BEYCILER ASSISTED SELF-HELP HOUSING PROJECT
Background Information: On August 17, 1999 and again on November 12 th of the same year, earthquakes measuring 7.4 and 7.1 on the Richter scale, respectively, hit Turkey in areas East of Istanbul. The first earthquake occurred at approximately 3:01 AM on August 17, 1999 near the town of Golcuk ( Kocaeli Province ) and rocked the Marmara Region of Turkey . The second earthquake, on November 12, 1999 , was further to the east and centered on Duzce causing severe damage and loss in the areas spanning from Bolu to Sakarya. As a result of the 1999 earthquakes, hundred thousands of people, many of whom lost their family members and relatives immediately after the earthquake, found themselves in a situation with a severe lack of shelter, food, health care and education.
The government, along with local and international agencies and NGOs, responded immediately to the emergency with the provision of temporary shelters, food, health care, counseling and other social services. More than 130 tent cities, with over 100,000 tents, were initially set up to provide survivors with emergency shelter and thousands of temporary prefabricated homes were constructed within one year. Subsequently, the Turkish Government launched the construction of permanent houses to be provided to all home-owners who can prove they lost a home as a result of the earthquakes. However, vulnerable segments of the population who were affected by the quakes but living in rented houses continued to fall through the social welfare and rehabilitation gaps.
Project Summary: The purpose of this project was to assist the most disadvantaged 168 households whom lived in temporary shelters and rented houses to construct their own homes on the allocated municipal land and become stakeholders in the project through input on short-term and longer-term phases of the program.
Following program designing for 14 months, field activities started in May 2002 and the following 20 months of long activities, 168 most disadvantaged households became the owners of the houses that were shaped by their own ideas and their own hands by January 2004. The community centre that had been constructed served as a social and administrative centre before the construction of houses started. Following the completion of field activities it was handed over to –BEYDER- the association established by beneficiary families.
The core of this project was the community participation component that ensured self-selection of beneficiaries/families, inputs into home designs, participation to project management and construction. Promoting participation in full extent has engendered the sense of ownership in the project as well as the sense of being a community between 168 household being Roman, Abkhazian , Turkish, Kurdish, Georgian, Laz that has made the establishment of a community association possible.
Project Goal: To provide durable housing solutions for 168 vulnerable families resident in Duzce and became homeless by the earthquakes of 1999 and to establish a community association to oversee managerial and financial responsibilities of residents' needs.
Project Beneficiaries: A total of 168 households, 75 of which were tenants in a flat or house, 71 of which were living in temporary prefabricated houses and 22 of which were living in tents has directly benefited from the project. The detailed beneficiary profile is available in the project's website.
• A survey covering 3000 households was done in April 2001 to perceive self-help approach and the living habits of the community, to measure their familiarities to construction works and to get the clear profile of households living in temporary shelters.
• A draft project proposal has been prepared to be submitted to both, CRS and Duzce Municipality .
• The decision on partnership with IBC was taken by the City Council Meeting dated 20 November 2001 .
• Geological surveys by Sakarya University were done to determine the soil quality for construction.
• Engineering and architectural unit designs were prepared by the technical assistance of Sakarya University and in cooperation with the Municipality.
• Beyciler Houses were planned as detached houses with the dimensions of 67.66 m2 net for downstairs and 21,77 m2 net for upstairs. Four detached houses adjacent to each other had been formed as a block with the concept of using the land more sufficiently and supporting “neighborhood” conception in physical development.
• Within the conformity to the engineering plans some customization options on house plans were designed in order to assure a true ownership and to support the motivation of the families for participation.
• Site master plan was prepared in cooperation with the Municipality
• Beneficiary eligibility criteria were designed and tested through another household survey.
• The final decision on allocation of land and authorization to Municipality to sign a partnership agreement with IBC was taken in the city Council Meeting on 24 May 2002
Construction of Social & Administrative Center
• A center covering 200 m2 was designed to serve as an administrative and social center during the course of the project implementation and to serve as a community center following the completion of the project.
