NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In its continued effort to build earthquake-resistant houses and change construction practice permanently in earthquake-prone developing countries, non-profit social enterprise Build Change announced its Commitments to Action for this year at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York on September 20, 2011. The organization commits to training vocational teachers in earthquake-resistant building techniques in Indonesia and to improving block-making skills in Haiti.
"Indonesia is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world, experiencing at least one deadly earthquake per year since the late 1990's," says Dr. Elizabeth Hausler, Build Change founder and CEO. "Yet earthquake-resistant design and construction is not currently a component of vocational training programs at technical high schools."
Build Change's Commitment to Education in Indonesia is based on expanding its program of earthquake-resistant design and construction training to technical high-school students and their teachers in West Sumatra and beyond. Through the generous financial support of the Caterpillar Foundation, the organization will work with teachers and educational institutions to incorporate Build Change's training courses into the regular school curriculum. Over the next year, Build Change will train, mentor and guide at least 150 instructors to teach the course on their own and mentor these instructors through their training of at least 1,350 students in safe building.
"Having a pipeline of builders trained in safe construction methods will go a long way towards our goal of making earthquake-resistant construction in Indonesia the norm," says Dr. Hausler. "If we can raise more money for the program, we can change building practices faster, and include an internship program for the most promising students who can lead the safe construction movement in the future." To fund this initiative, Build Change is looking to raise a minimum of $170,000 over the next year to expand the number of teachers reached and begin to develop an internship program.
Build Change's Commitment to Economic Empowerment in Haiti is based on expanding a successful pilot project with Save the Children that provided technical assistance and training to Haitian owners and workers at concrete block manufacturing facilities. When the pilot project ended in August 2011, Build Change had mentored 9 Haitian small and medium enterprise producers of concrete blocks to increase the quality and profitability of their production.
"As a struggling developing country, Haiti needs jobs, and people who have lost their houses in the 2010 earthquake need good quality building materials," says Dr. Hausler. "That is why over the next two years, Build Change, Save the Children, and other partners propose to expand this successful pilot, continuing to mentor these nine producers and reach at least 51 more block manufacturers with technical assistance, ultimately providing support to 60 manufacturing enterprises."
Build Change and Save the Children are particularly excited about the project's potential impact. On average, each block manufacturer can produce and sell enough blocks for 9 housing units in a month; in a year, 60 manufacturers can sell enough blocks for 6,480 housing units, which could meet the needs of 20,000 people. Since each manufacturing enterprise employs on average 10 workers, the program can also lead to increased incomes of 600 Haitian workers.
To fund this initiative, Build Change is looking to raise an additional $240,000 over the next year to provide technical assistance to these block makers to help them strengthen their blocks. The technical assistance is part of a larger, more comprehensive million-dollar program that includes certification, business planning, and market demand-generation activities.
ABOUT CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE (CGI)
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made nearly 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 20-22 in New York City.
This year, CGI also convened CGI America, a meeting focused on developing ideas for driving economic growth in the United States. The CGI community also includes CGI U, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.
ABOUT CATERPILLAR FOUNDATION
The Caterpillar Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Caterpillar Inc. Founded in 1952, the Caterpillar Foundation has contributed nearly $500 million to help make sustainable progress possible around the world by providing program support in the areas of environmental sustainability, access to education and basic human needs. More information is available at http://www.caterpillar.com/Foundation.
ABOUT SAVE THE CHILDREN
Save the Children is the leading independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and 120 countries around the world. Founded more than 90 years ago, Save the Children helps break the cycle of poverty through programs in health, education, economic opportunities and emergency response. Save the Children has been working with the children and families of Haiti for more than 30 years.
ABOUT BUILD CHANGE
Founded in 2004, Build Change is an international non-profit social enterprise that designs earthquake-resistant houses in developing countries and trains builders, homeowners, engineers, and government officials to build them. The organization works in partnership with the public and private sector to leave in place lasting change in construction practice after earthquakes.
Since its founding, Build Change has improved the design of over 18,000 houses and trained over 12,000 people in the fundamentals of earthquake-resistant construction for single-family homes, including builders, technical high school students and teachers in Indonesia, China and Haiti. Today, over 70,000 people worldwide are living in safer houses because of Build Change's work. For more information, visit www.buildchange.org.
Build Change – Haiti
Director of Communications & Outreach
SOURCE Build Change