19,531 Safer Buildings

97,655 Safer People

15,146 People Trained

2,634 Jobs Created

84,000 people were left homeless after the December 7, 2016 Earthquake in Aceh, Indonesia. Donate today to help long-term recovery for families and their communities.



Indonesia is one of the most earthquake-prone areas in the world, yet there is very little training and education about earthquake-resistant design and construction (ERDC)—the design and construction practice that keeps buildings from collapsing during an earthquake. We began working in the region in 2005 and have opened offices across the country to spread best practices about safe construction.


Better Building Materials

Traditional techniques, made stronger

Brick quality can be poor, and houses built with poor-quality bricks are at increased risk of collapsing during earthquakes and major storms. We work with the owners of brickmaking businesses to make their bricks better without introducing completely new techniques. We work with them to improve the efficiency of their processes and effectiveness of traditional techniques to produce high quality bricks consistently.

Traditional kilns for firing bricks use fresh timber as fuel, causing deforestation and increasing the risk of mudslides and flooding. We help businesses make their kilns more efficient with small design changes. We also identify and  promote less expensive alternate fuels.

Businesses must buy materials to make bricks up-front, and then must wait for the bricks to dry and cure before they can recoup the cost. Middlemen offer extremely poor prices for the bricks while they are still curing. Businesses accept because they have little choice. Because of this price-gouging, many family-owned brickmaking businesses are forced to sell their bricks at or below the cost to make them.

We help businesses generate more profit to escape the debt to middlemen, through training in management, budgeting, and more cost-effective manufacturing techniques.

BBM in Indonesia

Our Better Building Materials (BBM) program supports local brickmakers in streamlining their business practices and improving the quality of the bricks they produce. As part of the Clinton Global Initiative, Build Change committed to working with 200 brickmakers in Sumatera to improve brick quality, improve brickmakers’ business skills and livelihoods, and reduce environmental impacts. In January 2013, we piloted a program in West Sumatra with 32 brickmakers. Now, with support from  JTIF and Caterpillar Foundation, 90 small- and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) have received training and technical assistance. We plan to scale this to 180 brickmaking SMEs by 2019.

Two universities have joined us to support the Bata Jaya brickmaker cooperative: Institut Teknologi Padang and Universitas Bung Hatta. Together we will develop quality control within the cooperative, as well as improve marketing strategies for the affiliates’ products and brand. Developing relationships with local and national government departments is integral to our programs, including the Education Bureau of Padang and the West Sumatera Board of Disaster Management.

Safer Schools

The earthquake in Padang, Indonesia led to the damage or collapse of 144,000 buildings, including 1,100 schools. Now, years later, it is estimated that 136,000 students and teachers remain at risk in these schools. Build Change has begun collaborating with the Regional Disaster Management Agency of West Sumatera (BPBD) and the Padang Department of Education (Dinas Pendidikan) to address the damages in some of the school buildings throughout the district of Padang. In June 2016, we received funding to retrofit the first of these schools, and look forward to expanding this program across Padang and, hopefully, the nation.

Building Back Better

Build Change’s team of local technical experts (engineers, architects, and construction supervisors) worked from March 2005 to January 2008 with the tsunami survivors in Banda Aceh to rebuild safe, sustainable houses. Banda Aceh is a main metropolis in Aceh Province.

    • 478 earthquake-resistant houses built
    • 310 trained technical high school students
    • 62 trained teachers
    • 267 trained builders

Build Change provided design assistance, construction supervision, and training for builders, homeowners and technical high school students in West Sumatra, Bengkulu, and West Java, Indonesia.

The USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance supported this program in distributing educational materials through flyers and radio to over 18,256 people. In partnership with community members and local government, we provided technical assistance for 2,500 homes. To put lasting skills in place, we trained 35 community extension workers to expand our local impact.

Support Our Work

We are seeking partners in the following areas to support our programs in Indonesia:

  • Corporations and foundations
  • The private sector, including engineers, builders, producers, and construction materials producers and suppliers
  • Financing and insurance institutions
  • Public sector institutions, including public works agencies and municipal engineers
  • Implementing partners, including NGOs



2006 SEAONC Excellence in Structural Engineering Award

Build Change’s house design for Aceh received an Excellence in Structural Engineering Award from the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California.


Kingdom Foundation

Luff Family Fund