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Solid House Foundation

Solid House Foundation

by Tomas Viguurs

Note: Mr. Viguurs, the author of this article, is Project Manager for the Solid House Foundation. SHF builds Monolithic EcoShells, called Solid Houses, in economically deprived areas.

Solid House Foundation (www.solidhouse.nl) is a nonprofit organization set up in November 2003 and based in The Netherlands. It creates permanent infrastructures for the housing and education of low-income groups in developing countries. This safe and healthy housing has a positive effect on the health of the people and generates economic activity and stability.

An important starting-point for SHF is that the people involved actually participate themselves. As future inhabitants, they are practically and financially responsible for their housing project. Habitat projects for low-income groups are often intended for women (and their children). That is why SHF pays special attention to the different positions of women and men and uses a gender-specific approach. SHF is responsible for the preparation and guidance of the housing projects. Local people are educated, enabling them to make the project successful.

SHF is not simply concerned with the building of a house but with improving the entire living environment for the long term. It provides an integrated approach to housing, water and sanitation, education, economic development, health and safety, and community building.

Several of the SHF staff have attended Monolithic Workshops over time. In Bolivia, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Sudan, Solid House is developing community building projects. In those projects, Solid House proposes to use the building principle of the EcoShell as an important way of constructing houses and adding value traditional structures do not provide.

SHF changed the name of its EcoShells to SolidHouses to impress upon the minds of the people the safety factor they receive when choosing domes rather than regular shelters.

The simple construction method of the SolidHouses means that durable homes can be quickly built. These houses can withstand extreme weather conditions and natural disasters. Another important advantage is that local community members can build these houses themselves at a low cost. SHF educates some of the future inhabitants, enabling them to build their own houses, carry out future projects and perhaps earn a living by doing so.

The Solid House Foundation website is available in Dutch, English and Spanish. For more information, photos, an overview and updated information on its ongoing projects, visit the SHF website.

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