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
2019.04.04
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Key Infrastructure to Withstand Disaster In an Al Jazeera article from late last year, Elizabeth shared her experience and knowledge as a professional at the scene of an earthquake in Indonesia in 2018. The article described how "with a badly damaged runway and no functional control tower, Palu's skies were closed at a time when emergency teams were desperate to get into the city and residents eager to get out." Elizabeth stated that "we should be able to design a control tower to withstand that, but this is a complex science, complex research, and complex engineering. The US, Japan and maybe a few other countries are state of the art on this, but it has not spread throughout the world." https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #ANABLUEWING #elizabeth
ANA BLUE WING
2019.03.21
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2018-2019 Fellow Named for Engineering Excellence Build Change and partner Simpson Strong-Tie named Juan Carlos Restrepo as the 2018-2019 Fellow for Engineering Excellence in November 2018. Juan Carlos@ fellowship will focus on advancing Build Change’s mission: "to greatly reduce deaths, injuries and economic losses caused by housing and school collapses due to earthquakes and typhoons in emerging nations." Juan Carlos has over 15 years of experience in structural and earthquake engineering and was a pioneer in implementing Building Information Mapping (BIM) technology as well as high-strength concrete in Colombia. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #ANABLUEWING #elizabeth
ANA BLUE WING
2019.03.17
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The Business Challenge of Climate Change A recent Forbes article "Climate Change Adaptation Is the Greatest Entrepreneurial Challenge of Our Time" was shared by Elizabeth and the Skoll Foundation on social media. The article described the complex challenges organizations face in making an impact, which can require orchestration across actors from "science, technology, investing, business, nonprofit, and community sectors, working together to identify breakthrough, cost-effective strategies." Organizations like the Skoll Foundation with "a mission to drive large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and other innovators dedicated to solving the world's most pressing problems" are one of these key organizations spearheading this challenge. https://youtu.be/IMN5j8Wan1E https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #ANABLUEWING #elizabeth
ANA BLUE WING
2019.03.12
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Creating Effective Partnerships by Identifying Influencers Build Change, Village Reach, Code for America, and others shared their best practices for creating effective partnerships in the recent Scaling Pathways report. One piece of advice from Build Change, which previously worked with Nepal's government to create retrofitting as an at-scale option for homeowners, emphasized the need to identify important influencers of government. “For Build Change, the organization discovered that key decisions affecting its prevention and reconstruction work with homeowners existed at multiple levels: national level for building code changes, city level for budgets, and municipal level for permits." Through an alignment of goals across multiple levels, social enterprises and governments can effectively leverage each other to accelerate target outcomes and impacts. https://youtu.be/p0sQU7ENi5c https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #ANABLUEWING #elizabeth
ANA BLUE WING
2019.01.14
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Contribute to Build Change with Your Holiday Spirit of Giving. Build Change posted a request for charitable donations just before Giving Tuesday in November and many of you responded. But Build Change’s mission never ends. Build Change saves lives and helps to reduce deaths, injuries, and economic losses caused by earthquakes and other natural disasters, particularly within emerging nations. You can play a part in helping at-risk families and children by making a tax-deductible contribution here: https://bit.ly/2Qsxl4S https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #ANABLUEWING #elizabeth
ANA BLUE WING
2018.12.20
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Unsafe Housing Is a Global Epidemic. Build Change Founder and CEO, Dr. Elizabeth Hausler delivered an impassioned vision of housing resilience during her TED Talk at the organization’s “We the Future” conference in New York. As recapped on the TED blog, "around the world, natural disasters destroy thousands of lives and erase decades of economic gains each year... It’s estimated that one-third of the world will be living in insufficiently constructed buildings by 2030." According to Elizabeth, this is preventable. “It’s time to strengthen every building just like we would vaccinate every child in a public health emergency,” Elizabeth said. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #ANABLUEWING #elizabeth

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