I have just received the results of the 2014/15 season from the AVN office in Mali. Despite the difficult political and economic situation in the country, the AVN-Mali team has achieved some great results.
A 28% growth rate in construction
119 new NV buildings have been constructed, predominantly for clients in rural areas and small urban centres: farmers, tradespeople, local government employees. These buildings are mainly small family houses, but also include barns, hen-houses, and AVN's new regional office in Koutiala (see photos). All this represents a very satisfactory 28% growth rate over the 2013/14 season's results. This brings the cumulative total since our programme started in Mali in 2007 to 436 buildings, for over 5,000 beneficiaries.
A 38% growth rate in training
11 new C4 (foremen) and C5 (entrepreneur) masons have been trained, and 22 apprentices have progressed to the C3 (artisan) level. This brings the cumulative total of NV masons, artisans, and entrepreneurs since the start of the program to 120.
Participation in AVN's training workshops and congresses, held at the national ofice in Segou, has been excellent: 80 NV masons have benefitted from our training modules, including 50 apprentices and 20 masons from the 'modern' construction sector (concrete block walls and corrugated irion roofing), who may well convert to the NV concept!
The new regional office in Koutiala falls within the scope of our R$D program on “Maintenance-free urban NV buildings in Mali”, co-financed by the French Air Liquide foundation. The 9 NV masons working on this site have been trained in the use of cement renders for the external walls, reinforced concrete parapets, and tar coatings on the roofs.
Involvement of a local construction company
The Karim Dembele construction firm in Koutiala is working with AVN on the creation of an artisanal zone of 14 NV's in Koutiala, with financial help from the GERES Association (http://www.geres.eu/en/) . This is a sure sign of the increasing interest being shown in the NV technique by the existing construction sector in Mali.
As always, we are grateful for your continuing interest in our work in Mali, and will continue to keep you up to date on how your support is helping to provide affordable housing in Mali, one of the poorest countries in the world.
AVN at COP20, Lima, December 2014
AVN was invited to attend the the 20th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP20) to the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change), Lima, Peru, Dec 1-12, and was awarded the prestigious Momentum for Change Prize
The Prize was awarded to 12 innovative projects concerned with attenuation of, and adaptation to the effects of climate change. These are distinguished as "Lighthouse Activities", which have developed economic, social, and environmental solutions to the problem. AVN's work has been recognised as of major importance in the Urban poor category for its success in disseminating the NV concept:
the relevance of the NV concept for resolving the urban housing problem
an effective dissemination strategy which has resulted in the emergence and growth of a NV construction market based on trained NV artisans (the offer) and local clienteles (the demand)
the replicability of this strategy conceptually, geographically, and through effective partnerships in the field
the autonomy and durability of the NV markets leading to an endogenous, home-grown solution to the housing problem.
The prize was received by Thomas Granier, CEO of AVN, and Cecilia Rinaudo, our Development Director (click here to watch a YouTube video of the ceremony)
AVN was recognised by the UNFCC meeting in Linma for the contribution its Program has made to adapation to and mitigation of the effects of man-made climate change. In effect, since the start of the Program in 2000, NV construction means that, in Mali, Senegal, and Burkina Faso:- over 4,830 tonnes of CO2-equivalent have been saved, compared to likely alternative construction methods- over 3,200 trees saved, that would have been needed for tradtional roofing - some 28,000 corrugated iron roofing sheets have not been used, making major environmental savings.
If you care about the future of the planet in the face of the challenges created by global warming and climate change, take action and please support our work...every little helps.
Mathieu Hardy, a young architect specialising in earth construction, has been working with AVN from the end of 2008. Much of his time has been spent in Mali, helping kickstart and develop our programme there. Now that AVN-Mali is fully established with a HQ team in Segou, and three regional offices, all staffed by Malians, his role has become that of a part-time adviser to AVN, helping in particular to develop training materials based on our accumulated experience.
You can see here a selection of great photos that Mathieu has taken of three Nubian Vault village houses in Mali. They demonstrate the simplicity and beauty of the NV concept and the creativity of the masons building them - without any help from architects' plans, computers, or fancy surveyors' equipment! It has truly become a popular vernacular style...
A key element in AVN's aim to create a sustainable market in NV construction for the benefit of the trained NV masons and their rural clients is the DPPV strategy – the Deployment of the Program from a Pilot Village. Over a period of 4-5 years, the DPPV strategy should result in the emergence of an autonomous, self-sustaining market for NV hosuing, and AVN support can be transferred to new zones.
We now have confirmation that the DPPV strategy really works! The maps in the attached PDF file show graphically, from 2008 to 2015, the growth of the NV program in an area of 50 km2 around the village of Dendjola. During this 5 year period, from a starting point of zero, 24 independent NV mason entrepreneurs have been trained, and over 70 NV buildings constructed, ranging from small single-vault houses to larger buildings such as mosques and community centers. AVN has now withdrawn support from this zone, as a self-sustaining market in NV housing has developed. The extension agents can now concentrate on opening new zones, with the help of some of the master masons trained in Dendjola, who, in their turn, will recruit and train new apprentices elsewhere.
Overall, the growth rate of the AVN program in Mali has been 20% this season, with 83 NV buildings completed, and 3 under construction. There are now 11 AVN local staff – mainly extension agents promoting the NV concept in new areas - 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.
Your help – especially the generous donation of £4,000 from Global Giving / Just Giving donors in the UK in 2011 - has played a key role in the Dendjola success story and in the growth of our national program: once more, many thanks from our team in Mali for your ontinuing generosity....
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.
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