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 ...
Jun 17, 2015

Good news from Mali

AVN regional office & team, Koutiala
AVN regional office & team, Koutiala

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!

R&D developments

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.



South front of new AVN office, Koutiala
South front of new AVN office, Koutiala
Participants at AVN masons
Participants at AVN masons' congress, Segou
Closing session masons
Closing session masons' congress, Segou

Links:

Jun 16, 2015

AVN in Ghana: from hen-house to royal palace!

Apprentice Joshua Atanga & his NV hen-house
Apprentice Joshua Atanga & his NV hen-house

6 NV buildings completed
AVN's first construction season in Ghana has just finished, with impressive results. NV buildings range from a chicken-house to the wing of the royal palace of the traditional king of Kazigo. In between these two extremes, NV masons and apprentices have built a dormitory, a computer lab in an eco-village, an office for a local library, and, finally, an office for the local AVN team in Bolgatanga. This wide range of buildings has helped to convince local people in the Upper east region around Bolgatanga – including the Department of Rural Housing - that the NV concept is a valid, affordable, and appropriate alternative to current construction techniques (corrugated iron or reinforced concrete roofs on cement block or mud brick walls).

12 Ghanaian apprentices in training
Training of local NV masons was kick-started by a team of 5 experienced NV masons fronm Burkina Faso. Despite the challenges of language, different units of measure, building techniques, and currency, these Burkinabe masons managed to establish successful relations and train 12 Ghanaian apprentices. The chief mason, Drissa Guira, supported by the Training Manager Bruno Vialaret, ran several 'accelerated training' workshops in AVN's new office, which the apprentices say effectively complemented their on-site training.

First national AVN-Ghana masons' congress
On June 9th, the AVN-Ghana team and the trainer mason from Boromo, Drissa Guira, met the Ghanaian apprentices for the first national congress of AVN-Ghana. 8 apprentices and 2 trainer masons from the Department of Rural Housing shared their experiences on the NV building sites, and discussed the NV concept, its diffusion strategy, the pivotal role of NV masons and their relations with AVN. The congress was also the occasion to take stock of the past season's results, and to prepare for the next season's demands for NV buldings from people in the region, - especially for village houses for local families.

As always, we are very grateful for your continuing interest in AVN, and look forward to receiving your support for the further development of our work in Ghana – our first programme in anglophone West Africa.

 

Kazigo royal palace wing under construction
Kazigo royal palace wing under construction
Vault construction:  Issa Guira & Hubert Atuah
Vault construction: Issa Guira & Hubert Atuah
Computer lab in the eco-village
Computer lab in the eco-village
AVN-Ghana office under construction
AVN-Ghana office under construction
Participants at AVN masons
Participants at AVN masons' congress

Links:

Mar 11, 2015

AVN invited to COP20 Lima

Poster for COP20, Lima
Poster for COP20, Lima

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.

AVN receives Momentum for Change Award
AVN receives Momentum for Change Award

Links:

 

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