Apr 6, 2009

Significant progress

AVN Show House at the SIAO (1)
AVN Show House at the SIAO (1)

Since my last update, I can report that AVN has made significant progress; by the end of the current building season, cumulatively, since the start of the 'Earth roofs in the Sahel' Program: - 190 VN masons will have been trained (including 80 this season) - 900 vaults built (350 this season alone) - 4,500 man-months of salaries generated (1,500 this season) - 9,000 people in the Sahel will have benefitted directly from our Program.

We were able to validate these figures during the Fourth Congress of VN masons held in Boromo last December, attended by 80 VN masons from all over Burkina Faso who reported on their work in progress. The two-storey AVN show house at the Autumn 2008 Salon International de l'Artisanat in Ougadougou (SIAO) attracted several thousand visitors, and will undoubtedly result in further demand for the building of VN homes.

This season also sees further expansion of the AVN Program from Burkina Faso to neighbouring countries: - in Mali, over 15 VN masons have now been trained, and they are themselves recruiting and training further Malian apprentices; an AVN-Mali office has been established in Bamako to oversee further development of the Program, and to handle the increasing flow of requests for VN constructions (including ones from the historic and iconic city of Timbuktu!) - in Senegal, AVN has two different types of parnership agreement, one with a Senegalese construction firm in Dakar, the other with a French NGO financing the construction by VN masons of rural training centres in the Matam region. - We plan to extend the AVN Program to Niger next year: the first VN mason from Niger, Ibrahim Dan Inna, is being trained in Boromo. Ibrahim is deaf, and he is sponsored by the NGO EFIS; we hope to provide employment opportunities for others like him in the future.

International recognition is growing: the AVN Program is one of 12 projects shortlisted to go on to Stage II of the selection process for the 2009 World Habitat Awards. Two awards are given annually to projects from the global North as well as the South that provide practical and innovative solutions to current housing needs and problems. An award of £10,000 is presented to each of the two winners at the annual United Nations global celebration of World Habitat Day.

At a time when climate change issues have reached the top of the global agenda, we are very pleased to be included in Global Giving's "green leaf" selection of projects. The AVN Program is making a locally significant, contribution to reduction of carbon emissions: our ongoing research indicates that use of earth bricks and earth mortar (instead of cement, and metal roofing sheets) has economised the equivalent of over 100 tons of carbon dioxide emissions so far.

Your contributions can help scale up this exciting program through acceleration of our apprentice training schemes, the underwriting of new partnerships with NGO's, and the opening up of new action zones in the Sahel and other countries of Africa. In the last few weeks, we have received requests to train local builders in Malawi, Zambia, and South Africa - mainly for building VN orphanages and schools. Your contributions can help us implement these worthwhile projects, as well as to continue development of a real market in the construction of sustainable, ecologically sound, healthy, earth vaulted homes for rural families in the Sahel.

AVN Show House at SIAO (2)
AVN Show House at SIAO (2)
AVN Show House at SIAO (3)
AVN Show House at SIAO (3)

Links:

Jul 28, 2008

Our Tenth Anniversary

School in Kati, Mali (1)
School in Kati, Mali (1)

2008 marks the tenth anniversary of our first attempt to construct a prototype VN building in Burkina Faso. Ten years on, the AVN 'Earth roofs in the Sahel' Program continues to go from strength to strength.

A third Congress of VN masons was held in Boromo, Burkina Faso last month (June); this three-day meeting was a chance to share experiences amongst the community of VN builders, to summarise progress made since the start of the Program, and to update our cumulative results. In brief, to date: - 110 VN masons have been trained, most of whom are setting themselves up as independent entrepreneurs, - 170 apprentices are undergoing training, - 3000 man-months of salaries have been generated, - we estimate around 4,500 direct beneficiaries of the Program, - 550 vaults have been built, representing a 70% year on year increase in the number of constructions - the expansion of the Program to neighbouring countries (Mali, Togo, Senegal, Guinea, and Ivory Coast) continues.

The Program is also making its own small, but locally significant, contribution to reduction of carbon emissions: we estimate that use of earth bricks and earth mortar (instead of cement, and metal roofing sheets) has economised the equivalent of 72 tons of carbon dioxide emissions in the last ten years.

Our first major school-building project in Mali (region of Kati), in collaboration with the architect Emilio Caravatti and the NGO Africabougou, has now been completed, and you can see three photos of this beautiful building below. This will likely become a model for a major VN school-building program.

Your contributions can help scale up this exciting program through acceleration of our apprentice training schemes, the underwriting of new partnerships with NGO's working in the Sahel, and the opening up of new action zones in the six countries where we now operate. Our pledge is that, in the next two decades, a flourishing self-sustaining market in sustainable, ecologically sound, healthy, earth vaulted homes will have developed with your help. And that, as a result, fewer poor families in the Sahel will have to resort to the expense and discomfort of living in unhealthy tin-roofed shacks.

Please visit our website to find out more, to sign up to our Newsletter, and to see the latest photos and slide-shows of the houses, schools, churches, and health centers that your contributions can help to build.

School in Kati, Mali (2)
School in Kati, Mali (2)
School in Kati, Mali (3)
School in Kati, Mali (3)

Links:

Dec 20, 2007

New developments

VN Builders' Meeting, Boromo, October
VN Builders' Meeting, Boromo, October

Our 'Earth roofs in the Sahel' program continues its near exponential annual growth. Since the start of the program eight years ago, over 330 vaults have been built in 70 villages and districts in the Sahel. These are mainly two-vault village houses, but also larger community-use buildings, including a church and a mosque. 60 VN builders have been trained, many setting themselves up as independent entrepreneurs, and 100 apprentices are now involved in this winter's building season.

A three-day congress of VN builders was held in Boromo, Burkina Faso, Oct 26-30, which brought together all the VN builders in the country, as well as many apprentices. Plans were laid for construction and training during the 2007/08 season (building is carried out during the winter dry season between November and May), and experience and contacts were exchanged. During this season, some 200 new vaults will be built, and at least a further 40 VN builders will complete training, bringing the total up to 100. The program's expansion outside Burkina Faso continues. In neighboring Mali, 10 new building sites have been opened, 25 apprentices are being trained, and we hope to have 10 new VN builders there by the end of the season. And new building projects are starting up in Ivory Coast, Guinée, and Senegal.

Formal partnership agreements have been established with several NGO's operating in the Sahel, such as Africabougou-Italy and Intervida-Spain, who have been working with us in the construction of community use buildings (schools, health centers, literacy centers) in Mali and Burkina Faso.

Our builders are now contributing to new technical developments, including the construction of two-storey houses, and a technique combining the use of reinforced concrete pillars and beams with earth brick VN vaults, to create large open spaces for buildings such as churches and schools.

We need your contributions now to help scale up this exciting program through acceleration of our apprentice raining schemes, the underwriting of new partnerships with NGO's working in the Sahel, and the opening up of new action zones in the four countries where we now operate. Our pledge is that, in the next two decades, a flourishing self-sustaining market in sustainable, ecologically sound, healthy, earth vaulted homes will have developed with your help. And that, as a result, fewer and fewer poor families in the Sahel will have to resort to the expense and discomfort of living in unhealthy tin-roofed shacks.

Please visit our website at www.lavoutenubienne.org to find out more, and to see the latest photos and slide-shows of the houses, schools, churches, and health centers that your contributions can help to build.

Links:

 
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