Thursday, November 8, 2007

It feels good when one’s efforts are admired. We feel encouraged to work more extensively and enthusiastically. Similarly HFHI-Nepal got its recognition for its constant effort to build better habitats. This took place in The Asia Pacific Housing Forum 2007 in Singapore. Many counties participated and Nepal made a distinct mark at the forum. Country Representative Mr. Aruna Paul and Senior Advisor, Mr. Barry Mackey participated in the program on behalf of HFHI-Nepal.

Award won in Singapore and re-celebrated in Nepal

Nepal won the 2007 Claren Jordan Award for innovation in housing and human settlement opportunities. It was awarded with an amount of US$ 20,000. Nepal was chosen as the winner among six nominated countries for its contribution in developing cost effective, durable and environmentally sustainable methods of building houses with locally available materials. Habitat has worked hard to prove the point that bamboo is an effective material with which to build houses; a fact that is not widely accepted in the local areas. It proved that bamboos are cheap, locally available, cost effective and durable enough to withstand earthquakes.

Habitat for Humanity International Nepal is grateful to the Canadian Architects’ Legacy Fund that has been helping to promote the technology by creating a fund amounting to US$25,000. The Canadian International Development Agency through the efforts of our sister organization Habitat for Humanity International-Canada is assisting us in setting up a Bamboo Corrugated Roofing Sheets Plant in the Eastern Nepal, Jhapa. Home partners have contributed to this effort largely by sharing the traditional wisdom and expertise of weaving bamboo.

Furthermore, Nepal, at the same Forum, was rewarded as the runner-up in the 2007 Koinonia Award for innovation in mobilizing financial capital Such awards are precious motivators for the HFHI Nepal team to come up with better ideas and approach in new places.
We are thankful to Samjhuata Nepal, Samuhik Hatemelo Seva and the other partners for working closely with us to introducing Housing Micro Finance in Nepal.

No doubt, the recognition received through the Clarence Jordan Award and the Koinonia Award will be a further enhancement to be more creative and innovative to reach more families to make housing affordable to the poor and thus enhancing their life experience.

The award money will be used as a leverage fund to assist 236 more families affected by floods and to facilitate cost effective construction technology to the other partners, both for permanent shelter at a less cost and for transitional shelter for those affected by disaster as the first response.
The cost of construction for permanent shelter for a 330 square foot home ranges from NRs. 39,000 to 63,000 (US$ 615 to 990) and for transitional shelter from NRs.12, 000 to 18,000 (US$ 190 to 280).


Stanley Britton, MRAIC said...

The 2007 Claren Jordan innovation award is well deserved, indeed! The 38 members of the Canadian Architects’ Fund are privileged to bask in the glow of a peer’s recognition.

The use of corrugated bamboo roofing sheets to lower the costs and improve the habitability of Nepal’s Save & Build houses is an innovative technology that was field tested on three demonstration houses in the Himalaya foothills in November 2006. This was a joint funding initiative of Habitat Nepal and our Fund.

Two outcomes are mentioned in the lead article. Some elaboration is worthwhile.

First, Habitat should not be shy about stating its own healthy contribution to the capitalisation of a revolving fund to micro-finance a stream of new and upgraded houses for beneficiaries of SOS Children’s Villages Nepal family strengthening programs. The revolving fund comprises $66,300 of which $6,300 is allocated to a “houses-with-jobs” initiative for the most needy families. As of today 50 new houses have been built and 16 existing houses have been upgraded. An additional five families are receiving micro-credit to establish the jobs that will in turn help finance their new houses. The Canadian Architects’ Fund contribution currently stands at $36,300 and Habitat’s matching monies are $30,000!

Second, I refer the reader to my comment to the December 25th article ‘Partnerships enable development of Bamboo Laminated Housing Materials’ which elaborates the leadership taken by individual members of the Canadian Architects’ Fund to enable a Bamboo Enterprise for Habitat in southeast Nepal.

It’s all about partnerships!

Stanley Britton, MRAIC
The Canadian Architects’ Fund

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