The new AVN team in Mali moved into its dedicated office space in the Cultural Centre in Pelengana, Segou, on September 1st. The, very impressive, cultural centre (see photos) was built by a team of VN masons last year, and is well situated close to the Mairie in Pelengana.
The AVN team at present consists of Ismaila Diallo (Assistant Director), Souleymane Koné (Extension Agent), assisted by Francis Tiene, on secondment from the AVN team in Boromo, Burkina Faso., and Mathieu Hardy, architect and acting Director. A second extension agent will be recruited by the end of the year.
The team is now working on the setting up of the second three-year phase of the AVN program in Mali, with a major focus on the region around Segou. This phase kicked off with a very successful congress of the VN masons from Mali, and a meeting of the local 'champions' of the existing pilot village deployment programs, both held in the second fortnight of October in Pelengana.
The first phase (Sept 2008 - August 2011) of the unrolling of AVN’s Program in Mali, has now ended. It is the first regional program of its kind to be implemented outside Burkina Faso, and has included: a pilot test of the AVN pump-priming strategy (the Dendjola Pilot Village Deployment Program), helping to define local expectations and potential the setting up of AVN-Mali and the recruitment and training of an initial local management team the training of the first generation of NV masons in Mali (35 so far) the construction of 110 NV buildings (= 325 vaults, totaling 2,500 linear meters) the setting up of the first AVN ’franchise’ operation in Mali, with the NGO Terre et humanisme in Tacharane.
The full Annual Report from AVN-Mali (2010-11) is attached to this report. It is in French, but contains many photos.
The photo says it all ... the children of Siaka Djiré (’champion’ of the Dendjola Program) have built an amazing Nubian Vault chicken-house entirely of their own accord (see photo). They must have spend a lot of time observing the AVN masons at work in the village, and decided to go ahead with a project of their own. What greater proof could there be that the NV technique has been incorporated into the local culture? And maybe these kids will form the next generation of NV masons in a few years’ time?
The second phase of the AVN-Mali Program will start in September 2011, and will involve the opening of new franchises, the development of the regional market in NV housing, and the evaluation of the final two years of the Dendjola Program.
Please help with your donations to ensure the ongoing success of the program.
The third season of construction in our Pilot Village Deployment Program (PVDP) around Dendjola is just coming to an end, with excellent results:
- 9 buildings completed, composed in total of 19 vaults (thus, an average of 2 vaults per building),
- a total length of vaults, if put end-to-end, of 111 meters
- 5 new apprentices in training.
The driving forces behind this progress have been the local 'champion' Siaka Djiré, who has also played a major role in spreading the word about the AVN program to neighboring villages, and the NV master-mason Ibrahim Mien, who has himself supervised all 9 building sites and acted as the main channel of communication with the clients. Another important factor in the growth of the program has been the catalytic effect of building village mosques using the NV technique: everyone helps in providing manual labor for these community buildings, and they act as powerful demonstration sites for the quality and durability of the NV technique, prompting villagers to ask for houses to be built in the same way.
The three photos show examples of the constructions from this 2010/11 season.
Financial support for part of this season's program has come from the Dutch Triodos Foundation, and from the BICIM Bank in Mali (part of the BNP Paribas Group), but AVN is still looking for funding for the fourth year of the Dendjola PVDP, and for extension of the Program in Mali to neighboring regions. Any help you can provide will be much appreciated...
The PZDP (Pilot Zone Deployment Program) started three years ago in the little village of Dendjola, in partnership with local villagers, is proving to be a great success, with more houses and mosques built during the current construction season. The program is now spreading to 22 other villages in the zone around Dendjola. The ’champion’ of this PVDP is the Imam of the Dendjola mosque, Siaka Djiré, and the AVN master mason in charge of the programme is Ibrahim Dien (see photo below of Ibrahim and his team of masons and apprentices inn Dendjola). Ibrahim has designed and overseen the construction of four village mosques - important centres and meeting places for the village communities (see photos below of mosques in Marmarila and Coucou villages, near Dendjola). In addition, a dozen houses have been built (= 33 vaults in total, for the mosques and houses, equivalent to 227 linear meters of vaults), 5 masons have been trained, and there are 14 villagers currently undertaking apprenticeships with AVN master masons. The success of this program over the last two years has confirmed our belief in the validity and replicability of the PZDP strategy, not only in the immediate locality of the villages involved, but also at a regional level: requests from other village centres (Oueta, Koutialia, Segou, and Macina) for similar programs are already in the pipeline (see photo below of a meeting in Oueta village, where an AVN mason is explaining the advantages of VN construction to a group of villagers). And the strategy was the key element in our successful bid for support from the World Bank, and in gaining financial sponsorship and support from the Dutch Triodos Foundation, and from the Malian Bank BICIM.
You can be sure that any help that you can provide through Global Giving to support the growth of our programs in Mali will be of great benefit to the village families involved, helping them to gain decent, comfortable, safe, and sustainable housing - as opposed to trying to raise their children in tin-roofed shacks.
The success of the first PVDP (Pilot Village Deployment Program) strategy in Dantiola (Dendjola) and surrounding villages has been recognised by the World Bank, who - as a result of our success in the 2009 Development Marketplace competition - have provided some matching funding for setting up similar programs in Burkina Faso and elsewhere in Mali. And some funding has been granted to us by the Dutch Triodos Foundation to back part of the costs of the third and fourth years of the Dantiola PVDP. Included with this report are more photos of some of the village houses and mosques built in the villages around Dantiola.
AVN's work in Mali only started a few years ago, but already 30 masons have ben trained in vault construction, and there are 49 apprentices in the current training program. In total, some 180 vaults have been built since AVN started working in Mali, not only for village houses, but also some schools, dispensaries, and community centres.
Plans are in hand for recruiting a local team to supervise recruitment and training of apprentices, with headquarters probably to be based in Segou, on the bank of the Niger river, a town with a location centrally placed with respect to current and planned AVN programs in the country. AVN-Mali is in the process of being officially registered as an NGO by the Government of Mali.
The needs for decent housing in Mali are colossal - encroachment of the Sahara desert and deforestation means that the bush timber used for building tradional flat roofs is increasingly scarce and unavailable. Poorer rural families cannot afford to purchase 'modern' roofing materials such as corrugated iron sheets and sawn timber beams - which, in any case, provide little or no protection from the extremes of heat and cold, and only last a few years before they need replacing. Although we have received some funding, as mentioned above, to support development of our work in Mali, it is a drop in the ocean (or a grain of sand in the desert), and we need to raise matching funding. So, any help you can provide will be much appreciated.
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