Our 'Earth roofs in the Sahel' program continues its near exponential annual growth. Since the start of the program eight years ago, over 330 vaults have been built in 70 villages and districts in the Sahel. These are mainly two-vault village houses, but also larger community-use buildings, including a church and a mosque. 60 VN builders have been trained, many setting themselves up as independent entrepreneurs, and 100 apprentices are now involved in this winter's building season.
A three-day congress of VN builders was held in Boromo, Burkina Faso, Oct 26-30, which brought together all the VN builders in the country, as well as many apprentices. Plans were laid for construction and training during the 2007/08 season (building is carried out during the winter dry season between November and May), and experience and contacts were exchanged. During this season, some 200 new vaults will be built, and at least a further 40 VN builders will complete training, bringing the total up to 100. The program's expansion outside Burkina Faso continues. In neighboring Mali, 10 new building sites have been opened, 25 apprentices are being trained, and we hope to have 10 new VN builders there by the end of the season. And new building projects are starting up in Ivory Coast, Guinée, and Senegal.
Formal partnership agreements have been established with several NGO's operating in the Sahel, such as Africabougou-Italy and Intervida-Spain, who have been working with us in the construction of community use buildings (schools, health centers, literacy centers) in Mali and Burkina Faso.
Our builders are now contributing to new technical developments, including the construction of two-storey houses, and a technique combining the use of reinforced concrete pillars and beams with earth brick VN vaults, to create large open spaces for buildings such as churches and schools.
We need your contributions now to help scale up this exciting program through acceleration of our apprentice raining schemes, the underwriting of new partnerships with NGO's working in the Sahel, and the opening up of new action zones in the four countries where we now operate. Our pledge is that, in the next two decades, a flourishing self-sustaining market in sustainable, ecologically sound, healthy, earth vaulted homes will have developed with your help. And that, as a result, fewer and fewer poor families in the Sahel will have to resort to the expense and discomfort of living in unhealthy tin-roofed shacks.
Please visit our website at www.lavoutenubienne.org to find out more, and to see the latest photos and slide-shows of the houses, schools, churches, and health centers that your contributions can help to build.
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