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  • Writer's pictureNicola Smart

The Big Picture

Updated: Apr 5

These are challenging times around the world, and everyone at Partner Housing is thinking of those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are following government health advice, and are conducting our work through teleconference for the time being, and have delayed any overseas travel. We are also keeping in contact with our partners in the countries we support, and continue to provide them with assistance.

Despite the current circumstances, we remain completely committed to our work in providing village housing and infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific, and for us the big picture is always front of mind.

Every year, cyclones rip through the South Pacific destroying houses, clinics and schools – and every year they are rebuilt to the same inadequate standards. Earthquakes and tsunamis wreak havoc across the region, destroying buildings that should have remained standing. Shoddy materials and inadequate maintenance cause water systems to fail after just a couple of years of service, while village residents suffer chronic disease due to a lack of toilets.

All of these outcomes are avoidable. In Australia, we would demand government intervention and insist on a higher standard of design and construction. And this leads us to Partner Housing’s vision...

“Partner Housing is an entirely voluntary organisation, which aims to transform the lives of people living in Asia-Pacific villages by improving the cyclone, earthquake and tsunami resistance of their houses, clinics, schools and community buildings; and by providing clean water supplies and hygienic sanitation.”

Through our South Pacific programs, Partner Housing is partnering with community-based organisations at a grass-roots level to develop capability for the construction of resilient buildings, installation and maintenance of reliable water supplies and management of healthy sanitation programs.

But the “big picture” goes further. Building on this grass-roots village-based track record and the extensive experience of our directors as practitioners, standards-writers and regulators, we aim to assist South Pacific governments to draft and implement practical regulations that will lead to long-term improvements in village buildings, water supplies and sanitation.

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