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
2019.05.31
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The Need for More Women in the Decision-Making Process The World Bank estimates that 3 billion people will live in substandard housing by 2030. At the UN Headquarters, during International Women's Day, Elizabeth shared her thoughts on the role of women in addressing this issue. "Housing remains a women's issue because it's a place of security." Elizabeth explained that there is a lot at stake that stems from housing-related issues and that by having women in more key decision-making positions we can collectively improve the way we prioritize. *Here, a Build Change staff member in Nepal interviews a homeowner about her home. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.05.29
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
Women's Priorities in Rebuilding At the UN's observance of International Women’s Day 2019, "Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change," Elizabeth explained the six core principles of Build Change, with the first principle being equality. She explained that not only having the community more involved but also having women in influential roles has a positive impact on the rebuilding of homes. "Women tend to prioritize safety and security and basic features such as kitchens and toilets more than men and we need them leading this decision-making process." *Here, Build Change staff in the Philippines work with homeowners to determine if their home is a candidate for retrofitting. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.05.29
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
The First Principle of Build Change Is “Equality” At the UN's observance of International Women’s Day 2019, "Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change," Elizabeth explained the six core principles of Build Change, with the first principle being equality. During Elizabeth’s previous work in Indonesia, she effectively helped change the way the NGO community delivers housing after disasters. By getting the affected community involved in the decision-making process, homeowners were much more pleased with the results. Here, women in Indonesia make bricks to build safe houses through a local Build Change program. https://twitter.com/UN_Women https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.05.29
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
Housing Is a Basic Human Right When Elizabeth was a grad student, there was an earthquake in India that killed tens of thousands. Elizabeth reflected on this disaster during the UN's observance of International Women’s Day 2019: "This made me angry. Housing is a basic human right. People were dying because of lack of wealth... we often say it's not the earthquake that kills people but the collapse of a poorly built building. This is a man-made problem…. there has to be a woman-made solution." Here, Elizabeth is photographed with several other women fighting for solutions every day, including Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. https://twitter.com/UN_Women https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.05.29
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
Elizabeth's Natural Transition into Her Career Elizabeth grew up in a blue-collar town near Chicago where she and her sister worked for her father's small business as bricklayers. This experience served as the foundation for her career- the understanding of infrastructure, community, and business helped pave the way for her global work today. Reflecting upon this experience, Elizabeth shared at the UN on International Women’s Day that "...it felt like the most natural thing in the world... to learn a trade, it's so rewarding.” https://twitter.com/UN_Women https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.05.29
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
TED Talk: Changing Policy to Prevent Disaster During her TED Talk at “We the Future," Elizabeth shared straightforward principles to approach the problems created by substandard housing. One of these principles is to change policy to prevent disaster. "Strengthening and improving these buildings will cost 20-30% of the cost of replacing the buildings after a disaster, and will save tens of thousands of lives," Elizabeth explained. "We, as a global community, are making such great progress reducing poverty, curing and preventing diseases, but by all accounts, global housing indicators are sliding backwards." https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/elizabeth_hausler/ #elizabeth #ANABLUEWING

CHANGEMAKER