Sustainable Housing for Rural Families in Africa

May 15, 2012

Major international recognition for AVN Program & Updates from the field

AVN promotional meeting , Deguele village, Burkina
AVN promotional meeting , Deguele village, Burkina

International recognition

AVN's model of social entrepreneurship has recently been recognised by three major organisations:

- AVN is one of 18 semi-finalists (out of 122 submissions) for the Buckminster Fuller Challenge 2012; the review team who chose AVN as a semi-finalist said that they were : "... very impressed with the success this project has had creating large-scale, attractive, affordable, culturally and socially appropriate housing using only local skills and materials, and engendering a cascade of positive socio-economic and environmental impacts. This model definitely has the potential to be emulated widely in much of Africa and beyond."

- AVN is winner of a SEED Award: the SEED Initiative identifies and supports promising small scale social and environmental entrepreneurs, and provides them with know- how and networks, as an Award winner, AVN benefited from a SEED sponsored workshop in Burkina Faso, and a chance to network with other winners at a meeting in South Africa, in March  

- and, a crowning glory : AVN is winner of the Schwab Foundation 'Social Entrepreneur of the Year' Competition for Africa: Thomas Granier has just returned from the Award Ceremeny, held May 9-11 during the World Economic Forum for Africa in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.

Burkina Faso and Mali results this season

The construction season in the Sahel (the dry season) runs from September/ October to May / June. As of March 2012, the masons trained through our program have built, or are in the process of completing:

- 81 houses, predominantly for rural families  

- 4 community buildings (a church, a mosque, a library, and a health center)  

- 6 small hotel rooms and 1 restaurant

- 2 offices

In Burkina Faso, 42% of the constructions came about as a result of direct contacts between an independent NV builder and the client, without any intervention from AVN. This shows that an autonomous, self-sustaining market in NV construction is developing in the regions where NV masons are active. In Mali, this 'autonomization' is happening more slowly (14%), as our program was only launched there three years ago.

New programs in Senegal and Benin

Thomas Granier, CEO of AVN, was recently in Senegal for the launch of a new program in the region of Saint Louis, with sponsorship and field support from the French- Senegalese NGO Le Partenariat, based in Saint Louis. Two extension agents from Le Partenariat – have now completed their induction and training period with AVN in Burkina Faso, and have started on the launch and 'pump-priming' of the AVN program in the District of Podor (home town of the famous musician Baaba Maal). An agreement is about to be signed with the Eiffage Foundation to provide further financial support for this program.

A pilot village project was opened this season in northern Benin, with the German NGO Dassari Benefiz as a franchised partner, with their local project managers trained by AVN.

Recent Sponsors and Investors in Earth Roofs for the Sahel

Confidence continues to be shown in our work; during the last six months, new financial support and sponsorship has come from:

- the Artelia Foundation, and the Abbé Pierre Foundation for our work in Burkina Faso  

- the Air Liquide Foundation, and the Lemarchand Foundation for our program in Mali  

- the Servir Foundation for a pilot village project in Koubri, Burkina Faso.


A VN village classroom, Burkina Faso
A VN village classroom, Burkina Faso
A VN village mosque, Mali
A VN village mosque, Mali



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Project Leader

Tony Kaye

Milton Keynes, n/a United Kingdom

Where is this project located?

Map of Sustainable Housing for Rural Families in Africa