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This group is a member of the GROOTS International Global Disaster Response Team.


“Building Low Cost Disaster Resistant Housing Programs with Women”

Country: PERU

Organization: Estrategia- Mujeres Unidas para un Pueblo Mejor - Strategy: Women United for a Better Town                       

Sector of activity: Housing

Built By Self-Help and Community Associations

Women in domes

Description of your products or services: We provide links to income generating activities for the community (in the production of bricks, concrete domes, concrete beams) that are earthquake resistant, or 'anti- seismic,' & community training programs to show grassroots women how to construct Disaster Resistant Housing with these materials.

Our principal clients are poor, informally housed residents of Pachacutec in the Ventanilla district, of the Callao Region of Lima, Peru. Our program focuses on those who can be supported to access low cost housing products to build their homes & live affordably & dignity. Low income women benefit the most as they generate their livelihoods & learn skills in the program & the low-income families who buy the disaster-resistant building materials & build homes at a low-cost.

Description of innovation: This approach provides disaster resistant housing to low income communities while generating livelihoods. We have trained the local community as well as established sucessful partnerships with local authorities. In one year of training & project implementation, 240 people obtained the knowledge to produce concrete prefabricated components for construction, using local materials (sand, stones, etc.). Women & men started the construction of nine housing units & a communal dining room, using the prefabricated components they produced themselves.

Because of the impact our work made in the area of Pachacutec, “Los Olivos de La Paz” slum, the Mayor of the Ventanilla district made a visit and launched a Municipal Housing Program With Gender Equity. This program will start with a Participatory Budget, which was approved by the people from the poor areas of the district, of $200,000 American dollars.

This program will also be presented to the Peruvian Parliament to petition for the creation of legislation for a Popular Housing Programs Fund because to date, there are no housing policies for the poor. In addition, the governmental fund “Mi Vivienda” will support a housing program named “Techo Propio” which uses the methodologies and technologies of the women and men of the Pachacutec project. The expansion of these projects present greater opportunities for the people of Ventanilla and beyond to access low cost, earthquake-resistant housing with dignity.

Housing unit built by women

Description of the financial model: Existing housing programs in Lima are more expensive, not earthquake resistant and not built by the poor communities themselves who reside in these settlements. Our funding is short – term, because the funds are going to a limited number of families. The demand is very high and if we have the facility to create a fund for housing in benefit of the poor we would be able to help more families living in poor conditions and disaster-prone areas. The people of our project get profits from their work in the production of the concrete, prefabricated components, and the construction of low cost housing units. In addition, the local government is working with the grassroots producers to expand the demand for their products and services (bricks, etc.) by contracting with them to build pathways, schools, etc. The program will be financially self-sustainable as long as the communities invest in their homes and in productive programs to get incomes to make these investments. The creation of new factories in the area is crucial to create new jobs for the people and at the same time it will contribute to improving of the living conditions of poor people of Pachacutec.

      Client fees represent this approximate percentage of operational budget: 5%

Key operational partnership: The Mayor & local government of the Ventanilla district are the main supporters of our work. We collaborate to build low cost housing in Pachacutec & bridge the gap of inadequate support from the national housing ministry. To insure durable & antic seismic construction techniques, we partner with housing training institutions--National Institute SENCICO-helped us design a community based brick & materials making production process & generating local income & skills as low cost housing is built. The mayor & local government also helped us scale up our brick production & construction activities by contracting us to provide footpaths & in public & community spaces. They have also helped link us to the National Housing Associations & to the media who disseminated our work at the national level through t.v, radio, and newspapers. We are now focused on, & challenged with, replicating our work in other poor communities in Peru. Miloon Khotari of the UN Commission on Human Rights, visited us to call attention to how the national government is neglecting settlement/housing upgrading among the poor. Pachacutec, an example of this problem, yet our work was cited as part of the solution.

State of implementation:

·  We are at the Scaling Up stage. We have finished the first step of the construction of a Housing Pilot Program and we are now preparing the next step which is to start the housing construction program in agreement with the Fund Mi Vivienda, Techo Propio and the local government. The people are now registering to access to a program which is going to start the beginning of the next year. Estrategia supports facilitation and information to the families for them to better access and manage this program. With continued success are currently in the position to extend our services and reach to the many communities who have expressed interest in training to produce earthquake safe construction materials and housing.

·  What institutions, communities, populations or geographic areas have benefited most from your product/service? At the local level we have 55,000 families from the area where we are currently located and who are going to benefit with the improvement of their communities. At the National level improvements will also be made once we get support to replicate the experience. Many other areas like, Cajamarca, Huancavelica, Huancayo, Piura, Tacna, etc. wanted us to apply our work experience to their communities. We are hoping to expand our reach, but this has not yet been possible because of the lack of resources.

·  What specific partnerships do you need to be successful? We require collaboration to help us replicate this experience in the National Level in order to benefit more families with the training approach. In addition,the "Mi Vivenda" fund requires close collaboration between the community and the government. The Fund is from The Housing Ministry & provides poor families with a grant of $2,800. The beneficiary must open a bank account with a contribution of $101 to get the approval to construct the housing unit. A loan of $400, which is provided by the Mayor of the Ventanilla district, is then granted to the families, which must be repaid at a rate of $25.00 per month (at a rate of 2% interest). The remaining balance of $299 is paid in-kind by each family through their hard work on the construction of their homes. Estrategia helps to facilitate this process which depends on our partnership building between the community and the government.

Women preparing beams

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