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Designing and building sustainable 'transitional housing' in Quito (Ecuador)

Designing and building sustainable 'transitional housing' for the poorest inhabitants of the slum areas of Quito with EcoHouse Initiative and TECHO.

Catriona McGill (2010, Engineering)

During the summer of 2013, I spent two months in Ecuador. I travelled there with a group of 11 other engineering students from the EcoHouse Initiative, a student society based in the Engineering Department in the University of Cambridge. We spent 8 weeks in Quito working with the Latin-American NGO, 'Un Techo Para Mi País' (TECHO), which translates to, 'A Roof over My Country'.

TECHO works in 19 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to alleviate poverty and promote social inclusion. 31.4% of people in Latin America live in poverty, 12.3% live in abject poverty and TECHO works tirelessly to aid these people in extreme poverty. The principal way in which TECHO aid the families most in need is to provide them with transitional housing; a basic, wooden house which can be constructed in two days by a group of volunteers. The EcoHouse Initiative acts as a technical consultant for TECHO, giving advice and improvements relating to their technical work. As the Director of the Manufacturing Team within the EcoHouse Initiative, my specific role was to research and improve manufacturing and construction processes, collect data that can only be found in the country and to create contacts within Ecuador to support the work The Initiative will do in the coming academic year.

With these objectives in mind, I left Heathrow on the 1st August on a plane bound for Houston, followed by a plane from Houston to Quito. After spending a day in Quito becoming acclimatised to the time difference and altitude, we boarded an overnight bus with 70 other TECHO volunteers ..... Read more

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