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Habitat for Humanity wins at World Bank Development Marketplace!

May 10, 2006

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Natalie Grant and Nurlan Moldosherip from Habitat received the award from World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.

BUDAPEST, Hungary (May 10) – Habitat for Humanity Kyrgyzstan’s innovative Cane Reed project is one of the thirty winners at the prestigious World Bank Development Marketplace competition in Washington DC. The winners were announced Tuesday and Nurlan Moldosherip and Natalie Grant of Habitat for Humanity received the award from World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.

Habitat had two programs at “Innovations in Water, Sanitation and Energy Services for Poor People” this week at the World Bank HQs in Washington, D.C. Habitat is among 118 finalists, chosen from 2,500 applicants from 55 countries worldwide.

Habitat qualified for Armenia’s “Harnessing the Sun: Energy for the Armenian Poor”; and for Kyrgyzstan’s “Cane Reed: 19th Century Idea, 21st Century Solution”. Habitat Kyrgyzstan will now receive US$116,389 from the World Bank to further fund the project.

“To place in this prestigious competition is quite an achievement for these local initiatives, and for Kyrgzstan to win is fantastic. The Armenian and Kyrgyz leadership and innovation of these sustainable, innovative projects can only enhance our mission to provide simple, decent, affordable homes for families in need,” said Don Haszczyn, Area Vice President for Habitat for Humanity’s Europe and Central Asia Regional Office.

In Kyrgyzstan, where 70% of the population lives in poverty, innovative solutions to poverty housing are needed, so Habitat has combed the past, and harnessed the cane reed and clay technology used in the 19th century but forgotten in the 20th. These environmentally friendly materials keep house costs down 40%, and also serve as better insulators against harsh Kyrgyz winters. Habitat has coupled this technology with an underfloor heating system, which keeps heating costs down further, saving a family $60 per month in energy costs: that equates to 490 loaves of bread, or 20 kilos of meat, or 160 liters of milk.

In Armenia, where 45% of the population lives in poverty, oftentimes, unhealthy and dangerous forms of water heating are used, which can lead to illness, indoor pollution and illness, accidents and fire. To address these issues, Habitat for Humanity has harnessed the power of Armenia’s average of 300 sunny days per year, and teamed up with a local company to install solar panels for water heating. There is potential to scale this project to 10,000 homes. Solar energy saves a family approximately $252 per year, which could buy: 740 loaves of bread, 222 kilos of tomatoes, or 55.5 kilos of meat.

Since being established in 1999, Habitat for Humanity Kyrgyzstan has dedicated more than 130 homes for families in need. Habitat for Humanity Armenia has housed more than 1,000 people in need since 2000.

Related links

Ancient idea, 21st century solution (pdf file)

Habitat for Humanity is a nondenominational Christian charity dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. It has built more than 200,000 homes; more than one million people are living in Habitat homes they helped build and own through low-cost, no-profit mortgages. We have positively affected lives in 100 countries around the globe. Habitat’s Europe & Central Asia regional headquarters are in Budapest, Hungary. The ECA region is actively fundraising, building and renovating homes with families in need.