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COLOMBO, 31 October 2017 ─World Habitat Day is observed each year on the first Monday in October, designated by the United Nations more than 30 years ago to focus attention on the basic right of all people to have adequate shelter. Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka (Habitat Sri Lanka) was founded on a similar conviction that everyone deserves a decent, durable place to live in dignity and safety. Operating in Sri Lanka since 1994 Habitat Sri Lanka has supported more than 24,600 families by building and improving places they can call home.

“In keeping with the UN theme for World Habitat Day 2017 ‘Housing Policies: Affordable Homes’, Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka conducted a series of events throughout the month October in the hopes of bringing attention to the use of alternative construction materials and technologies in constructing sustainable and affordable homes for communities in need across Sri Lanka”, said Dr. Dinesh Kanagaratnam, National Director of Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka.

Habitat Sri Lanka is currently engaged in implementing a multi-faceted housing project funded by the European Union which aims to construct and repair nearly 2,400 houses in Batticaloa, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu by 2020. More than 215,000 people will benefit from this project, which bridges the gap between relief, rehabilitation and development. It utilises alternative materials and techniques to reduce construction costs, while ensuring decent housing. This housing project also seeks to promote the use of locally manufactured earth blocks and construction materials such as Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB) and Earth Concrete Blocks (ECB).  Additionally, this European Union funded housing project has enabled Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka to introduce innovative alternative construction materials and technologies such as the Fairface masonry technology, Ferrocement –reinforced mortar and filler slab.

A training program was organized by Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka on the Fairface technology for technical officers and masons of the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) on the 3rd of October, 2017 in Kilinochchi. The Fairfaced masonry technique uses uniformly cast blocks with pointed mortar joints. It is both an eco-friendly and more cost-effective alternative to the regular process of plastering walls as it uses less sand and cement and provides a higher quality in appearance with pattern options and is more aesthetically pleasing in general. More than 30 participants from the NHDA participated in the Fair Face training program which was conducted by the project staff of Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka in Kilinochchi.

In Batticaloa, a knowledge sharing workshop on Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB) was conducted by the staff of Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka on the 20th and 21st of October 2017. A total of 126 students of the Department of Civil Engineering from the Technical College in Batticaloa, currently reading for the National Certificate of Technology, Diploma in Quantity Surveying, Certificate of Draftsmanship participated in this program. The workshop included an exposure visit to Habitat Sri Lanka’s Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB) production yard and CSEB model house in Villavettuvan, Batticaloa; where students had the opportunity to learn more about the eco-friendly and cost-effective homes being constructed using CSEB under Habitat for Humanity’s European Union funded housing project.