Build Change commits to working with 200 brickmakers in Sumatra, Indonesia, to (1) improve brick quality, (2) improve brickmakers' business skills and livelihoods and (3) reduce environmental impacts.
To achieve these goals, Build Change will do the following.
Continue to test brick-making production methods and technologies, so as to increase brick strength and reduce negative environmental impact. In January 2013, Build Change started piloting a program in West Sumatra with 32 brickmakers to identify and test sustainable, affordable methods and technologies to improve brick quality while reducing environmental impacts. Initial results have proven positive. Brickmakers have improved brick strength and reduced timber use by 50% and production costs by 25%. Of the 32 brickmakers, 50% were women.
Expand its pilot program to work with 200 brickmakers in Sumatra to standardize production standards and monitor and evaluate business performance and environmental impacts. Build Change will train them in small enterprise development, cost estimating, supply chain management and marketing. Build Change will provide training using interactive workshops, games, exercises, one-on-one mentoring and on-the-job training.
Establish a cooperative network of brickmakers to enable brickmakers to access capital to invest in better technologies, share sustainable brick-making practices and business skills, undercut fees charged by middlemen and create more business opportunities.
Work with local governments to develop a certification program for brickmakers whose bricks meet earthquake-resistant standards. Satisfied customers will generate sales by word-of-mouth, and Build Change will implement a 'Better Building Materials' campaign to build a market for those bricks. Build Change will work with officials to scale the certification program nationwide.
During all facets of this program, Build Change will ensure that women have the same opportunities as men to participate in the training, seek out their involvement during discussions and trainings and mentor them as they work to improve brick-making methods, business and livelihoods.
Step 1: Finalize R&D activities and develop brick production standards and resources.
September - December 2013: Build Change will complete research on alternative firing methods and fuels and environmental impacts, finalize partnerships to support the development of financing cooperatives and document best brick-making practices (e.g., mix ratios, firing process, technologies).
January - May 2014: Build Change will roll out and finalize the full training package (technical, financial and marketing) on firing processes and cooperative network to brickmakers in Lubuk Alung who have already received introductory training.
Step 2: Set up a cooperative network.
September 2013 - May 2014: Build Change will continue providing training courses in small business development, supply chain management, microfinance, marketing and cooperative set-up and operation to brickmakers in Lubuk Alung. Build Change will document results and best practices and finalize the cooperative training package.
Step 3: Roll out and scale technical and cooperative training.
March - August 2014: Build Change will identify brickmakers in two other sub-districts in West Sumatra, collect baseline data, test brick samples and hold public awareness day events to raise awareness about better building materials. These events have proven successful. More than 1,000 community members from Lubuk Alung attended Build Change's public awareness day in June 2013, exceeding expectations. Build Change will continue providing mentoring, testing and monitoring in Lubuk Alung and expand training to those two sub-districts.
June - December 2014: Build Change will identify brickmakers in two sub-districts in earthquake-affected Aceh Tengah and Bener Meriah Districts, collect baseline data, test brick samples and hold public awareness days. Build Change will replicate this program in those two sub-districts.
January - August 2015: Build Change will continue providing mentoring, testing and monitoring to those sub-districts, and documenting results and best practices.
Based on multiple studies, building collapses from the 2009 Padang earthquake, which killed more than 1,100 people, were a result of poor-quality materials and workmanship. Problems with current brick-making techniques that produce weak bricks include:
One, no standard mixing ratio exists: The government of Indonesia set a compressive strength requirement for use in design and construction, but does not specify or regulate how bricks are made. The mix is often governed by the amount of sand and clay available to brickmakers, and is mixed using buffaloes, producing inconsistent bricks. Consequently, many bricks do not meet the compressive strength requirement for safe building practices.
Two, brick-making technologies are inefficient: Most brickmakers in Indonesia use old kilns that lose much heat and do not fire bricks evenly, resulting in uneven hardening. A building vulnerability assessment report after the 2009 Padang earthquake revealed that the majority of bricks were incompletely fired; many were easily broken by stamping on them by foot.
Three, current brick-making methods result in low profit margins. Average annual incomes for brickmaker business owners in Indonesia range around $600 - $1,200 per year, depending on production methods and the number of kilns a brickmaker uses (the average per capita income in Indonesia is $3,220). High costs of inputs and long production time make small, family-run businesses highly susceptible to pricing set by middlemen and money lenders. Thus, many brickmakers have large debts, earn little profit and have few resources to invest in new technologies and production methods to improve brick quality.
Lastly, current firing methods have high environmental impacts. Brickmakers use a full truckload of timber to fire one kiln of bricks (about 25,000 - 30,000 bricks). Not only is timber expensive and increasingly scarce, but excessive timber use creates and increases other disaster risks, including flooding, landslides, deforestation and habitat destruction.