to houses” financed by the German NGO “Werkhof Darmstadt” with co-finacing from the European Union, and later other agencies have financed extensions of the program to other municipalities and provinces. At present a new phase is being started with financing from Cosude (Switzerland) and CIDA (Canada).

The Ecosouth network congratulates the whole team of CIDEM, especially Fernando Martirena who always has been the motor of the project and Pedro Seijo who through a combination of patient insistence and diplomacy overcame thousands of difficulties.

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