BLUE WING -WINGS FOR CHANGE- 「Fighting for the right to live in a safe house Because everyone in the world should feel safe at home」

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Elizabeth Hausler

For Elizabeth Hausler, safe housing is a basic human right. She argues humans are to blame for houses collapsing after an earthquake. Elizabeth created Build Change, which overhauled the approach to building homes. Their expertise is helping residents, engineers and governments in emerging countries.

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The BLUE WING Program allows me to protect 100 children in Indonesia and Guatemala to make their schools earthquake-proof

Elizabeth Hausler

STORY OF CHANGEMAKING

I realized my calling after seeing the collapsed housing after an earthquake.

imageMy father ran a construction company, so I loved construction and buildings since my childhood. Naturally I went on to study civil engineering as an undergraduate and onto graduate school. As I studied, I realized I wanted to be close to the people who use the buildings, and not become too technical.

In 2001, a massive earthquake hit the Indian state of Gujarat. When I saw the flattened houses, I was in great shock. Safe housing should be a human right. I realized this was not a natural disaster, but a manmade tragedy. I had to do something with the knowledge I possess. This was my calling.

In 2003, I went to India as a Fulbright scholar to help with post-earthquake recovery while doing research. I soon realized that technical issues did not cause the damage. At the time, NGO groups had donated housing, but the residents were dissatisfied. No one had bothered to ask them what they wanted. The housing did not meet the local climate or customs. For example, in this area, toilets were normally built outside of the house, but most of the donated housing had toilets inside. I felt this kind of aid was meaningless.

Breaking conventional wisdom about homebuilding to end man-made disasters

imageInstead of trying to impose foreign-designed houses on local residents, I decided it was essential to work closely with local residents and get them involved in rebuilding. This is important in building safe housing. By training the locals in basic architecture and construction, they are able to check if the housing is safe and spot the misuse of funds. If the residents themselves take safety into their own hands, there will be less man-made disasters. Also, by hiring local engineers and builders, we can contribute to local economies.

I wanted to fundamentally transform the approach to homebuilding, so in 2004, I founded Build Change. We mainly provide low-cost, highly earthquake-resistant designs and training of local residents, engineers and government officials. We even hold a bricklaying contest so we don’t forget to have fun. This actually dramatically improved the workers’ skills in building sturdy brick walls.

Safe homes and schools for 10 million people. It’s only the beginning.

imageBuild Change's first project was in Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami. Since then we’ve expanded to Haiti, the Philippines, China (through 2011), Colombia, Guatemala and Nepal and are currently active in six countries. To date we have built 48,738 disaster-resistant buildings, providing safe homes to 245,026 people. This generated jobs for 10,956 engineers and builders; 25,363 workers received our training. But we are not done. Our next goal is to build safer housing and schools for 10 million people over the next 10 years.

Until now, I’ve devoted all my energy to providing the knowledge and technology, and have shied away from publicizing Build Change. But now I know the importance of getting our message out there and talk about what it is we do. I want to pass on our knowledge and expertise to as many people as we can. There are people all over the world who want safe housing and schools. We will not cease until everyone can live in safe housing, work in a safe environment and study in a safe school.

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PROFILE

Portrait of Elizabeth Hausler

Elizabeth Hausler

Resided in India in 2003 to assist with the rebuilding and study reconstruction after the 2001 Gujarat earthquake. After realizing that local residents should have knowledge to build safe housing, she founded Build Change in 2004. 70% of managers at Build Change are women. Many of the trainers are also female. To ward off jet lag, Hausler relies on running and yoga before flights.

