The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the NAHB Research Center executed a cooperative agreement to develop and implement a series of educational workshops in six Caribbean and Central American nations. The goal of the workshops was to assist in the construction of disaster-resistant basic housing. The work called for a survey of current materials and methods used in residential construction in each nation and the preparation and review of materials for a one-day "train-the-trainer" workshop directed at local builders, self-builders, and residential construction managers. Some potential attendees, it was assumed, might work for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
During the summer and fall of 2001, the NAHB Research Center organized 11 local workshops for presentation by local experts. All written and presented materials were prepared in Spanish. An instructor's version and a student version of a training workshop manual were printed. Local instructor teams demonstrated residential construction mitigation techniques by using scale models of footing, wall, and roof sections of a "typical" local house. Local materials provided demonstration materials to illustrate local availability and effective use of construction products. Approximately 500 students attended the workshops.
To supplement the workshops, a general population awareness program included a Spanish-language video and general interest posters. Approximately 300 videos and 4,000 posters were disseminated. A website was created to allow further dissemination of workshop materials and to provide a technical support service for instructors and NGOs in the target countries.