Mission, Vision & Core Principles

The foundation of Build Change

It’s not the earthquake that kills people. It’s the collapse of a poorly built building. This is a man-made problem with a women-led solution.

Elizabeth Hausler

Dr. Elizabeth Hausler

CEO and Founder, Build Change

Value Proposition

Build Change is an award-winning non-profit social innovator and systems change catalyst that develops and scales societal solutions to overcome three critical barriers to the adoption of disaster-resilient housing: people/political will, money, and technology.

We start with shifting power.

Build Change puts the decision-making power, knowledge, and financing in the hands of the homeowner, particularly women. Build Change preserves existing homeownership by preventing the loss of what is often a family’s most valuable asset: their home.

We grow and protect wealth.

Build Change has safeguarded over $4 billion in housing infrastructure assets around the world. These assets belong to families in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia-Pacific. In addition to protecting housing from loss, Build Change supports homeowners to formalize ownership of property and land, expand home businesses, and add rental units.

And we keep people from dying or becoming homeless in disaster.

Build Change is building a world where no one dies in earthquakes, windstorms, fires, or floods. We use our expertise combined with innovative technology to address gaps in the construction value chain to build disaster-resilient housing and change construction practice permanently.

Build Change applies the following strategies:

Image of Nepal staff with Homeowner
Local Solutions

Use detailed housing subsector studies to determine the most cost-effective ways of building earthquake-resilient houses using materials and skills that are available through the local private sector.


Empower the homeowners to choose their own layout and materials and manage their own construction with our technical assistance, by providing a range of solutions appropriate for different income levels, family size, culture, and climate.

Technical Excellence

Leverage the knowledge and skills of the best engineers and architects in the world – both in the US and worldwide – to ensure that the very best designs and design thinking are applied to the reconstruction efforts while sticking to a carefully compiled list of criteria for local sustainability and acceptance.

Economic Growth

Kickstart the local economy by purchasing locally available materials and products.

Local Capacity

Build local capacity by hiring and working with local engineers, architects, builders, universities, and governments and training technical high school students.

Job Creation

Work with local masons, carpenters and homeowners to incorporate disaster-resilient building techniques that are culturally accepted and easy to adopt with limited training and education.

Bridging the Gap

Learn and spread best practices from post-disaster housing reconstruction programs so that the many other agencies involved in these efforts build better houses and leave in place more sustainable local impacts.

Core Principles


 Everyone has the right to a disaster-resilient home, regardless of any other factor: gender, age, ability, religion, economic status.

Even the CEO can take out the trash. Everyone on the Build Change team has an equal responsibility to work hard, share responsibility, and serve our clients and partners.

Technical Excellence

Build Change is the global expert on disaster-resilient housing in informal markets. We bring an unmatched wealth of knowledge and expertise on structural engineering design, human-centered design, construction, and technology and policy applications gained from field observations, robust structural engineering, laboratory testing, and engineering judgment.


Learn first. Ask questions. Be proximate. Don’t assume you know the answer. We do our best to walk in the shoes of our clients and partners and meet them where they are.

Build Change’s model is built on asking questions and using the results to improve programs and increase impacts. We don’t assume we know the answer, but ask the homeowners, builders, and building materials suppliers through systematic surveys.


With people in tents and in unsanitary and insecure living conditions after earthquakes and hurricanes, there is an urgency about Build Change’s work. We cannot delay in meeting the immediate needs of homeowners. We change systems so that millions of homeowners benefit in the future.


Change is hard. But change happens with determination and tenacity, and a commitment to sticking up for good construction quality when faced with corrupt contractors or difficult environments.


But change is possible. Without optimism, we’re sunk. We have to believe change will happen, that homeowners and builders can build safe houses now and in the future.

Six Steps to Disaster-Resilient Housing

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