Model & Strategy

The Problem
By 2030, three billion people – about 40% of the world’s population – will be living in vulnerable housing, which is particularly susceptible to earthquakes and climate hazards, from fire and flood to windstorms and extreme heat. At least 14 million people are made homeless each year due to disasters, and women and children are 14 times more likely to die in a disaster. Investment in resilient housing must be prioritized to protect people’s health and well-being and to better withstand future crises.

The Solution
Build Change saves lives in disasters by developing and scaling societal solutions to overcome three critical barriers to the adoption of disaster-resilient housing: money, technology, and people/political will. They transform the systems for regulating, financing, building, and improving houses around the world. Build Change works with homeowners, governments, and financial institutions to strengthen and improve unsafe, inadequate housing. They do this through a combination of:
-Shifting power to the people, especially women, using homeowner-driven conditional cash plus technical assistance.
-Expanding access to information, to create demand and make resilient housing accessible to everyone.
-Guiding policy reform, to reduce bottlenecks and drive change at scale.
-Undertaking global campaigns, to make resilient housing a larger part of climate change and global development agendas.
-Removing financial barriers, including through grants and loans, to incentivize resilient housing and make it affordable.
-Advancing technology platforms, to expand scope and reach scale.
-Supporting local capacity building, to develop engineering, construction and program expertise and create local jobs.

Build Change has developed building standards and influenced policies and programs across the world. Their efforts have led to safer people worldwide, protected housing infrastructure, trained workforces in resilient housing techniques, created jobs, and transformed local organizational capacity. Their approaches reduce carbon emissions and new land development. They have surpassed global averages in women’s leadership since the start and promote gender equity by supporting women in reducing their vulnerability to disasters, protecting their assets and home-based workplaces, and leading the march toward resilient housing for all.


At a Glance
Founded: 2004
Founder & CEO: Elizabeth Hausler
Location of work: International, Africa, Asia, Latin America, India
Build Change
Denver, CO
Every home is disaster-resilient.
Meet Elizabeth Hausler

As founder and CEO, Elizabeth’s inspirational message – that one woman can change the world, with a lot of help from her friends – has been featured on the BBC, NPR, The New York Times, and the TED stage, among others. Among her many accolades are the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, the Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability, the Campanile Excellence in Achievement Award from UC Berkeley, and listing on Forbes 50 Over 50: Impact in 2023. Elizabeth completed a B.S. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an M.S. in environmental science from the University of Colorado, an M.S. in civil engineering from UC Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in civil engineering at UC Berkeley. Elizabeth also learned brick, block, and stonemasonry working alongside her father, Don Hausler, a stonemason and builder in northeastern Illinois, where she grew up.


From the first 11 homes built following the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia to the more than 230,000 safer buildings reached in 2023, their impacts include:

-Safety and Resilience: More than 1.2 million people made safer, more protected from disaster

-Economic Prosperity: 41,000+ jobs created

-Gender Equity: 90% women borrowers

-Systems Change: 239 organizations changed

-Climate Sustainability: 1.5Mmt+ of CO2e emissions saved