Building a better future for families

6 July 2015

Over eight million families live in precarious conditions in Argentina, where most private development focuses on the wealthy. As a result, lower-income families are left with limited housing options. In Jujuy, Argentina, LafargeHolcim’s Shelter-for-Livelihood (S4L) project has built houses to support a community and enable people to reclaim control of their lives.



  • Provide sustainable housing to low-income communities
  • Contribute to reducing the housing deficit in Argentina
  • Drive an inclusive business strategy to establish and maintain a sustainable community


A full socio-economic assessment of each family was conducted at the onset of the project to estimate their saving and repayment capacity as well as their need for further income.

Partners were engaged from the start; they include local government, community associations, NGOs, and international micro-credit financing institutions.

The plan is to build 150 houses for as many families, providing approximately 750 people with both a house and a sustainable habitat where all inhabitants are expected to participate in all phases of the project, from design to production and construction of houses and barrio (which means neighborhood in Spanish) community facilities. The participants are trained for the self-construction phases, while a pool of masons, chosen from within the participants and further trained, are paid a proper wage to complement the construction process. Participants, clustered in groups of 15 families, produce and construct in mutual aid; once the first 15 houses are initiated, the next group will step in, and so on until the S4L barrio is built.

To ensure collaboration and ownership, a six-member participatory advisory panel that is elected by and represents the participant families collaborates closely with the LafargeHolcim S4L team, supported by a group of promoters who communicate directly with the families. Together, they proposed a first design of their barrio, which was then enhanced to integrate sustainability aspects (e.g. local sourcing of materials, use of solar energy, and bio-climatic aspects), and establish the basic rules that will govern life in the neighborhood.


As of today, 4 microenterprises have been established, 2 production sites constructed, and 7 marketing channels for their products developed, all with the aim of supporting sustainable income generation of selected families.

S4L has the potential to be extended, provided certain success factors are attained: political support at municipal and provincial levels, availability of land (either participants’ own or that provided by local authorities), a feasible financing model, and a strong social strategy to guarantee livelihoods and repayment capacities. 

For lower-income communities, S4L is about gaining access to housing solutions that are environmentally friendly, financially accessible, culturally acceptable, and capable of contributing to the creation of self-sustaining businesses.