TECHO Works to Empower Latin Americans Who Live On Less Than $2.50 a Day

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Extreme poverty is defined in Latin America as having less than $2.50 a day to live on. 26 percent of the region’s people had no access to basic sanitation in 2011. Many experts believe that current trends show it won’t be until 2052 that the average Latin American has the standard of living that rich-world inhabitants were enjoying in 2000.  Many people born into poverty in Latin America never escape their poverty status; these are the ‘chronically poor’, who may have fallen into the cracks of the social assistance system and have been left behind. The prospects of escaping poverty in the near future are weak.

These chronically poor people tend to be concentrated in remote areas or on the peripheries of the big cities. As a group, they started off in worse shape than those who subsequently escaped poverty; they are less likely to have basic services, such as clean water and sewerage. Their children are more likely to drop out of school. In other words, these people are poor not just in income, but also in housing and assets.

For some people, knowing that 165 million people in Latin America are living below the poverty line inspires them to make a difference. A not-for-profit organisation, TECHO (which means ‘roof’ in Spanish), believes in a poverty-free society. It is working to solve the poverty in slums throughout Latin America by helping volunteers and residents to work together by identifying the needs of communities, whether it’s the need for stable housing or a new road. Once those actions have been agreed upon in the local area, TECHO runs community development programs to help residents understand the process for accessing resources and advocating for better solutions with local leaders.

Founded in 1997 in Cuba, TECHO has expanded to 19 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, with offices in the U.S. and the U.K. Each year, the organisation enables more than 80,000 youth volunteers to work in close to 700 communities; within these areas, residents and TECHO volunteers have built more than 100,000 transitional houses and 5,885 permanent housing solutions. In addition to housing, TECHO has helped communities gain access to critical resources like plumbing and clean water.

Overall, in this region, there has been a dramatic surge in social programs in the past decade, yet they are often uncoordinated, which limits their impact. This is why TECHO is different; its coordinated approach is clear, with specific and measurable objectives. Plus its partnership with NetSuite OneWorld has enabled the organisation to easily transact and report in multiple currencies, including the Euro and those of Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Colombia, Guatemala and the U.S. This empowers TECHO to channel into its mission to alleviate poverty and importantly, its incentives go beyond goodwill; it is about helping to build, train and empower communities for long-term sustainable futures.

Photo Credit: TECHO