Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I Team Up with Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh
March 20, 2007

While I mainly use this blog to share interesting cultural stories, today I will give you a brief update on my Fulbright project. I finished the pilot test of my survey on March 9th and started the final survey last weekend. My research assistant, Sajeda, will continue the survey this Friday with two of her friends. I would go with her, but I will be attending a seminar at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) called "Architecture for the Economically Disadvantaged."

In addition to my survey, for the past several months I have been assembling an Advisory Board made up of prominent Bangladeshis and foreigners. The Advisory Board with act in a think tank capacity for the project - providing creative ideas and professional advice from their respective areas of expertise. So far I have managed to recruit a real estate developer with 18 years of experience building middle-income multifamily homes (he was is also the former president of the Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh), a senior researcher at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, the Executive Director of the Bangladesh Housing and Building Research Institute, the head of the Department of Urban Planning at BUET, the president of the Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Association, and the head of the Bangladesh Code of Conduct Department and the Controller at H&M.

This week was a good week for me in terms of the Advisory Board because I also spoke with the guy who runs the Code of Conduct Department at The Gap, and I have been e-mailing with his counterpart at Wal-Mart. Both people are very excited about my project. Yesterday I met with Roger Bodary, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh. Roger is a great guy and our visions - sustainable, affordable housing on a large scale - are very much aligned. Roger has also agreed to join the Advisory Board and Habitat for Humanity will partner with us on the implementation of the low-income housing model that the Board collectively designs.

Since I separated from Nari Uddug Kendra, (Shefali prefers to put her energy toward raising funds for her own housing project that she has already designed) I have been looking for another partner who could help me with the implementation of my project. I am very excited to be teaming up with Habitat for Humanity because I really respect their organization (I was a volunteer for them in NY) and they have the resources to implement our program on a wide-scale. Plus, Roger shares my interest in sustainable ("green") building, which I find very exciting!

All in all, the project is progressing quite well and I am extremely happy with the amazing group of intelligent, passionate, socially responsible people that I have been able to attract to my project.


At Monday, July 21, 2008 3:26:00 PM, Blogger Pierre said...

Hi Kirsten, would love to hear from you about how far your discussions went, whether you're still interested, and anything else I can help with.

Just drop me a line.

Pierre Johannessen
Habitat for Humanity Int'l Bangladesh


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