Paraguay is a country located in the heart of South America, surrounded by three countries: Argentina to the South West, Bolivia to the North and Brazil towards the East. Its territory is subdivided into 17 departments. Its capital city is Asunción. It is the fifth smallest and fourth least populous country in South America, with a total population of 8 million.
About 95% of Paraguayans are of mixed ancestry (Spanish and indigenous) and the remaining 5% are descendants of European immigrants. Paraguay is a bilingual country, where Spanish and Guaraní are spoken but the predominant language is Jopara, which is a fusion of Spanish and Guarani.
Its economy is essentially dependent on agriculture (the world’s fourth largest exporter of soybeans and oilseeds) and cattle (the sixth largest exporter in the world). With exports reaching the entire world, its economy has grown steadily over the last 10 years. This growth came with an unfair reality: 10% of the population owns nearly 90% of agricultural land, a situation which results in a marked social inequality and a notorious lack of opportunities for the rest of the population.
Despite all the growth of recent years, Paraguay is ranked among the poorest countries in the Americas, with more than 20% of its population below the poverty line. Lack of access to housing and public services such as health, education and food reflects this extreme poverty. Faced with this situation, TECHO Paraguay is mobilized to work with people living in informal settlements, where inequality and violation of rights is at its maximum. Their action is focused on community development, such as the construction of emergency housing. TECHO works with families in precarious situations on the construction of habitation units to respond to this urgent situation. This work is accompanied by a social approach that involves residents and young university volunteers in the process of building their community, encouraging participation, organization, identity and communication with other institutions to defend and claim their rights.
In this context, ARCHsharing offers, in partnership with the humanitarian association TECHO Paraguay, the construction of a prototype emergency housing. The aim is to offer residents a building that responds to the emergency situation while guaranteeing their dignity and their right to a suitable home. This housing unit will have to adapt to different uses through ingenious and relevant architectural devices. Simplicity and efficiency should be the watchword, housing should be built in just a few days, with an inexperienced workforce. Particular attention should be paid to its modularity, its ability to expand according to the means, needs and possibilities. The proposals will have to take into account the particular context of Paraguay while keeping some freedom in the design of the building.
The laureate will have the chance to build his/her project with the humanitarian association TECHO Paraguay.