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ANA BLUE WING
2018.09.03
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The 3 Foundational Mantras Behind Build Change. Inspired by her time in India during graduate school, Founder and CEO of Build Change, Dr. Elizabeth Hausler, adopted three mantras to guide Build Change: "First is safety: Every building should meet the basic standards and codes for earthquake resistance. Second is satisfaction: The owner must be happy and satisfied with the home. Last is sustainability: This process must be able to continue on in a sustainable way." This approach allowed Build Change to quickly expand to numerous countries where Elizabeth and her team worked with as many people as they could, with a partnership approach. The pursuit of these mantras has produced an array of interesting experiences and results for Elizabeth and her team, from writing building codes with government and other enforcement agencies for countries that didn't have any, to training local engineers and masons to build safer homes in their communities. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.09.02
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Build Change's Practice: “Learn, Listen and Act”. “Learn, Listen and Act” is the fundamental way of business for Build Change. Its origins began when Founder and CEO Dr. Elizabeth Hausler went to India during graduate school and helped in the recovery efforts of the devastating earthquake that affected Gujarat, India. Elizabeth spoke with those who were rebuilding and had lost everything, and observed how the government and other organizations dealt with the situation. She focused on the big-picture and how decision-making affected people in the process. The government at the time presented two options for rebuilding: an NGO designed and built home (for free) or a cash grant with building standard requirements in place. Elizabeth realized, "for the people who were able to make their own decisions... where their toilet was... to make decisions about architecture-- these people were so much more satisfied." She proceeded to incorporate this understanding into the fundamental business model of Build Change. Elizabeth further stated in Change Creator Magazine, "That's always been a fundamental first step of Build Change's model. [We] learn first, listen to stakeholders, understand their situation, and understand what went wrong in the first place so that we can understand what needs to be changed." https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.09.01
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Safe Housing as a Basic Human Right. Dr. Elizabeth Hausler, being an engineer and the daughter of a brick mason, had a realization during graduate school. At the time, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake devastated Gujarat, India resulting in the death of tens of thousands of people. It wasn't the earthquake itself that killed so many people, but rather the poorly built buildings that had collapsed upon them. Elizabeth believed she could solve this type of problem with her background in masonry and engineering and has since been pursuing a mission with the idea that "safe housing is a basic human right". She went to India on a Fulbright Fellowship, and ultimately founded Build Change, a social enterprise and Skoll Award winner (2017) for Social Entrepreneurship. Her time in India was an insightful experience that laid the foundation for Build Change's business model and has resulted in improving the safety of more than 304,000 people while also creating more than 16,000 jobs to date. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.08.28
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Celebrating Women as Creative Leaders. “Press for Progress” was the motto for Build Change’s celebration of Women’s History Month 2018. The Build Change blog profiled four women applying architectural skills to design earthquake-resistant houses after the earthquakes of April 2015 in Nepal. In the process, they "have become creative leaders and drivers of safe reconstruction around the country." Despite facing adversity, Ayusha Joshi, Kriti Rajkarnikar, Mansi Karna, and Salina Pradhan each had a unique account highlighting their inspiration behind entering the field, how they creatively applied their knowledge in contributing to the reconstruction efforts of Nepal, and their perspectives on what young women need to strive for in their careers. Mansi recounted her experience as the first architect in Build Change’s Nepal office, “The best part of working here is the way Build Change encourages women architects, engineers, and other technical staff to contribute to decision-making discussions and provides an opportunity for us to become better at our job through continual professional development. Our work is valued equally as our male counterparts. So, from where I stand, I can say that the future of women architects and engineers appears to be bright. We just need to keep up our motivation and continue striving for more.” https://www.buildchange.org/Nepal-IWD2018 https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.08.25
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An Unexpected Opportunity & Insightful Takeaways. Jochen Woessner, a lead modeler in earthquake model development at Risk Management Solutions (RMS) based in Zurich, had the opportunity to present at the 15th National Convention of Engineers in Nepal earlier this year thanks to Build Change. While the opportunity required some sudden changes to scheduling on his part, it nevertheless provided interesting takeaways: 1. "Time is relative, and even more so in a developing country. Five minutes actually meant fifteen minutes, so I was able to get some messages across from a risk modeler’s perspective on seismic risk in Nepal." 2. "Being able to improvise and adjust rapidly is paramount — albeit the fact that time is relative." 3. "Surprises kept coming up — the convener said goodbye in German: 'Vielen Dank für Ihre Präsentation.' And lastly, Build Change and RMS led me to most certainly be the only European contributor at this conference, a really unexpected opportunity to join a panel on Disaster Risk Management." https://www.buildchange.org/2018/06/06/Jochen-Woessner https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.08.26
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Elizabeth Is Inspiring the Next Generation of Changemakers. Elizabeth is inspiring young people through her organization and her projects and has recently even inspired her niece. Elizabeth shared her niece’s school engineering project, an earthquake-resistant structure, on twitter. What an amazing project! https://twitter.com/ElizabetHausler/status/989663361313861632 https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING

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