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 ...
Jan 15, 2016

Inauguration of AVN-Ghana Office

AVN Ghana office, Bolgatanga
AVN Ghana office, Bolgatanga

The AVN-Ghana team inaugurated our new national office in Bolgatanga on November 25th 2015. In front of around 50 guests, the building was officially opened in the presence of Seri Youlou, co-founder of AVN, together with representatives of several local authorities and institutional agencies. During the ceremony, several speeches underlined the innovative aspects of the NV concept, the opportunities offered by AVN's presence in Ghana, and the willingness of local authorities to work with AVN.

In his opening speech, Giulio Cocchini, AVN's national coordinator, emphasised the innovatory nature of the NV concept: " We could have founded a building enterprise selling Nubian Vault houses, or we could have donated for charity NV buildings to underprivileged people. Yet, we are convinced that neither by selling or donating houses we could have spread the Nubian Vault concept as rapidly and widely as we did so far. AVN strongly believes in the power of market and operates for allowing a free market for Nubian Vault to emerge."

In his closing speech, the honorary president of the ceremony, M. Victor Atinga, Municipal Director of Bolgatanga's Department of Rural Housing, stressed the need for collaboration between AVN and the local authorities and agencies: "The Nubian Vault Association's local building materials technology and their collaboration with Department of Rural Housing for the operation and functioning of this technology is therefore hereby earnestly recommended to Regional Council, Municipal District Assembly, Government Agencies, Local Authorities and NGOs, with an appeal to you all, to appreciate and help, support and co-operate with this collaborating Unit of Department of Rural Housing and Nubian Vault Association. "

This inauguration opens a new chapter for AVN in Ghana. After over 18 months' presence, during which 6 NV buildings have already been constructed in the country (including a henhouse, a computer lab, a dormitory, and a new wing forn the Royal Palace at Kazigo) the existence of a national office built by NV masons represents a real advance for the program. Its construction reflects the initiation of a relationship with local authorities, clearly demonstrated by the allocation of the site to AVN by the Department for Community Development. It has also provided an opportunity for the on-site training of several Ghanaian masons (12 local apprentices are in training), and a showcase building to attract future NV clients.

The new AVN office will provide an essential logistical support for the effective promotion of the NV concept in northern Ghana - our first formal transfer of the program from a 'francophone' to an 'anglophone' African country. It will also, in conjunction with the AVN Head Office in France, actively pursue fund-raising efforts to help train many more local apprentices and to develop the market for NV homes in the region. Any help you can provide will, as alays, be very welcome.







Guests at the inauguration ceremony
Guests at the inauguration ceremony
Giulio Cocchini & Victor Atinga
Giulio Cocchini & Victor Atinga
The AVN-Ghana team in their new office
The AVN-Ghana team in their new office

Links:

Oct 21, 2015

A great 15th year anniversary for AVN

AVN Regional Office, Koutiala
AVN Regional Office, Koutiala

Fifteen years on ...

The AVN program, launched in the year 2000, is creating an expanding market for Nubian Vault construction, with an average annual growth rate of around 30% for the numbers of NV masons trained through the program and the numbers of NV buildings and beneficiaries. By 2015, 380 NV masons had been trained, and a further 300 apprentices were in training.

The program is now formally established in five countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Benin, and Ghana), with five national offices and 13 regional teams. In 2015, 55 salaried local staff were employed in these teams, supported by the actions of 120 volunteers (local village 'champions' promoting the NV concept). The main role of these teams is to establish and nurture local autonomous markets in NV construction through awareness raising and promotional activities (the 'kickstart' method), development of partnerships with local organizations, putting NV masons in touch with potential clients, identification of potential apprentices, support and training of NV masons to help them become independent entrepreneurs, monitoring of results, and technical R&D work. By 2015, around one-third of the NV construction market is autonomous, with NV masons finding their own clients without the need for intervention by AVN. 15 NV masons have set up their own NV construction enterprises.

The 2014/15 season has been particularly successful in Mali, with 16 new C4 level mason / entrepreneurs, 17 new C3 artisans, and 58 apprentices reaching the C2 level (passing from simple labourers to learning the basics of vault construction). In total, 119 NV building sites were completed during the season, including many village houses, and several agricultural buildings, schools, and mosques. AVN now employs 15 local staff in its 4 regional offices in Mali, including the very smart new office in Koutiala, close to the frontier with Burkina Faso.

AVN one of six Finalists in the Buckminster Fuller Challenge 2015

AVN has just been announced as a 2015 Finalist in the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, a prestigious annual competition named “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award”. 

Each year, the Buckminster Fuller Institute invites scientists, designers, architects, activists, entrepreneurs, artists and planners from all over the world to submit their innovative solutions to some of humanity's most pressing problems. A $100,000 prize is awarded to support the development and implementation of one outstanding strategy.

Six Finalist proposals, including ours, have been selected out of an entry pool of over 400 applications from 135 countries, and have undergone a rigorous review for adherence to the seven-point Challenge criteria: Visionary, Comprehensive, Ecologically Responsible, Feasible, Verifiable, and Replicable. Our application has been through four rounds of vetting by the members of the Challenge Review Committee, including analysis and evaluation by an interdisciplinary team of experts and advisors.

