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Urban Professional and Youth Award Winners and Runner-ups 2018

This edition of the Urban Professional and Youth Awards took place during the 60-year anniversary conference of IHS. This happened in 2018, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in the Maassilo. Have a look below at the highlights of the awards and awardee profiles!


Urban Professional Award


Enkhbayar Tsedendorj

Chairperson of the Urban Development Resource Center (NGO) and ICHUD 75 alumna

Ms. Enkhbayar was educated as a professional structural engineer in Russia in the early nineteen eighties, and worked in that capacity on housing project development in various government departments in Mongolia during much of the remainder of the 20th century. She obtained her master’s degree in civil engineering from the Mongolian Technical University in 1999. However, from around 1995 she broadened her interest and scope of work to venture into housing policy development and housing finance, while retaining her interest in engineering. The policy environment in Mongolia evolved significantly in these years as Mongolian society and its economy transformed its orientation from a socialist-oriented development model into a mixed market-oriented development model, without, however, having sufficiently trained professionals to guide and implement such transition.


Ms. Enkhbayar has turned out to be a pioneer in helping to shape this transition in the housing and urban development field, while developing her own professional career at the same time. In the housing and housing finance field she engineered innovations, first as a consultant and then as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mongolian Mortgage Corporation (MMC), which she led during 2008-2013.


She took the lead in developing MMCs portfolio virtually from scratch when the Mongolian mortgage market was still in its infancy. MMC was to develop primary and secondary markets by issuing and selling Mortgage-backed securities on domestic and foreign capital markets and to create and ensure a smooth functioning of a long-term financing system to improve access to housing for Mongolia’s population and promote in the future modern urban development. Such a sophisticated market development in an essentially still socialist society was a daunting task, as many of the prerequisites for it to work, such as clear and alienable property titles, developed capital markets, professional valuation services etc. were also still very much work in progress.


In this development trajectory, and assisted by international professional friends (at institutions like IHS, as well as in international professional networks, such as the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights), Ms. Enkhbayar understood the essential value of mobilizing communities for housing finance development. This motivated her in 2005 to founding the Urban Development Resource Centre (UDRC), a Mongolian NGO. Ms. Enkhbayar is still the chairperson of UDRC which has a specific focus on developing community-based urban development, aiming at poverty reduction through the improvement of the living environment in Ger areas (informal urban settlements) of Mongolia on the basis of active community participation. 


The UDRC provides support services focusing on helping low-income communities and households to improve their living environment and to acquire affordable and energy efficient houses. UDRC has created and supported more than 200 community saving groups in 12 small district centers and in Ulaanbaatar city, to implement more than 80 small scale community-initiated development activities. UDRC has also initiated a community development fund for piloting group loans for housing improvement, infrastructure development, energy efficiency and community income generating activities. It provides training and capacity building for the Ger area communities, working closely with local governments, civil society groups and donor-funded projects. UDRC is now scaling up the people- driven development process by implementing city wide community upgrading in several urban areas. Based on the experiences and lessons learned by existing community groups it will replicate best practices to other Ger areas through regional and local networks and mobilizing Government and donors assistance.


In her above areas of work and other related professional activities, Ms. Enkhbayar has been able to work persuasively and persistently with a wide range of governmental, private sector, non-governmental and international actors in a tough transitory urban development policy environment, and in doing so has gained an unusual extent of professional recognition and respect.


The IHS AI urban professional award 2018 jury commends Ms. Enkhbayar for her innovative and pioneering work in a complex urban development arena in a society in transition, and is very pleased to name her the best urban professional from among all those nominated for the 2018 award


Jennifer Semakula Musisi

Executive Director, Kampala City Authority

Jennifer Semakula Musisi is special because she is a strong leader and gets things done. She is a Ugandan lawyer and public administrator. After studying law at Makerere University (undergraduate and Masters), she went on to complete her education in law at a variety of institutions, including Harvard Law and George Washington University in the US. Working as a lawyer for many years, she also led the formulation and implementation of the Institutional Reforms and Restructuring Programme at the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).

In April 2011, she was appointed to be the first Executive Director of the Kampala Capital City Authority by the President of Uganda, who also asked her back for a second term in 2014.

Her accomplishments are numerous. She has acted as the effective leader in the Kampala Capital City Authority, coordinating the implementation of national and council policies and programmes, managing the public funds of the city, and monitoring and overseeing the delivery of quality services to the population within the city. Acting as a driving force her numerous initiatives include city roads, a bus system, lighting SWM, urban farming and revenue generation for the city. She has demonstrated that she is an outstanding and fearless leader in the context of strong and influential economic and political interests and has been at the forefront of restoring, rejuvenating and totally transforming Kampala City. from (as one text described it) “a virtually a dead city”.

She has received numerous awards for her achievements, we counted 9. These range from presidential recognition as one of the best performing women in Uganda, to two awards from the mayor of the city of Philadelphia.

