A Safer Home for Slum Dwellers in Metro Manila

by Build Change


Millions of urban slum dwellers in Metro Manila live in substandard quality houses which make them vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters. Build Change will raise their awareness on the effects of natural disasters and develop pre-disaster retrofit guidelines to allow slum dwellers to strengthen their existing houses using locally available materials and culturally appropriate technology. Last, we will provide access to capital to help slum dwellers finance the retrofit.
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About 2.8M residents of Metro Manila live in informal settlements. These people have limited resources to live somewhere safe and thus settle in high-risk areas. They also do not have the knowledge to build safely, thus houses are often built hurriedly, on ad hoc basis, with light materials unsuitable for housing. Often, the construction quality is inadequate to withstand typhoons and earthquakes. And when disaster strikes, they suffer loss of lives and property and find it difficult to recover.


We will create demand for retrofitting by conducting awareness-raising sessions on the effects of natural disasters on substandard houses and the measures slum dwellers can take to mitigate risk. We will develop retrofit guidelines in consultation with slum dwellers to ensure that technologies proposed are culturally appropriate and cost competitive with existing but unsafe methods they may use to reinforce their houses. Last, we will provide homeowners access to capital to help them retrofit.

Long-Term Impact

Retrofitting increases resilience to disasters on a family and community level. Every dollar in disaster prevention saves seven dollars in disaster relief, so by strengthening existing houses before typhoons and earthquakes, families can prevent loss of lives, property as well as injuries. Retrofitting in dense urban slums in Metro Manila can increase the overall safety of the neighborhood and allow residents to better prepare for, withstand and recover from a disaster.

Additional Documentation

This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).


Climate-Resilience is More than Relocation
Video: Why retrofitting is important
How Colombia is preparing for next earthquake

Organization Information

Build Change

Location: Denver, CO - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.buildchange.org
Project Leader:
Build Change Nonprofit
Denver, CO United States
$210 raised of $10,000 goal
7 donations
$9,790 to go
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