Following the earthquakes in April and May 2015, the Government of Nepal mandated that housing reconstruction be homeowner-driven. Therefore Build Change’s strategy is to capacitate the Nepalese Government, INGOs, local NGOs, and other organizations to become facilitators of safe construction practices and implementers of safe reconstruction at scale. In January 2016, we were officially registered as an INGO in Nepal.
Technical Resource Development
Developing key partnerships with the Nepalese Government, international and local NGOs, and local universities has been a primary focus since the beginning. We have Memorandums of Understanding with local NGOs, and the Nepalese Government’s Vocational Training Branch.
An in-depth analysis of needs and priorities amongst rural homeowners impacted by the earthquake was completed within a year of the disaster, and has led us to develop and disseminate safe and affordable construction technologies. These include confined-masonry designs for rebuilding new houses, and retrofitting of low-strength masonry rural houses that have been damaged by the earthquake, but are still standing and currently unsafe for occupancy.
We estimate that 400,000 rural homeowners may elect to seismically retrofit their earthquake-damaged house. Additionally, we estimate that 100,000 rural homeowners may select confined masonry as a safe and affordable new construction technique. In March 2017, the Government of Nepal approved and published Build Change’s confined masonry house design.
Technical Assistance to Homeowners
Surakshit Ghar Mobile App
In support of the National Reconstruction Authority, Build Change has developed a mobile app called Surakshit Ghar (“Safe House” in Nepali). The app provides Build Back Safe construction information to homeowners living in remote areas, and to individualized engineering advice to these homeowners through a messaging and picture sharing feature built into the app. Surakshit Ghar is available for free download at the Google Play store.
Technical Support Centers
In addition to the app, Build Change and its implementation partners are opening Technical Resource Centers, in collaboration with the Government of Nepal, to provide advice and technical drawings to homeowners. Currently, Build Change operates 9 field centers, working with 7,000 homeowners enrolled in the Government led homeowner-driven reconstruction process. We anticipate opening new centers in the coming year to further extend the coverage of our technical assistance.
Build Change also provides construction monitoring and on-the-job training to more than 3,000 homeowners in partnership with organizations such as World Vision International, ARSOW-Nepal, the Nepal Red Cross Society, and the American Red Cross.
Community theater is a long-standing tradition in Nepal. We worked with a local theater troupe and partner IsraAid to share knowledge of basic safe construction techniques through this medium, reaching large and enthusiastic audiences. Through community theater performances like this one in Sangachok VDC, Sindhupalchok, we have reached communities with the basics of safe construction.
In 12 months of community theater performances, we have reached more than 32,000 people.
Jana Jyoti Lower Secondary School
With support from Eneco Energy and Natural Capital Partners, we are rebuilding a school in the district of Sindhupalchok. The first school building was completed in September 2016 and a second building is currently under construction.
Trainings for builders focus on improving existing skills and integrating small, disaster-resistant technical shifts. Each builder’s existing skills and knowledge are evaluated, and the trainings are tailored to fill the gaps in prior knowledge. To date, with support from partners such as Mercy Corps, American Red Cross, World Renew and World Vision International, we have trained more than 600 local builders in safe construction practices.