• The construction of the center started at the end of June 2002 and completed by the end of October 2002.
• In the beginning the center was used only for office requirements while leaving non-office activities dependant to the identification of the beneficiaries and the establishment of the participation program.
Beneficiary Identification & Organization of Participation Program
• The project and beneficiary eligibility criteria were announced in June 2002.
• Mukhtars (administrative head) of 20 neighborhoods of Duzce were invited for briefing. They were informed about the application criteria and the importance of their attention and knowledge about the individual applying for their document requests were emphasized.
• Brochures about the project and beneficiary identification procedure were distributed in the neighborhoods and posters were hung in public institutions, Mukhtars' offices, public buses and recreation facilities where the community would notice easily.
• Invitations were sent to all local organizations and NGO's informing them about the project and also to get them involved and especially monitor the beneficiary identification process.
• 1377 applications along with the necessary pre-announced documents was received between 17 June and 14 July 2002
• Beneficiary identification took more than 3 months and the final list of the beneficiaries were announced on 4 November 2002 . The details of beneficiary identification procedure are available in project's website.
• Beneficiary briefings were held at the beginning of November 2002. Beneficiaries were informed about the project, the role and responsibilities of the parties, the agreement that will be signed with the beneficiaries and the participation program components such as the steering committee and customization choices on house plans.
• At the end of the briefings an agreement was signed with each household and their customization choices were recorded. Beneficiaries also filled participation declaration forms indicating the household members whom would participate, their skills and abilities and their available days in a week to participate.
Housing Construction & Participation
• The first steering committee was established with 7 beneficiaries who nominated themselves as candidates during beneficiary briefings. Steering committee made its first meeting on 17 November 2002 with project personnel.
• The participation data collected from the forms filled during briefings were analyzed being the initial step to establish a participation program. The participants were categorized, together with the steering committee according to the skills and abilities as well as timing of the participation.
• In addition to the participation in construction works, 3 alternative participation types as concrete watering, night watchman and working in social and administrative center was developed in order to enable especially the participation of the elderly and the disabled.
• Identification was made on works that would require professional services and others that would be possibly managed by the participators. With the participation of Steering Committee, two contractors were found eligible and integration between manpower provided by the participators and the workers of the contractor were established.
• Designations in distribution of hot meal to the contractors' staff and the participants, nursery services to be given to the participant's children, book keeping in participation records, conditions of working within the social center as an alternative to the field were made. In cooperation with Steering Committee, the center was organized to comply with these requirements and the necessary material and equipment was purchased together with the steering committee.
• Steering committee organized the first monthly meeting of beneficiaries on 29 December 2003 in order to inform them about the decisions taken so far.
• The construction works started in January 2004 and 168 houses were constructed within 1 year. The families received their homes as grant with the condition of not selling or renting for a period of ten years.
• The necessary infrastructure such as water and sewage system of the site was established by the Municipality.
• Four elections have been made within one year to identify the steering committee wherein 15 different beneficiaries, 8 of them being females had been chosen for the steering committee by the families.
• In the beginning the steering committee gathered weekly with the project personnel. However in due time the members of the steering committee gathered the awareness of their responsibilities, the sense of ownership and started to use the center as their own office along with the project personnel. Consequently an environment for constant communication has been maintained.
• The steering committee held regular monthly meeting with the participation of all families also. During these meetings solutions to the existing problems such as troubles that were lived in participation program, complaints, revisions necessary for the program were produced in addition to the discussions about the construction ongoing works.
• 239 people in 168 households have contributed as labor and average participation of the households were 53 workdays.
• The total number of workdays of the beneficiaries were 8935,5, of which 7267,5 were the participation in construction works.
• 102 of 239 participators were women with 3528,5 workdays, of which 2223 days were in direct participation into construction works.
• By the completion of the project, BEYDER association was established by the beneficiaries to oversee the managerial and financial responsibilities of the residential needs to ensure sustainability of the Project.
During the period of 2004-2005 BEYDER Association has managed to raise funds and organized several courses of training in sewing, embroidery and literacy.
For additional information about this project please refer to;