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Thanks Brannon for sharing this source of information. It has been useful to go through Engineering for Change's library of resources and it was great to see that some of their resources align with ours (https://www.buildchange.org/resources/), not specifically to brick making but also other housing-related documentation.

I also do really like your idea with Built with Humanity, the name also says it all! I think it is a really great idea to solve the problems associated with gentrification in a collaborative way, with the community at the heart of the process. Gentrification is a huge phenomenon (I live in NYC!) spread everywhere, and your idea clearly creates the bridge. Well done, and good luck for the next steps of your initiative!

Brian, thank you very much for this! Our idea here is specifically to explore alternative firing materials and improve its process. But, the brick plastic seems really promising, especially since it has added value to the strength. Indonesia is one of the highly earthquake-prone countries in the world. With the recent earthquake in Lombok last week, prioritizing quality over cost is absolute. Utilize recycled plastic to help improve the strength and safety of a building from an earthquake would be a really great solution. We'll definitely consider this suggestion to another component of our program!

Hi Frances,
Happy that the resources we shared will be useful to you.

Yes, we absolutely do needs assessments, and include the local population. In fact, Build Change's approach is to learn first, so to be sure to provide the right assistance to those who need it. We complete detailed housing sub-sector studies, talk to the communities and stakeholders involved along the chain, to design and build houses that are culturally appropriate, preferred by homeowners, low cost, locally sustainable, and disaster resistant. We'd rather not introduce a completely new technology or reintroduce a traditional building method that has gone out of style, when capacity, materials and preferences to current building types are well defined.
We also develop building manuals that are specific to the practices in the countries where we work and distribute them to local builders and homeowners. For example, training manuals we developed in Indonesia are very different to the ones in Haiti, as cultures, house styles, and available materials are very different.
One critical aspect in our work is that we also use the homeowner-driven construction approach. We do not build for people, but we provide the technical assistance needed for them to complete the works. We train homeowners, builders, building materials producers, engineers, and community members to build houses as well as other community projects (schools, retaining walls, among other).
What examples can you share about projects voted by the community as a priority? Again, I think you are doing a great job of putting the community at the heart of the decision-making and recovery process.