Most families living in rural India suffer from the lack to fulfil their basic needs such as permanent and sustainable housing. On one side, the rapid growth of population as well as the increasing costs of construction are widening the gap between those who possess a house and those who do not. On the other side, the growing aspiration to have a house is pushing rural communities to opt for solutions which imply the use of building materials with a deep environmental impact.
Worldwide, the diffusion of eco-friendly practices in the building sector has been identified as one of the key factors that could help to drastically decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
There is an urgent need for construction models supporting the conservation of resources in order to provide millions of people with a house in India while at the same time promoting sustainable low carbon dioxide emission models.
Providing a home for the millions of people living in rural India is a mission which is facing a double challenge: facilitating the building of structures at a price consistent to the low income of BOP families and the search of eco-friendly solutions applicable on a large scale.
Therefore we are focussing on:
- Optimizing the energy efficiency potential as well as the materials and resources used in construction
- Promoting local craftsmen and their traditions
- Keeping in mind the climatic and geomorphic local conditions to build a long-lasting safe housing.
The following tools are part of the project:
- Technology for the design and the construction
The building will apply to the principles of low energy consumption, by using high input energy materials commonly used in the traditional building sector and local resources. Moreover, the architectural structure of the houses will be developed through participative practices within the communities and it will take into account the local climatic conditions, the traditional elements and techniques of construction.
- Institutional reinforcement and training
The artisan constructor (the “Mason”) is a fundamental link in the process of construction and consignment of the houses in rural areas; he is one of the key elements of the construction process. The training centre for artisans TARA Karigar Mandal (TKM) has the objective to strenghten the skills of the artisan constructors through technical trainings in bio-architecture, job opportunities and the acknowledgment of their social role. The training will focus on the partial construction of a demonstrative building in a well-visible central area of the community. The building will be devoted to social initiatives for the village, it will be a school or a council hall. This building will be identified with the rural district development agency (DRDA) as an instrument of training and awareness raising for the local communities.
- Proposal of services
The two key services in the region – housing and sanitation facilities – will be built by the local workforce trained by the project, with a quality checking performed by TMK The role of the local artisan constructors is a fundamental factor to guarantee the quality of construction, especially considering the use of alternative technologies.
- Entrepreneurial development
The project will help to strengthen the production of building materials, through the creation and the support to local micro enterprises. 2-3 local groups will be created and supported to create as many micro enterprises for the production and supplying of eco-friendly materials and finishing services such as fastenings, roofs, prefabricated panels for bathrooms. At the beginning, the micro enterprises will work as local branches of TMK. During the second year of the project, a buy back project will start and the micro entrepreneurs will purchase the property.
- Access to credit
The access to sustainable credit systems is one of the fundamental factors to create eco-friendly housing for disadvantaged families (with incomes lower than €40 per month) living in rural areas. The financial model will be constituted by a third provided by the financial institution, a third by the family itself and a third by the project. The contribution of Fem Sustainable Social Solutions will cover those costs (estimated to be 30-40% of the total costs) which cannot be carried by poor families due to a lack of support by government programs (government programs, on average, accede to the 2% of the requests at the most). The contribution of the family will mainly consist in workforce devoted to construction and the savings of years.
- Development Alternatives, New Delhi (India).