Ecuador to finance sustainable bamboo housing
In Manabí Province, the Government of Ecuador is using sustainable bamboo to deliver housing solutions and revitalize local economies.
Bamboo, known as “vegetable steel,” is set to play an important role in providing homes for communities in Ecuador.
On 27 July 2022, the President of the Republic of Ecuador H.E. Mr. Guillermo Lasso, the Minister of Urban Development and Housing H.E. Ms. Gabriela Aguilera, INBAR’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Mr. Pablo Jácome Estrella, local authorities and students from the Manabí Workshop School in Sustainable Bamboo Housing Construction participated in a launching ceremony for sustainable bamboo housing in Manabí Province.
In his speech at the event, Lasso highlighted the importance of bamboo and noted the remarkable resilience of bamboo structures to the catastrophic earthquake in 2016, while many homes made from common building materials like concrete, steel and zinc collapsed. “These materials are not always the most suitable,” he said.
Lasso went on to stress that utilization of bamboo resources represents a great opportunity to revitalize the local economy, strengthening livelihoods by bringing in stable jobs and incomes while bolstering the sector’s growth.
Lasso also recognized the achievements of graduates from the Manabí Workshop School in Sustainable Bamboo Housing Construction as part of a joint project financed by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and executed by INBAR with support from the European Investment Bank and other strategic partners.
The ambitious project aims to not only to address the housing deficit, but also to develop solutions that mitigate climate change while generating new green jobs.
Students graduating from the school are well poised to capitalize on the significant natural bamboo resources of Ecuador. In total, 74 bamboo experts have been trained in bamboo cane structures and certified by the Ministry of Labor, with 34 bamboo builders and 300 producers also trained in sustainable management.
Lasso remarked that these are encouraging numbers, but there is more work to be done: To take full advantage of the over 1500 uses of bamboo, “We must upscale this work across Manabí and other coastal provinces.”
The bamboo houses will be 56 m² and approximately USD 18,700 per unit, which the Government of Ecuador has pledged to entirely finance. This impressive effort marks an important contribution to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 to make cities and human settlements “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”
To Pablo Jácome Estrella, Regional Director of INBAR’s Latin America and the Caribbean Region, the future is clearly bamboo. “Ecuador is leading the way for the development of the entire region,” he said. “Bamboo is now widely used in construction projects across Europe and the United States. It now represents a reliable and green approach for accelerating economic growth and providing equitable employment opportunities around the world.”