Three quarters of all Colombians reside in cities, many in densely populated and illegally constructed poor neighbourhoods. Many residents have built their homes on their own steam, with little money or experience and without official approvals. The living spaces are often precarious, construction quality is lacking, and the homes are particularly vulnerable to earthquakes or landslides. According to estimates, roughly 10 million people across the country live in poorly built homes.
This project involves a skills development programme in Colombia’s informal construction sector. Its main objectives include increasing technical skills and incomes for construction workers as well as to improve home construction quality.
Swisscontact is committed to:
- high-quality training of local construction workers suited to the local context
- sensitizing homeowners to ensure they demand higher quality construction practices for their homes
In addition, advisory services offered in the construction materials markets will be improved, enabling informal construction workers direct access to skilled salespeople in their immediate vicinity who can give them professional advice when they buy their materials.
The project launched in April 2011 with financial support through the Hilti Foundation. In 2017 it entered its third and (for the time being) last phase, through 2018. The project is being implemented in various regional centres, including the capital Bogota.
- Developing and teaching an attractive course curriculum for informal sector construction workers
Developing training modules for vocational trainers, construction workers, and merchants of construction materials in collaboration with the National Vocational Training Agency (SENA) and various private companies. These training modules are included in courses offered in various Colombian cities. They include specialised technical content and business management.
- Information campaigns, trainings, and advisory services for owners of informal homes
Simple information and training courses that are easy to understand and offered to target groups through our local partner organisations (including in the non-profit sector). They include information on risks and other information to help homeowners improve their quality of life and home environment.
Project progress 2013-2016
- The project trained over 14,000 construction workers, 230 vocational trainers, and 570 merchants of construction materials
- More than 6,500 residents underwent personal sensitization. More than 250,000 were reached through mass media.
- Our experience shows that thanks to these initiatives, the quality and stability of homes have improved.
- With the new construction practices, living conditions have improved for 28,000 residents of informal settlements in Bogota, Cali, Ibague, and Pereira.
- 3,360 construction workers have increased their annual incomes by roughly US$1,300.
- 3,900 additional construction workers will be trained, including 1,100 who will also undergo entrepreneurship training
- 20,000 homeowners will have been sensitized either directly or indirectly
- At least 1,500 construction workers will have increased their annual income by 690 Swiss francs
- 18,000 residents in informal settlements will have benefited from qualified construction services, thereby improving their quality of life