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 ...
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:

Apr 28, 2016

An electrified artisanal zone for 15 enterprises

Aerial view, ZAE Konseguela
Aerial view, ZAE Konseguela

NV masons build an electrified artisanal complex for 15 local enterprises

One of the most significant recent major achievements of NV builders in Mali is this Zone Artisanale Electrifiée (ZAE), a collaboration between AVN and GERES, an organisation specialising in renewable energy, and the local association AMADER, designed with the help of AVN's consultant architect, Mathieu Hardy. It combines the NV low-carbon construction technique with renewable and non-polluting sources of off-grid energy (notably from generators fuelled by locally cropped vegetable oils), which can be used by local artisans to generate income and promote local economic development.

The zone is in the region of  Koutiala (commune of Konséguéla), and consists of buildings made up of 14 Nubian Vaults, all using renewable energy from  solar panels and a generator powered by local vegetable oils. AVN-Mali was closely involved in the design and organisation of the construction site, using a local builder.

This set of buildings will eventually house 15 small-scale local enterprises serving the needs of the local community  (carpentry, ice-making, bakery, welding, battery charging, internet, radio, vegetable oil production etc).

AVN-Mali featured on CNBC TV

The renown of AVN's programme in Mali is spreading, as witnessed by a recent short item about the construction of a single vault village house, filmed on location near Segou by Reuters, and broadcast world-wide on April 11th by CNBC, the US cable, internet and satellite business news television channel. You can view it on the AVN website here.

Proof of the versatility of NV masons

These two items demonstrate the versatility of the teams of masons trained through AVN's programme in Mali - from large-scale projects such as the ZAE in Konséguéla, to the many small village houses for our key target group of rural families. During the 2014- 2015 construction season, of the 119 NV construction sites completed in Mali, 98% were for this target group of rural subsistence farmers.

Annual Report 2014-2015 now available

AVN's most recent and comprehensively illustrated Annual Report is now available, and can be downloaded from our website as a PDF file by clicking here.

 



Generator fired by local vegetable oils
Generator fired by local vegetable oils
An artisan workshop unit
An artisan workshop unit
An exterior view
An exterior view
Corridor view
Corridor view

Links:

Mar 1, 2016

US Ambassador visits AVN in Boromo, Burkina Faso

Boubacar Ouily (AVN) & Ambassador Mushingi
Boubacar Ouily (AVN) & Ambassador Mushingi

The US Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Tulinabo Mushingi, accompanied by a delegation from the Public Diplomacy Division of the Embassy, came to congratulate the AVN team for their work on the promotion and diffusion of the NV market, seen as an appropriate response to the challenges of development in sub-Saharan Africa: access to low-carbon housing, creation of 'green' jobs, strengthening of local economic circuits etc.

During this initial surprise visit, on February 19th last, the American delegation saw several NV buildings and discussed key aspects of AVN's program with our national coordination team: the 'kickstart' method, the continuing growth and strength of the NV market, and the emergence of a a network of local masons and enterprises who have adopted the NV concept.

The possibility of support for the AVN program was raised and the Ambassador strongly encouraged AVN to submit specific proposals. He also invited AVN to present our Program at a later meeting, along with other development agencies.

Let's hope this might be the start of a longer term and fruitful  relationship between AVN and the USA.

 

Sesnak (US Embassy) & Ambassador with AVN team
Sesnak (US Embassy) & Ambassador with AVN team
Visiting AVN offices
Visiting AVN offices
NV site visit
NV site visit
A positive conclusion to the visit!
A positive conclusion to the visit!

Links:

 
   

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