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Elizabeth Hausler

Founder and CEO, Build Change


Dr. Elizabeth Hausler founded Build Change in 2004 after a Fulbright Scholarship to India to study rebuilding efforts after an earthquake in Gujarat, where she was moved to see that vulnerable communities globally can build permanent safe housing. Now operating in 7 countries, Build Change designs disaster-resistant houses and schools in emerging nations, trains builders, homeowners, engineers, and government officials to build them, and facilitates access to financing and insurance incentives. The system-change approach leaves in place permanent change in construction practice by building local skills and stimulating local demand. Build Change’s work has enhanced the safety of more than 250,000 people through construction and retrofitting of more than 48,000 homes, schools, and other buildings, and creating more than 12,000 jobs.

Elizabeth is a skilled brick mason with a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Elizabeth and Build Change won a 2017 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Elizabeth was named a 2011 US Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation, and is the winner of the 2011 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability. Elizabeth is a 2004 Echoing Green Fellow, a 2006 Draper Richards Kaplan Fellow, and a 2009 Ashoka-Lemelson Fellow. Build Change won the 2008 Tech Award for Technology Benefiting Humanity in the Equality Category for making earthquake-resistant housing solutions available to homeowners regardless of income level. Elizabeth and Build Change’s work have been featured in the New York Times, BBC website, NPR All Things Considered, abcNEWS World News Tonight Person of the Week, Elle Magazine, and Bloomberg Businessweek.