Source: Habitat for Humanity International
Reuters, UK
May 10 2006

BUDAPEST, Hungary (May 10) ? Habitat for Humanity Kyrgyzstan?s
innovative Cane Reed project is one of the thirty winners at
the prestigious World Bank Development Marketplace competition
in Washington DC. The winners were announced Tuesday and Nurlan
Moldosherip and Natalie Grant of Habitat for Humanity received the
award from World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.

Habitat had two programs at ?Innovations in Water, Sanitation and
Energy Services for Poor People? this week at the World Bank HQs in
Washington, D.C. Habitat is among 118 finalists, chosen from 2,500
applicants from 55 countries worldwide.

Habitat qualified for Armenia?s ?Harnessing the Sun: Energy for the
Armenian Poor?; and for Kyrgyzstan?s ?Cane Reed: 19th Century Idea,
21st Century Solution?. Habitat Kyrgyzstan will now receive US$116,389
from the World Bank to further fund the project.

?To place in this prestigious competition is quite an achievement for
these local initiatives, and for Kyrgzstan to win is fantastic. The
Armenian and Kyrgyz leadership and innovation of these sustainable,
innovative projects can only enhance our mission to provide simple,
decent, affordable homes for families in need,? said Don Haszczyn,
Area Vice President for Habitat for Humanity?s Europe and Central
Asia Regional Office.

In Kyrgyzstan, where 70% of the population lives in poverty,
innovative solutions to poverty housing are needed, so Habitat has
combed the past, and harnessed the cane reed and clay technology used
in the 19th century but forgotten in the 20th. These environmentally
friendly materials keep house costs down 40%, and also serve as better
insulators against harsh Kyrgyz winters. Habitat has coupled this
technology with an underfloor heating system, which keeps heating
costs down further, saving a family $60 per month in energy costs:
that equates to 490 loaves of bread, or 20 kilos of meat, or 160
liters of milk.

In Armenia, where 45% of the population lives in poverty, oftentimes,
unhealthy and dangerous forms of water heating are used, which can
lead to illness, indoor pollution and illness, accidents and fire. To
address these issues, Habitat for Humanity has harnessed the power
of Armenia?s average of 300 sunny days per year, and teamed up with
a local company to install solar panels for water heating. There is
potential to scale this project to 10,000 homes. Solar energy saves
a family approximately $252 per year, which could buy: 740 loaves of
bread, 222 kilos of tomatoes, or 55.5 kilos of meat.

Since being established in 1999, Habitat for Humanity Kyrgyzstan
has dedicated more than 130 homes for families in need. Habitat for
Humanity Armenia has housed more than 1,000 people in need since 2000.

[ Any views expressed in this article are those of the writer and
not of Reuters. ]