"Build Change trains homeowners, local builders, engineers and government officials to construct or retrofit disaster-resistant buildings in areas vulnerable to earthquakes and typhoons."
Founded in 2004 by Dr. Elizabeth Hausler, the mission of Build Change is "to greatly reduce deaths, injuries and economic losses caused by housing and school collapses due to earthquakes and typhoons in emerging nations." Locations with current projects include Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Nepal and the Philippines.
An important aspect of the work being done is that the reconstruction and retrofitting process is driven by homeowners. Build Change involves homeowners in the design of their new homes, trains them how to purchase high quality building materials and provides technical assistance to homeowners so they can oversee construction of their homes. You can watch this 5 minute video for details or keep on reading.
Build Change has a six-step approach to safe homes:
- Learn first - forensic engineering studies to determine why specific buildings collapse
- Research and design for earthquake-resistant houses - those that are culturally appropriate and preferred by homeowners, as well as low cost and locally sustainable
- Build local capacity - training local masons, carpenters, engineers and homeowners, including programs to train women to become builders
- Stimulate local demand - making new homes affordable and easy to implement and creating simple building codes and inspection systems for governments to enforce
- Facilitate access to capital - supplementing grants and financing from relief agencies
- Measure change - documenting changes made on the houses and testing skill development of people trained
In the last 14 years, they have enhanced the safety of over 250,000 people and 50,000 buildings, trained more than 27,000 people in safe construction techniques and created over 12,000 jobs. If you'd like to put a face to a number, you can read success stories of the people who were directly impacted here.
Now that you know the effect Build Change has, you can support their work by volunteering your time, donating your money and/or becoming a social media fan by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @BuildChange.