Notre Dame Hosts Haitian Studies Association Conference
November 6-8, 2014
E2E Assists in the local organization of the Haitian Studies Association Conference at the University of Notre Dame. E2E staff from the Haiti Field Office and the US Headquarters participated in a range of events including presentations and panel discussions, as well as organizing a pre-conference workshop on Barriers to Recovery in the Housing Sector attended by members of the Fuller Center, PADF and Catholic Relief Services.
"Innovative Housing Solutions for Post-Quake Haiti" was awarded a $7,500 prize by NCEES for one of the top undergraduate projects engaging professional engineers. Award was presented at the E2E Expo site on campus.
Engineering2Empower has asked that question of the Haitian people many times over the past four years. Life, identity, treasure, and victory are just some of the answers we've heard. But for many, these life long dreams are unattainable because of the lack of safe and affordable options, especially after the damage caused by the 2010 earthquake.
FEATURE STORY: Making One Home, One Expo at a Time: How it Began Here at Notre Dame
October 1, 2014
So how do you take four years of ideas, failures, discoveries and passion and turn them into a singular stage? How do you make that stage one that is worthy to tell the story of Léogâne, Haiti? Indeed watching a vacant field on Notre Dame’s campus transform into concrete structures that blossomed from houses into homes was a beautiful metamorphosis facilitated by the heart, sweat and yes maybe even tears of a committed group of students and faculty. This beginning captured, for me, precisely my hope for each Haitian waiting in a transitory shelter – a dignified home.Add News Story here
A new school year has arrived at Notre Dame -- and so has the E2E Expo! Our team of students and partners have set a stage, and now it is time to tell the story. We are proud to showcase the E2E solution for urban housing in post-quake Haiti. Come and see the completion of the two E2E Expo homes on campus and learn about the progress on our first home in Haiti.
The attention and concern of the world was focused on Haiti following its Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake. As is often the case, as time went on, the focus on Haiti became less intense as the world moved on.
However, the plight of Haitians has remained a driving concern for a group of University of Notre Dame engineering professors and students who are working to bring about a novel housing solution in that country.
While foreign aid is necessary to help countries get back on their feet in the immediate wake of a natural disaster, Notre Dame’s Engineering2Empower program believes rebuilding needs to originate internally for a country to re-establish itself.
In response to the 2010 earthquake, members of the Notre Dame engineering department formed “Engineering2Empower,” or E2E, a housing initiative with the goal of designing safe and affordable houses that Haitian families can buy from Haitian businesses.
In Haiti, solutions are shipped in without counsel, context, or cooperation. Projects are implemented whether the recipient is on-board or has an understanding of what is being done, and sometimes the projects become more problematic than alleviating. How can this be avoided, how can innovation occur in Haiti, and what can organizations like E2E do to facilitate it?
A year after the 2010 Haitian earthquake, this group of undergraduates, graduates, and faculty at Notre Dame partnered with the community of Léogâne to implement a sustainable solution that will solve the problem of unsafe and temporary housing through engagement with locals. Caroline Bernardi, a senior IT Management major from Bloomington, IL, describes how E2E not only provides a road map for building seismically resilient housing, but it also promotes growth and development to help alleviate poverty.
Development Advisory Team (DAT) members Deandra Cadet and Erik Jensen visit Haiti for high-level meetings in Port-au-Prince with the “housing inner circle” including the new Unité de Construction de Logements et de Bâtiments Publics (Unit of Construction of Housing and Public Buildings) and USAID.
Erik Jensen and Kevin Fink respectively present “Sustainable Housing in Post-Earthquake Haiti” and “Assessment of the Seismic Resiliency of Housing Models in Quito, Ecuador” at 2014 Human Development Conference.
ATMI Precast Tour
February 28, 2014
Team visits one of the leading precast manufacturers, ATMI, and design-build experts, ARCO/Murray, in suburban Chicago.
Engineering2Empower’s research in Haiti has revealed that housing quality is directly correlated to the financial capacity of families and the skillset of available construction crews. This fact threatens the livelihoods of millions of people worldwide living in poverty in seismic zones. The 2010 earthquake in Haiti illustrated how desperately underdeveloped countries need access to seismic engineering. To this end, E2E launched a research initiative in Quito, Ecuador, tasked with evaluating the state of low-income housing and identifying the political and economic conditions that negatively affect construction practices. Eight weeks of field research yielded clear answers regarding the seismic resiliency of housing in Quito’s poor neighborhoods and developed an assessment system that E2E believes can be incorporated around the world.
PERMANENT HOUSING HAS BEEN ELLUSIVE to a million or more Haitians left homeless by the 2010 earthquake, but in Léogâne, where 90 percent of the houses were destroyed, creative efforts are under way that could provide a model for building permanent housing that comes from the people most affected.Add News Story here
Last week, Christine Parrish wrote an article about Engineering2Empower (E2E) and the housing project I am spearheading in Léogâne, Haiti. As the In-Country Director, I can tell you first hand that she wrote with a great appreciation for the problems facing Haitian housing and also captured the spirit of our organization and the focus we have on empowering Haitians to solve the challenges they face. Anyone with knowledge of Haiti will tell you that many of the issues currently plaguing Haiti existed long before the earthquake - the events of January 12, 2010 only exposed them, leaving in its wake a crisis overlay to latent challenges. But just as we need to dive deep into Haiti's past to understand its problems, we need to look far into Haiti's future to solve them.
FEATURE STORY: A View from the Outside...
January 27, 2014
E2E started the New Year with a special visitor from the ND undergraduate team. Jon Schommer, a senior civil engineering major, has been working with E2E for 8 months now. As part of his senior thesis project, Jon was able to make the trip down to Léogâne and spend 10 days interviewing the population to understand the structure of NGOs in Haiti, as well as the way that E2E has interacted with the community.
One unique feature of E2E is its university research component. With this comes the involvement of both graduate (e.g. yours truly) and undergraduate students. Our undergrad team is rather large (last count I believe was over 20) and extremely diverse. We have engineering, architecture, political science, business, and many other majors. Involving the undergrads gives us valuable manpower, as well as fresh ideas, and gives the undergrads experience on a “real world” problem.
As I said in my last post, one of our goals in the coming year is to use Innovation Incubators to source solutions from the local community to challenges that E2E faces. In an effort to move beyond a “question and survey” community engagement strategy, we believe strongly that the best solutions to these challenges will come from those that experience the problems firsthand. In theory, this all sounds great. But how does an organization actually go about sourcing these solutions in an effective and successful way?
I have now been in Léogâne for almost two weeks, and a full two weeks it has been. I’ve have spent a lot of time meeting with our two Léogâne E2E Representatives, Lamarre and Edson, as well as with various community members with an interest in seeing our project succeed. The conversations have been interesting so far – there has been a lot of affirmation of our ideas, both on the housing side and on the financing side, and also a lot of suggestions that could be vital to our success. Below are a view bullet points that provide a snapshot of where we are currently, as well as where we will be going in the near future.