Association la Voute Nubienne (AVN)

AVN's mission is to improve housing conditions through an appropriate architecture, as soon as possible, for as many people as possible. In sub-Saharan Africa, the struggle to obtain decent housing plunges millions of families into a vicious circle of poverty. AVN offers a solution to this problem, based on three integrated concepts: A Roof + A Skill + A Market AVN organises the training and support of local Nubian Vault (NV) builders and entrepreneurs to promote this solution on a large-scale, with a view to developing a self-sustaining market in NV construction. As a result, families can acquire affordable, sustainable, and decent housing, at the same time improving their economic ...
Sep 7, 2016

NV masons build refugee housing

Refugee family in front of their new house
Refugee family in front of their new house

NV masons build village for refugees in Mauritania

Teams of NV masons from Burkina Faso and Mali are building Nubian vault houses in Diakre, Mauritania for refugees fleeing persecution. Many refugee families – such as the family picturedpictured - who have been living under tents or corrugated iron roofing sheets in this camp now benefit from secure comfortable housing, sheltered from the searing heat, tempests of wind, and occasional heavy rainstorms.

This relief programme, financed by the Dubai Charity Association (DCA) involves the construction of 51 houses – 28 of which are now completed and occupied - and three community buildings. It is the result of a partnership between AVN-Senegal, the NGOs Banlieues du Monde Mauritanie and Le Partenariat (Senegal).

AVN buildings on CartoTerra

CartoTerra is an interactive online world atlas of earthern architecture, with images and brief details of a wide range of adobe earth buildings and relevant stakeholders. A representative selection of 50 or so NV buildings (out of the total of over 1500) in Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Benin, and Ghana are featured, as well as AVN's national offices (see Stakeholders). Enjoy exploring the site (see the link below) – it's easy to use, and clearly demonstrates AVN's predominance as a key player in promoting contemporary earth architecture in West Africa.

Thanks again

Once more, many thanks for your continuing interest in our programme to develop a market in decent affordable housing for as many people as possible, and especially for those families struggling to survive in impoverished rural communities, and those suffering persecution and civil disorder..

...and where they lived before
...and where they lived before
View of the refugee village
View of the refugee village
NV house under construction
NV house under construction
Another NV house, nearly completed
Another NV house, nearly completed
Community centre under construction
Community centre under construction

Links:

Aug 10, 2016

An update on progress of the AVN -Mali Programme

A NV mason in his own NV house, Kati
A NV mason in his own NV house, Kati

The last season has been a particularly successful one for AVN-Mali.

Growth of production and training

Compared to our other countries of action, the Malian NV market is the one which has grown the most this season:

- the number of construction sites increased by 28%, to a total of 436 in 226 different localities

- the Kickstart method in rural areas is particularly efficient and well-adapted to the Malian context; 98% of the season’s NV clients are rural farmers, AVN’s core target; in total, over 7,000 people in Mali have benefitted from the AVN Programme

- the number of trained masons grew by 26% to a total of 223, and the increasing commitment of traditional masons (those who build with earth/metal roofing sheets and/or cement/metal roofing sheets) means we can expect this remarkable growth to continue.

A regional deployment suported by numerous partners

The opening of the San region, chosen in collaboration with the Ségou AOPP (farmers' organisation), means that AVN is now present in four regions in Mali.

Hiring someone responsible for institutional advocacy (a French employee based in Bamako) in mid-season led to the implementation and strengthening of unequivocal advances in raising awareness vis-à-vis national institutional actors.

During this season, a plan to expand to three Cercles in the Kayes and Koulikoro regions was approved as part of the Natural Resources and Climate Change Management Project (PGRNCC), under the aegis of the Agency for Environment and Sustainable Development (AEDD) and funded by the World Bank. It is noteworthy that this is the first time in Mali that a project has been led by a national institutional actor.

This season the four-year project focused on preparing activities, in particular the expansion to the Banamba region and the hiring of a local team.

The support from the Malian Minister of Economy and Finances vis-à-vis the Islamic Development Bank (IDB)has led to funding being granted, which will be allocated next season to strengthening professional training in the Cercle of Koutiala as part of a multi-partner approach (inter-communities, companies, etc.).

The attached photos are just a few examples of the wide range of buildings constructed by NV masons in Mali.



A typical single-vault village house
A typical single-vault village house
An onion-drying barn
An onion-drying barn
Health centre, N
Health centre, N'golofola
Orphanage, Gao
Orphanage, Gao
Cultural centre, Segou
Cultural centre, Segou
May 31, 2016

AVN 15th Anniversary

Koutiala regional office, Mali
Koutiala regional office, Mali

AVN 15th Anniversary

AVN's Annual Report for the 2014 / 15 Season has just been published. As well as summarising the last season's achievements, it also lays out the results achieved by AVN and the teams of masons trained through our programme since the year 2000, when the Association was born. In brief:

- 5 countries and 13 regions of deployment in West Africa, employing 51 staff

- 380 qualified NV masons, and 300 apprentices in training

- 1,500 completed construction sites in 700 different localities, totally 68,000 m2 of NV buildings

- 20,000 end-user beneficiaries

- 55,000 tonnes of CO2 eq potentially spared in initial construction and lifetime energy efficiency

- 2.2 million USD of local economies generated in basic structural works.

These remarkable achievements are the results of the 33% average annual growth rate of the market in NV construction. You can download the English version of the 80 page, beautifully illustrated, Annual Report here.

New regional office in Mali

AVN's new regional office in Koutiala was inaugurated in February in the presence of local dignitaries and M. Harouna Ouattara, supporter of the project on "Zero maintenance Nubian Vaults in Mali" financed by the Air Liquide Foundation.

Completed in August 2015, the construction of this pilot building is the start of AVN's R&D programme in Mali aimed at financial and technical testing and validation of architectural and technical solutions for an urban environment:

  • permanent maintenance-free coatings for external walls (e.g. cement renders over adobe bricks with encrusted pebbles),

  • anti-erosion roof coatings (earth+sand+tar),

  • new designs for parapets (cement blocks and slabs, reinforced concrete),

  • construction of external staircases to maximise use of a roof-terrace.

This first test building has proved the worth of the above techniques and has also led to the training of 9 local masons and apprentices capable of responding to the growing demand for urban and community NV buildings.

The pilot building has already received many visitors. Although urrently used as an office, its design can be adapted for housing or community buildings such as health centres and schools, and AVN is now preparing guidelines to this effect.

Portfolio of amazing photos of NV masons at work

To finish this report, we'd like you to enjoy the superb photos taken by the French photographer Régis Binard, who visited AVN's program in Senegal this year, and sent us magnificent images of NV masons and their work. You can see the full set on his website here.

Best wishes to you and all our supporters from all of us at AVN in France and in Africa.

 

Inauguration ceremony, Koutiala office
Inauguration ceremony, Koutiala office
The AVN-Mali team
The AVN-Mali team
Adobe brick-making, photo by Regis Binard
Adobe brick-making, photo by Regis Binard

Links:

 
   

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