"Each of these projects deserve the attention of the world for their commitment to 'solving for system' – an approach that takes an unusual degree of insight, patience, tenacity and courage", said Elizabeth Thompson, The Buckminster Fuller Institute's Executive Director. "The teams behind these initiatives have made extraordinary efforts to define the systemic context underlying the problem they are seeking to solve, and have designed strategies that provide enduring and sustainable solutions. Each is a remarkable example of the transformative power of individual initiative and provide much needed hope by demonstrating that solutions to our most entrenched problems are indeed at hand."

After being a semi-finalist in 2012 and 2014, we are delighted to have been chosen among the finalists of this 2015 competition and would like to thank the jury for the honour. We hope to be represented at the final Award ceremony in New York on November 18th. 

 

 

AVN Program deployment 2015
AVN Program deployment 2015
A NV school classroom
A NV school classroom
NV chicken house interior
NV chicken house interior
NV village house
NV village house
NV mosque, Dendjola
NV mosque, Dendjola

Links:

Oct 12, 2015

Results and impacts by 2015

Buckminster Fuller Challenge
Buckminster Fuller Challenge

 

AVN one of six Finalists in the Buckminster Fuller Challenge 2015

After being a semi-finalist in 2012 and 2014, AVN has just been announced as a 2015 Finalist in the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, a prestigious annual competition named “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award”. 

Each year, The Buckminster Fuller Institute invites scientists, designers, architects, activists, entrepreneurs, artists and planners from all over the world to submit their innovative solutions to some of humanity's most pressing problems. A $100,000 prize is awarded to support the development and implementation of one outstanding strategy.

Six Finalist proposals, including ours, have been selected out of an entry pool of over 400 applications from 135 countries, and have undergone a rigorous review for adherence to the seven-point Challenge criteria: Visionary, Comprehensive, Ecologically Responsible, Feasible, Verifiable, and Replicable. Our application has been through four rounds of vetting by the members of the Challenge Review Committee, including analysis and evaluation by an interdisciplinary team of experts and advisors.

"Each of these projects deserve the attention of the world for their commitment to 'solving for system' – an approach that takes an unusual degree of insight, patience, tenacity and courage", said Elizabeth Thompson, The Buckminster Fuller Institute's Executive Director. "The teams behind these initiatives have made extraordinary efforts to define the systemic context underlying the problem they are seeking to solve, and have designed strategies that provide enduring and sustainable solutions. Each is a remarkable example of the transformative power of individual initiative and provide much needed hope by demonstrating that solutions to our most entrenched problems are indeed at hand."

After being a semi-finalist in 2012 and 2014, we are delighted to have been chosen among the finalists of this 2015 competition and would like to thank the jury for the honour. We hope to be able to attend the final Award ceremony in Nw York on November 12th. 

Where we stand, fifteen years on

The AVN program, launched in the year 2000, is creating an expanding market for Nubian Vault construction, with an average annual growth rate of around 30% for the numbers of NV masons trained through the program and the numbers of NV buildings and beneficiaries. By 2015, 380 NV masons had been trained through the AVN program, and a further 300 apprentices were in training.

There are over 20,000 direct beneficiaries of the AVN program (representing the people who live in and/or use a NV building). Altogether, NV masons have worked on 1,500 NV construction sites in 700 different locations in 5 different countries, each site including at least one building, representing a total built area of 68,000 sq metres. The majority of NV buildings (1,300) are rural houses, the remainder include 20 classrooms, 57 barns and chicken houses, 13 medical / health centres, 27 mosques, 6 churches, 11 community and training centres, 25 hotel / restaurants etc.. 76% of the clients for NV buildings represent AVN's core target population of subsistence farmers and rural families.

Cumulative cost savings, compared to alternative techniques, are of the order of 2 million euros, representing a significant boost to local economies. Furthermore, compared to altetrnative construction methods, 55,000 tons of potential CO2-e can be saved on the basic structure, and in energy efficiency, over the expected lifetime of the existing NV buildings.

The AVN program is now formally established in five countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Benin, and Ghana), with five national offices and 13 regional teams . In 2015, 55 salaried local staff were employed in these teams, supported by the actions of 120 volunteers (local village 'champions' promoting the NV concept). The main role of these teams is to establish and nurture local autonomous markets in NV construction through awareness raising and promotional activities (the 'kickstart' method), development of partnerships with local organizations, putting NV masons in touch with potential clients, identification of potential apprentices, support and training of NV masons to help them become independent entrepreneurs, monitoring of results, and technical R&D work.

By 2015, around one-third of the NV construction market is autonomous, with NV masons finding their own clients without the need for intervention by AVN. 15 NV masons have set up their own NV construction enterprises.

 

 

AVN Deployment 2015
AVN Deployment 2015
Awareness raising campaign, Dano, Burkina Faso
Awareness raising campaign, Dano, Burkina Faso

Links:

 
   

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