The mid-season results for our program in Mali are good, in part helped by the generous anonymous donations (over £4,000 in total) that came from supporters in the UK via a partnership between Global Giving UK, and JustGiving: a big THANK YOU to you all!
This funding has helped to develop our program in Mali despite the difficult times of the last few months, with the insurgency in the north of the country, the arrival of troops from France and neighbouring countries, and the accompanying uncertainties which have led to the temporary suspension of the activities of many foreign NGO's. However, despite these problems, AVN-Mali is developing partnership arrangements with two major NGO's : ADER, a regional economic development organisation promoting decent, sustainable, housing (see link below to their website), and AARAO. The attached photos show a building financed by AARAO for literacy classes in the village of Kewoloya, in the west of mali, near Kayes. The attractive internal rendering and finshes are shown being carried out by a group of women from the village.
Our work with rural communities in the south of Mali has not been affected by the Islamist insurgency in the north; the rains were good this season, leading to a good harvest, and some disposable income for rural families. 22 new NV buildings are either completed or under construction at the moment (mid-February): 17 houses, 3 barns, 1 shop, and 1 school classroom. Further good news is that only one of these buildings is for a client found by AVN – the rest are a result, either of direct contacts between NV masons and clients, or found through the intermediary of local 'champions' (village elders, Imams etc).
In total, there are now 44 active masons in Mali trained through our program, and 96 apprentices in training on NV building sites. The support we have recently received via Global Giving / JustGiving in the UK has enabled us to recruit a local finance / admin officer to our team in Segou, and to start a search for a second regional office to expand our program to other parts of the country.
Please continue to support our work in this, one of the poorest countries in Africa, going through especially difficult times at the moment...
With many thanks from our team in Segou, Mali (see link below)
The results of the 2011-12 construction season are good:
16 new NV masons have been trained, bringing the total number of Malian NV masons to 51
600 linear metres* of new vaults were built, for 42 rural / village clients, bringing the total since the start of AVN's work in Mali to 3.1 km of vaults if laid end-to-end!
these figures represent an annual growth rate of 23% in vaults built (this rate would have been higher were it not for the current political troubles in the country, which have meant that no further work could be done by NV masons in the Gao region, for example)
NV buildings now exist in 94 different localities (villages, hamlets, semi-urban areas) in Mali; 1n 2011-12, 66 localities were reached, so this represents a major geographic expansion during the last year.
* For record-keeping purposes, we now use a linear metre of vault as our standard unit of measure, as vaults can vary in length, and a house or other building can be composed of anything from 1 to 4 or 5 vaults: in village communities, in this case, 600 metres is the equivalent of around 40 two-vault houses or other buildings such as mosques or community centers.
The 2012-13 season has got off to a good start with a recent workshop in our new headquarters in Segou, for familiarising local 'champions' with the AVN strategy (see photos): these are people who are respected and influential in their communities. Back in their villages, they are now helping promote the benefits of NV housing amongst their local communities.
As always, we are grateful for any support you are able to provide to help in the continuing expansion of the AVN Program in Mali, bringing decent and affordable housing to the poorest villages, and training and work for the steadily increasing number of NV masons.
The serious problems of insurrection and Islamist militancy affecting the north of Mali has regrettably led to the interruption of our joint pilot village project with the NGO UAVES in Tacharane. However, the main thrust of the AVN program is in the south of the country, and is carrying on regardless.
Our national office in Segou is now established, and the foundations are being laid for regional annexes in Koutiala and Dioila, each about 150 km distant, forming a regional triangle within which our efforts can be focused.
The 2011/12 construction season was 'topped and tailed' by two very successful congresses of NV masons and lcoal village 'champions', held in our HQ in Segou, respectively in October and June.
The overall results for the 2011/12 season are as follows:
growth rate of the program this season in terms of linear metres of vaults built: 23%
number of clients for whom NV constructions were built : 42
16 new NV masons trained
100% focus on rural, village, communities
If all the VN buildings constructed since the start of our program in Mali were put end-to-end, they would cover a distance of 3.1 km!
Attached are some photos of NV masons and examples of their work this last season.
Many thanks once again for you support for our work in Mali
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.
Support for our program in Mali
The Air Liquide Foundation, and the Lemarchand Foundation, both based in France, have committed support and funding for the developpment of four program in Mali in 2012 / 13.
Support from French foundations for our Program in Mali
I have a couple of bits of good news about our work in Mali: the Lemarchand Foundation and la Fondation pour la Nature et l’Homme, have agreed to support our pilot programs in the regions of Segou and Koutiala
Madame De Oliveira of the Fondation pour la Nature et l’Homme has made a superb video about AVN's work, which you can check out via the link below. The sound track of this video is in French, but it's worth watching just to get an idea of the people, the scenery, the context, and the Nubian vault buildings that are pictured.
Examples of NV buildings in Mali
I'm attaching to this report photos of two community buildings constructed by NV masons, two examples of partnerships which are creating opportunities and hope for children in local communities:
- a college in Kobé, financed by the Italian NGO Africabougou, and using the technique of combining NV vaults with reinforced concrete pillars and beams to make large internal spaces
- an orphanage in Gao, a joint project between a local builder with masons trained by AVN, the Swiss NGO Aide a Gao, and the Provictimis Foundation,
New AVN website
We have been working on a complete re-make of our website, and the English version is now ready to be launched. You can see it here: http://new.lavoutenubienne.org/en . It is much more comprehensive than the old version, has more photos, documents, and videos, and is much easier to find your way around...so, please pay us a visit! Note that the French, Spanish, and Arabic versions are still under development.
Best wishes from all of us at AVN for 2012, and, once again, thank you for your support
President, Association la Voutge Nubienne
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