The Partners - HiLoTec

Development of a Sustainable Self-Construction System for
Developing Countries
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The Project Consortium


The University of Minho is currently among the most prestigious institutions of higher education in Portugal, and it has also gradually come to assert itself on the international scene. Founded in 1973, the University’s mission is focused on the creation, dissemination and application of knowledge, under the spirit of freedom of thought and plural critical judgments, through the promotion of higher education and the construction of a society paradigm based on humanistic principles, and having knowledge, creativity and innovation as cornerstones for growth, sustainable development, welfare and solidarity.


The ISISE – Institute for Sustainability and Innovation in Structural Engineering and the C-TAC – Centre of Territory Environment and Construction, are two research centers of the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Minho. These centers aim at promoting innovation and sustainability, with a close link to the construction sector industry. One common field of work is the study of sustainability of the built and natural environment, including sustainable housing. In the HiLoTec project, which resulted in the present self-construction manual, the goal was to combine knowledge and innovation as the key ingredients for wealth generation for developing countries.


Mota-Engil SGPS Group is engaged in a wide range of activities related to Engineering and Construction, the Environment and Services, Concessions of Transport Infrastructures and Mining. Mota-Engil’s commitment to quality and the established goals, its growing presence on the international scene, and the diversity of services guaranteed through the technical skill demonstrated on each project have enabled the Group to build and maintain a reputation for excellence in each market where it is working all over the world.


The purpose of the Portuguese Manuel António da Mota Foundation is to promote, develop and support initiatives with social nature in the fields of welfare and social responsibility, as well as initiatives of cultural nature in the fields of education, health, environment, organization and support of artistic activities. The Foundation acts in Portugal and in all countries where the Mota-Engil Group has stablished economic actions.  Furthermore, the foundation established the annual "Prize Manuel António da Mota", which is one of the most distinguish Portuguese prizes in the field of social responsibility. With the HiLoTec self-construction manual, the Foundation wishes to increase the interaction with developing countries, as well as with ONGs all around the world.


Other Project Partners


Habitat for Humanity is an international development charity that aims to break the cycle of poverty by eliminating poverty housing and homelessness. Habitat for Humanity has several housing solutions in Malawi including the Building in Stages programme and Home Improvement Loans. Home Improvement Loans assist families in improving their living conditions and health in an affordable way. As one loan is paid off, the families may select another home improvement and receive another loan. A typical Habitat for Humanity house in Malawi is made of kiln-fired clay bricks, glass windows, air vents for good ventilation, and iron sheet roofs. Foundations are made from large stones, brick, or cement.


The Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil – LNEC (National Laboratory for Civil Engineering) is a state owned research and development (R&D) institution founded in 1946. It works in the various domains of civil engineering, giving it a unique multidisciplinary perspective in this field. The main goals of the LNEC are to carry out innovative research and development and to contribute to the best practices in civil engineering. LNEC also plays a key role in advising the government in technical and scientific matters of civil engineering, as an unbiased and independent body.

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