2008 marks the tenth anniversary of our first attempt to construct a prototype VN building in Burkina Faso. Ten years on, the AVN 'Earth roofs in the Sahel' Program continues to go from strength to strength.
A third Congress of VN masons was held in Boromo, Burkina Faso last month (June); this three-day meeting was a chance to share experiences amongst the community of VN builders, to summarise progress made since the start of the Program, and to update our cumulative results. In brief, to date:
- 110 VN masons have been trained, most of whom are setting themselves up as independent entrepreneurs,
- 170 apprentices are undergoing training,
- 3000 man-months of salaries have been generated,
- we estimate around 4,500 direct beneficiaries of the Program,
- 550 vaults have been built, representing a 70% year on year increase in the number of constructions
- the expansion of the Program to neighbouring countries (Mali, Togo, Senegal, Guinea, and Ivory Coast) continues.
The Program is also making its own small, but locally significant, contribution to reduction of carbon emissions: we
estimate that use of earth bricks and earth mortar (instead of cement, and metal roofing sheets) has economised the equivalent of 72 tons of carbon dioxide emissions in the last ten years.
Our first major school-building project in Mali (region of Kati), in collaboration with the architect Emilio Caravatti and the NGO Africabougou, has now been completed, and you can see three photos of this beautiful building below. This will likely become a model for a major VN school-building program.
Your contributions can help scale up this exciting program through acceleration of our apprentice training schemes, the underwriting of new partnerships with NGO's working in the Sahel, and the opening up of new action zones in the six
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 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 to find out more, to sign up to our Newsletter, 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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