Association la Voute Nubienne (AVN)

AVN's mission is to improve housing conditions through an appropriate architecture, as soon as possible, for as many people as possible. In sub-Saharan Africa, the struggle to obtain decent housing plunges millions of families into a vicious circle of poverty. AVN offers a solution to this problem, based on three integrated concepts: A Roof + A Skill + A Market AVN organises the training and support of local Nubian Vault (NV) builders and entrepreneurs to promote this solution on a large-scale, with a view to developing a self-sustaining market in NV construction. As a result, families can acquire affordable, sustainable, and decent housing, at the same time improving their economic cond...
May 21, 2014

Results of the 2013/2014 Season

NV Catholic church, Petit-Bale, Burkina Faso
NV Catholic church, Petit-Bale, Burkina Faso

The NV program in Burkina Faso is growing very successfully – in fact, during the last construction season, the growth rate, in terms of numbers of NV buildings constructed, has been 13% over target: 100 NV buildings completed, with a further 45 under construction. The completed buildings include 35 NV houses for homeless families who were victims of flooding in the Nebba region (financed by the Selavip Foundation), and 3 onion storage barns. Progress has also been made with identifying sources of micro-fiance for impoverished familes, with 12 contracts having been conluded, for 6 completed houses, and 6 more under construction. Much of this progress can be attributed to the fact that AVN now has 21 local staff working to promote the program, with 4 regional offices in the country in addition to the HQ in Boromo. An interesting and encouraging recent development has been that conventional masons, used to building houses with concrete blocks and corrugated iron roofs, have asked to be trained in the NV technique, and have now incorporated the concept into their ongoing work.

In Mali, the program's growth rate has been 20% this season, with 83 NV buildings completed, and 3 under construction. There are now 11 AVN local staff in Mali, in Segou and the two regional centers, Koutiala and Dioilia; plans are afoot to open three more regional centers, the first of which will probably be in San.

In Senegal, the latest development is the construction of the very first NV motorway rest area , including a mosque, on a new section of motorway outside Dakar – built by a team of NV masons from Burkina Faso, who are at the same time training local Senegalese apprentices on-site. This has been a joint neterprise between AVN and Eiffage-Senegal (Eiffage is the present-day incarnation of the company that built the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty!).

After 14 years, the AVN Program is now having a significant impact on housing in the Sahel, with many new partners and sponsors being signed up, and with plans to extend our work to two more countries - Benin and Ghana - next season. As always, we welcome your support to help in the opening of our prgram in these two new countries.  

 

 

 

NV masons testing a vault by jumping!
NV masons testing a vault by jumping!
AVN regional team, Burkina Faso
AVN regional team, Burkina Faso

Links:

Apr 2, 2014

More support for scaling up of our Mali Program

NV house near Segou
NV house near Segou

To help in the scaling up of our programme in Mali, three new staff have recently been appointed:
- a Finance Officer, Alex Dembele,
- two more rural extension agents: Kamon Couloibaly in Dioila, and Mohamed Keita, in Koutiala.
This brings our support team in Mali up to 9 staff, all locally appointed, distributed amongst our main office in Segou, and our two current regional offices in Dioila and Koutiala; two more rgional offices are in the planning stage.

The results of the current season continue to be fruitful, with 17 new projects completed, 12 in progress, and orders for 42 new buildings in the pipeline - all the work of independent NV masons trained through our Program. This is quite an achievement, given the political turbulence in the country during the last year or so. Several of the completed buildings this year have been the result of direct contacts between the clients and NV masons - for example, the family house near Segou shown in the photos for this report.

We continue in our efforts to raise funding to help the development of a desperately needed sustainable housing program in Mali - a need that has become an even greater priority given the refugee situation in the country following the disturbances in the north. For example, AVN had a stand at the DIHAD (Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development) conference in Dubai in March, attended by Thomas Granier, AVN CEO, to help raise funding from Arab and Muslim philanthropists, in part for our work in Mali.

However, such attempts to obtain international aid funding will take time to bear fruit - in the meantime, any help you can provide, and continue to provide, will always be essential for the ongoing success of our program.

Alex Dembele
Alex Dembele
Kamon Coulibaly
Kamon Coulibaly
Mohamed Keita
Mohamed Keita
Thomas Granier at DIHAD, Dubai
Thomas Granier at DIHAD, Dubai

Links:

Feb 12, 2014

Program Update

NV masons team, Burkina Faso
NV masons team, Burkina Faso

The scaling up of AVN's program in West Africa is now becoming a reality:

- there are now 10 regional AVN offices, including 5 in Burkina Faso (Boromo, Dedougou, Koubri, Bama, Yako), 3 in Mali (Segou, Dioila, Koutiala), and 2 in Senegal (Podor, Thies), with 30 local salaried staff in total (including 6 women), and 84 village 'champions' spreading the word around the regional offices,

- during the 2012/13 season, 219 NV masons and apprentices took part in 'top up' training workshops organised by our local teams in Boromo, Segou, and Podor,

- new programs are in the planning stage in Benin and northern Ghana,

- the average annual growth rate of the overall program, in terms of number of vaults built, is 31%

- in the last construction season, 22% of the NV housing market was completely autonomous, with clients contacting NV masons directly.

Since the AVN program opened in 2000, 916 NV buildings (comprising nearly 1,942 standard vaults) have been constructed by 270 experienced NV masons in 404 different localities in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal. There are now 300 apprentices in training. And we estimate that around 2,600 trees have been saved, and 22,500 corrugated iron roofing sheets economised, as a result of the AVN program's alternative use of mud brick vault construction. Overall, some 14,000 people now enjoy the benefits of NV homes and community buildings.

The two main challenges of the 2012/13 season have been the conflicts in Mali, which have meant that our work has been limited to the south of the country, and the numbers of young men in Burkina Faso who have left their villages to explore for gold, reducing the pool of potential NV apprentices.

Many thanks once again for your interest in our work, and your support of our Program in West Africa, helping hundreds of impoverished families to not only obtain decent housing, but also improve their economic conditions.

 

Village women living in NV houses
Village women living in NV houses
Local AVN
Local AVN 'champions', Mali
AVN Boromo team planning session
AVN Boromo team planning session
A typical NV village house
A typical NV village house
NV building site
NV building site

Links:

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