One extract from her profile reveals some interesting perspectives:

“Despite the male dominated administration of the City Authority she has managed to neutralize male dominance to effect professional management practices. She boasts of zero corruption in her office where tycoons take huge amounts of money to win her favour but she tells them to take back their money and use it for charitable purposes. She is a source of inspiration for African women in Uganda . . .”


Yahia Shawkat

Co-founder and Research Coordinator, 10 Tooba

In 2012, he directed the Right to Housing Initiative producing an infographic book and 10 short documentaries and from 2013-2015, as housing rights officer at Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, he focused on commodification-based eviction, the deadly building collapse phenomenon and produced a series of housing policy notes on the exclusionary social housing programme. Along his career, Mr. Yahia has been a consultant on housing policy for diverse organizations and regular guest lecturer in various national and international events.

The open knowledge he has been involved in producing on the Built Environment Observatory and The Built Environment Deprivation Indicator (BEDI) is relevant input for worldwide research and initiatives. His work has been cited in different books, journal articles and has been used by officials and decision makers in roundtables and expert group meetings with the Ministries of Housing and of Finance, as well as international agencies such as UN-Habitat and the World Bank. Beyond the international impact of his professional career, Mr. Yahia is considered one of the few urban development experts in Egypt who has made possible, to the general Egyptian public, to know more about their country’s-built environment and understand its development.

The IHS AI urban professional award 2018 jury congratulates Mr. Yahia Shawkat for his significant contribution to research and the generation of data for urban policy. The jury is very pleased to name Mr. Yahia Shawkat as a runner-up in the Urban Professional category.


Youth Urban Professional Award


Urban Curators

Independent agency of an interdisciplinary team that works in the fields of urbanism, architecture and cultural management

The Urban Curators is a Social Advocacy NGO, located in the Ukraine, that works with innovation and thinking outside of the box in a multi-stakeholder setting. What makes the organization and the initiatives of its young staff more innovative is the challenging context in which they work. They interact and work in a society where these kinds of initiatives are NOT the norm, and where there is, in some cases, substantial resistance to change in the status quo. However, city governments and the general public have begun to see the benefits of their way of thinking and of what they have achieved.


The focus of their activities is on multidisciplinary urban research, capacity building, consultancy, community development, and participatory place-making. The Urban Curators take part in public programmes and events to disseminate their methodology, accomplishments, challenges, and the experiences gained from working with local urban initiatives and the general public. Moreover, the Urban Curators initiate and organize lectures and panel discussions about urgent urban development topics in the Ukraine.


Two examples, provided below, highlight the activities the Urban Curators have undertaken to improve the quality of life and well-being of urban residents and to make a contribution to sustainable urban management and development.


  • The Map Me Happy initiative is a user generated map that collects and shares information about positive experiences in public spaces and aims to preserve, improve and diversify urban spaces. The main product is a user generated website which helps to catalogue attractive pleasurable public spaces and their characteristics.

  • The Kyiv Cycling Concept is an initiative that used public participation and interdisciplinary professional working groups to work on and complete a proposal for cycling in Kiev.


The projects below were used to support the Implementation at the international, regional level, national or local level of activities designed to strengthen peoples' awareness of sustainable urban management and development.


Gamification for action: the project promoted practices of participatory urban development using a gamification tool. In one case, for instance, it focused on the design and construction of school playgrounds in the town of Novomoskovsk, Ukraine.

Ideas Studios: a multi-stakeholder process that resulted in a proposal for the reconstruction of Kotsiubynsky Ave in Vinnytsya and involved a vision of the transformation of one of major avenues in the city of Vinnytsta, Ukraine.


These initiatives have received recognition from city administrations and other agents of city management, as well as wider general public.



Henry Gurajena

Executive Director at Solinfra Zimbabwe Private Limited

After graduating in Real Estate Management from the University of Harare in September 2017, Mr. Henry Takunda Gurajena has founded the construction company Solinfra Zimbabwe Private Ltd. The company seeks to improve the standards of living for local residents. In doing so it tries to contribute to the achievement of SDG 11.


Operating in a developing economy, the company is refurbishing and extending dilapidated housing structures on credit to low income earners and provide easy repayment terms for a period of up to 10 years.

The company has been implementing this strategy in the Midlands Province in Zimbabwe with aid of a special financial modelling technique that enable participants to contribute into a fund that will in turn be used to co-mingle resources for the benefit of the participants. The technique is thought to be universally applicable. 


The company partnered with the local authorities in a Public Private Partnership and the partnership is yielding results in areas of property security and services provision payments. These initiatives have received recognition from city administrations and other agents of city management, as well as wider general public.


The IHS AI urban professional award 2018 jury commends Mr. Henry Takunda Gurajena for his innovative pioneering work in housing finance in a developing society in transition. It believes that the activities of Solinfra Zimbabwe Private Ltd have significant development potential through the use and amplification of its financial modeling technique used. The jury is therefore very pleased to name Mr. Henry Takunda Gurajena as the runner-up in the youth urban professional category from among those nominated for the 2018 award.

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