UPZ 89, located in the eastern hills of the city of Bogotá, is a beautiful territory, surrounded by a wealth of natural resources. It has had unregulated urban growth since its inception, which is still an obstacle to the legalization of the territory. Because of this, the current challenge of the territory has two faces. On the one hand it´s overcoming the housing deficit, and on the other hand it´s the improvement of precarious housing. Next to these material needs there is also a human and spiritual need. With the aim of improving the dignity of families through more dignified housing, Oasis wants - above all - to bring people together to favor bonds of friendship and trust in the community.
Construction of prefabricated houses
Since 2013, Oasis participates in the construction of new prefabricated houses, together with the Catalina Muñoz Foundation. By the end of 2019, 76 prefabricated houses have been built in the territory. These houses are built thanks to a sponsor who finances the house and the volunteers who assemble it. The action of Oasis in this process is on multiple fronts:
Financial: sponsor a family, propose a microloan (microcredits).
Technical: support families to achieve or better parts of the house. Like the foundation, an expansion and the improvement with ecological, economical and innovative products.
Human: accompany families throughout the whole process; before, during and after the construction day.
The goal is for the family to manage their own project, discover their capacities for action, initiative, and liaison with others.
Since 2015, Oasis has developed a microcredit program as another tool to support the families of the territory to improve their quality of life. This program specifically manages a community fund that is born from an initial donation of money to invest in the project and that has a circular cycle. This means that the related families sign a trust agreement in which they commit to return the money to the fund through a monthly solidarity contribution. Oasis buys the materials they need for their house, which are delivered to the worksite. The money that returns from the family will be given again to another family, which creates a virtuous circle. In this way, this program not only has a financial objective (to lend loans with an interest rate of 1%) but also a pedagogical one (to strengthen community solidarity and the bond of trust we have with the families). We currently have 2 methods, one of which is based on the adaptation of land to build a prefabricated house and the other is for housing improvements.
In partnership with a local company, Oasis started an ecological insulation project called “cellulose cotton” (made with scraps of unused cloth and a glue called cellulose) in 2017. It is a thermal product, which - when applied on surfaces in cold weather - raises the temperature of the room up to 10%. It is an excellent insulation product for the interior of the house. It has different interesting features, such as that it is a 100% natural, biodegradable product, that does not contain any toxic, volatile, flammable, combustible, or chemical substance. It is odorless and all of its components are natural. It also forms a sound insulator; its texture absorbs most of the waves and reduces the sound. This product responds to the realities and needs of the territory as a powerful thermal insulation, a product that is easily placed without specific competencies needed by the person placing it. It exists in different colors and adapts to different types of walls.
Solar water heater
Through an engineering company Oasis acquired at a low cost a solar water heater with a capacity to store 150 liters. This reduces the use of electric showers in homes and allows hot water all the time at a low cost .
In 2019 Oasis started a tool called “Diagnosis” to get to know the needs of its beneficiaries more thorough. The idea is to visit 63 families of the prefabricated houses that were built from 2015 to 2019. The visit will be carried out with a very technical questionnaire and a social one. Through these two tools Oasis will inquire the record of the current state of the houses, the improvements, the extensions, all the changes and novelties that they have had during the past years and - above all - the needs of the families. We hope to do all of the visits during 2020.
Urban and architectural research
In alliance with the Department of Architecture of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá, Oasis manages to do different urban and architectural studies in the territory every quarter, for example: social cartography, participatory workshops and surveys with families. This project has 4 main objectives:
Articulate social action and academic reflection, and also bring the proposals we make to the community.
Value the realities of the community and the collective memory of the neighborhood.
Create situations of encounter between favored young people and a disadvantaged territory.
Make known the territory of San Luis and its problems with a strategic and prestigious institutional alliance.
Project manager: Carolina Fagua