AVN at the International Literacy Day - Mali
Mali: education and rural at the heart of AVN's programme
On September 15th last, AVN-Mali was invited by the Prefect of Dioïla Circle to take part in International Literacy Day, in the presence of M. Mohamed Ag Erlaf, Mali's Minister of Basic Education, Literacy and National Languages.
Despite a visible improvement over the last 15 years, the literacy level of Mali's rural populations is estimated at less than 40%*. The lack of suitable infrastructure is one of the principal causes; this is why AVN is trying to raise awareness about NV construction amongst local authorities, as a cross-cutting response to to local needs and challenges (solid and comfortable classrooms, local labour, youth training etc.)
During his speech, the Mayor of Dioïla stressed the involvement of AVN as one of the key rural development actors in the Circle and plans to make funds available for the construction of literacy centres and for the training of young local masons in the NV technique.
In addition, the AVN team had prepared information banners in Bambara, one of Mali's national languages, to raise awareness amongst as many of the participants as possible. The Minister then asked for other AVN documents to be translated, with a view to spreading information more widely about the NV concept
*28,1% amongst women / 50,6% amongst men, according to the 2015 report: Enquête Modulaire et Permanente auprès des ménages (EMOP)
AVN Burkina at the SEED Discussion Forum
On September 20th, National Coordinator Boubacar Ouily, and Communications Officer Maimouna Sawadogo took part in the SEED Discussion Forum in Ouagadougou on innovatory business solutions promoting green growth and sustainable development in Burkina Faso.
Bringing together a varied panel of participants, this Forum was an opportunity for AVN to meet other operators from the private sector whose entrepreneurial activities favour the implementation of 'green' solutions: clean energy, adjustment of agricultural practices to climate, waste management, adaptation to climate change etc.
The organisation of group workshops was a chance for participants to discuss together the challenges relating to eco-inclusive businesses and to share experiences with a view to improving and replicating ecologically responsible solutions.
AVN's programme aroused much interest, notably from SNV (a Dutch NGO) and the Coopérative Sahel Vert for the training of masons in the NV technique, and from the Service International d'Appui au Développement (SIAD) for the construction of appropriate agricultural buildings. Visits to suitable NV buildings for these participants are now being planned.
A new office for AVN-Ghana
AVN-Ghana's new office in Garu was inaugurated at the end of October, in the presence of around a hundred official guests (representatives of the District, regional chiefs, NGOs and other local actors). Over a year after the start of the first NV projects in this region, the construction of this office formalises the promising deployment of the NV market in the North-East of Ghana.
Several of the noteworthy guests were invited to speak during the ceremony: they each confirmed their support for the AVN programme; for example, Robin Yemli, representing the District, said: « The District is honoured and very happy that AVN has chosen Garu as the centre of its activities in the region (...) it is clear that the NV solution is pertinent for the populations of the District (…) the Chief Executive of the District is committed to supporting this initiative ».
During his speech, Thomas Dietrich, Coordinator of the AVN-Ghana programme, stressed the importance of market dynamics: « We could have set up a construction firm to sell NV houses, or we could have given houses away to chosen beneficiaries. However, we are convinced that neither of these solutions would have promoted a rapid diffusion of the concept. AVN firmly believes that it is only through market forces that a radical change in building practices can emerge »
In addition, the construction site for the office provided an opportunity to train 5 masons on specific technical modules, such as the use of reinforced concrete posts and beams to allow for the construction of wider buildings, and this for the first time in Ghana. Through the acquisition of these new skills, the Ghanaian masons who have been trained will be able to respond to requests for larger (e.g. urban) buildings and specific renders and finishes.
The regional team in Garu now has an operational office, in a prime position in the town, which not only provides an optimal working environment, but is also proving to be a noteworthy demonstration building for the NV concept, attracting hosts of visitors!
Inauguration of AVN-Ghana's new office