More than nine of every ten natural disaster-related deaths occur in developing countries. Many of these occur in overcrowded and unsafe neighborhoods where housing is likely to collapse—as in the 2010 Haiti earthquake that killed more than 230,000. Faced with such calamities, international aid agencies often move in to build new housing as fast as possible. That process can cause even more damage by relying on international contractors whose products are not culturally appropriate, disaster resilient, or affordable.
With an emphasis on prevention, Build Change trains homeowners, local builders, engineers, and government officials to construct or retrofit disaster-resistant houses and schools in emerging nations vulnerable to earthquakes and typhoons.
Build Change makes the work affordable by leveraging cost savings through standardized retrofitting designs, existing subsidy and incentive programs, and partnerships with local universities providing seismic engineering experts. It works with governments and development agencies to promote standards, building codes, and financial incentives for disaster-resilient construction.