Build Change - Colorado Gives 365

A nonprofit organization

Earthquakes don't kill people . . . poorly built buildings do. Build Change leaves in place permanent change in construction practice by building local skills and stimulating local demand. Our work in reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses for vulnerable communities around the world is ongoing -- and we couldn't do it without your support.


"Elizabeth (Founder and CEO of Build Change) is a remarkable example of someone whose work is a catalyst for wide-scale adoption by using a model that is economically and socially sustainable. She realizes that local people will use only what skilled labor and materials are readily available in their communities to build their homes. Leveraging that knowledge, and coupling it with her engineering aptitude and ability to teach, she has transformed the standard donor-driven model of post-earthquake reconstruction." - Joshua Schuler, Executive Director of the Lemelson-MIT Program

"Build Change is among the best organizations that we have worked with, especially when it comes to education." - Charles Hygin Raymond, a director at Haiti's Ministry of Public Works, Transportation and Communication.

"One of the most important things Build Change is doing is changing people's thoughts about rebuilding earthquake-resistant housing and showing government officials what's happening in the villages." - Huang Yan, Ph.D. candidate at the China Institute of Engineering Mechanics

"I learned about how to dig for the house's foundation, lay blocks and bend rebar. I also learned that what's going to keep my house sturdy during adverse weather is making sure that all the walls are tied to the posts and the beams and are all reinforced so that they don't collapse . . . I've been enjoying this experience so much, that I've been thinking about becoming a construction professional myself!" - Mirlande Joseph, 38-year-old Haitian seamstress and earthquake survivor

"Thanks to Build Change, I can breathe easily knowing my house is earthquake-resistant and I am completely proud of it." - Eva, a homeowner from Padang Alai Village, Padang Pariaman District, Indonesia


Our mission is to greatly reduce deaths, injuries and economic losses caused by housing collapses due to earthquakes in developing countries.

Our vision is that (1) all houses built with inputs from Build Change in seismically active developing countries are resistant to earthquakes and other natural disasters, and (2) building codes are enforced or construction practices are permanently changed so that houses built in the absence of external funding and technical support are also earthquake resistant.

Background Statement

Founded in 2004, Build Change is an award-winning, international, non‐profit social enterprise with a mission to reduce deaths, injuries and economic losses caused by housing collapses due to earthquakes and major storms in developing countries. Build Change designs disaster‐resistant houses and schools and trains builders, homeowners, engineers and government officials to build them. Build Change started its work in Aceh, Indonesia, after the 2004 earthquake and tsunami and implemented homeowner-driven housing reconstruction and disaster risk reduction programs in West Sumatra, Indonesia in 2007; Sichuan, China in 2008; Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 2010; the Philippines in 2013; and Colombia in 2014.

Build Change has trained more than 20,000 people in Indonesia, China, Haiti, Guatemala and Bhutan on disaster-resistant design and construction, who have in turn built over 40,000 safer homes, impacting more than 200,000 people. Build Change is proud to have proof of concept: when earthquakes hit Sumatra, Indonesia, in 2009, none of the buildings that received technical inputs from Build Change that met minimum standards following the 2007 earthquake was damaged.

Build Change has provided design engineering, construction supervision, disaster-resistant design and construction training services to national governments, NGOs and private sector companies such as CARE, Oxfam International, the French Red Cross, Mercy Corps, Catholic Relief Services and the Caritas network, UNOPS and Degenkolb Engineers. Build Change has performed post-disastertechnical reconnaissance and housing subsector studies following earthquakes or major storms in China, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Peru, and the Philippines and regularly contributes to lessons learned and case histories on effective post-disaster reconstruction.

Build Change and its Founder and CEO, Dr. Elizabeth Hausler Strand, have received numerous awards and recognition, including the 2011 Schwab Foundation US Social Entrepreneur of the Year, 2011 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability, 2009 Ashoka-Lemelson Fellowship, 2008 Tech Award for Technology Benefiting Humanity in the Equality Category, 2006 Draper Richards Kaplan Fellowship and 2004 Echoing Green Fellowship.

Organization Data


Organization name

Build Change - Colorado Gives 365

other names

Center for Earthquake Resistant Houses

Year Established



International, Foreign Affairs & National Security


535 16th St., Suite 605
Denver, CO 80202

Service areas

Denver County, CO, US



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