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 ...
Apr 2, 2014

More support for scaling up of our Mali Program

NV house near Segou
NV house near Segou

To help in the scaling up of our programme in Mali, three new staff have recently been appointed:
- a Finance Officer, Alex Dembele,
- two more rural extension agents: Kamon Couloibaly in Dioila, and Mohamed Keita, in Koutiala.
This brings our support team in Mali up to 9 staff, all locally appointed, distributed amongst our main office in Segou, and our two current regional offices in Dioila and Koutiala; two more rgional offices are in the planning stage.

The results of the current season continue to be fruitful, with 17 new projects completed, 12 in progress, and orders for 42 new buildings in the pipeline - all the work of independent NV masons trained through our Program. This is quite an achievement, given the political turbulence in the country during the last year or so. Several of the completed buildings this year have been the result of direct contacts between the clients and NV masons - for example, the family house near Segou shown in the photos for this report.

We continue in our efforts to raise funding to help the development of a desperately needed sustainable housing program in Mali - a need that has become an even greater priority given the refugee situation in the country following the disturbances in the north. For example, AVN had a stand at the DIHAD (Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development) conference in Dubai in March, attended by Thomas Granier, AVN CEO, to help raise funding from Arab and Muslim philanthropists, in part for our work in Mali.

However, such attempts to obtain international aid funding will take time to bear fruit - in the meantime, any help you can provide, and continue to provide, will always be essential for the ongoing success of our program.

Alex Dembele
Alex Dembele
Kamon Coulibaly
Kamon Coulibaly
Mohamed Keita
Mohamed Keita
Thomas Granier at DIHAD, Dubai
Thomas Granier at DIHAD, Dubai

Links:

Feb 12, 2014

Program Update

NV masons team, Burkina Faso
NV masons team, Burkina Faso

The scaling up of AVN's program in West Africa is now becoming a reality:

- there are now 10 regional AVN offices, including 5 in Burkina Faso (Boromo, Dedougou, Koubri, Bama, Yako), 3 in Mali (Segou, Dioila, Koutiala), and 2 in Senegal (Podor, Thies), with 30 local salaried staff in total (including 6 women), and 84 village 'champions' spreading the word around the regional offices,

- during the 2012/13 season, 219 NV masons and apprentices took part in 'top up' training workshops organised by our local teams in Boromo, Segou, and Podor,

- new programs are in the planning stage in Benin and northern Ghana,

- the average annual growth rate of the overall program, in terms of number of vaults built, is 31%

- in the last construction season, 22% of the NV housing market was completely autonomous, with clients contacting NV masons directly.

Since the AVN program opened in 2000, 916 NV buildings (comprising nearly 1,942 standard vaults) have been constructed by 270 experienced NV masons in 404 different localities in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal. There are now 300 apprentices in training. And we estimate that around 2,600 trees have been saved, and 22,500 corrugated iron roofing sheets economised, as a result of the AVN program's alternative use of mud brick vault construction. Overall, some 14,000 people now enjoy the benefits of NV homes and community buildings.

The two main challenges of the 2012/13 season have been the conflicts in Mali, which have meant that our work has been limited to the south of the country, and the numbers of young men in Burkina Faso who have left their villages to explore for gold, reducing the pool of potential NV apprentices.

Many thanks once again for your interest in our work, and your support of our Program in West Africa, helping hundreds of impoverished families to not only obtain decent housing, but also improve their economic conditions.

 

Village women living in NV houses
Village women living in NV houses
Local AVN
Local AVN 'champions', Mali
AVN Boromo team planning session
AVN Boromo team planning session
A typical NV village house
A typical NV village house
NV building site
NV building site

Links:

Dec 2, 2013

2013/14 Season kicks off with 8 Training Workshops

NV master masons at Segou workshop, Nov 4-10
NV master masons at Segou workshop, Nov 4-10

The next stage of the scaling up of our program in Mali got off to a flying start this October, with eight 5-day training and up-dating workshops held in Segou, and in the two newly opened regional offices in Dioila and Koutiala. These workshops are part of the overall program of the 'AVN Academy', and provide opportunities for exchanging ideas, networking, and – for NV apprentices and masons – complementing the extended on-site training and experience which continues throughout the 6 month construction season.

Three familiarisation and up-dating workshops were held for a total of 37 local 'champions' in Segou, Dioila, and Katiola. These 'champions' (or 'clefs' = 'keys', in French) are locally respected members of the community who are convinced of the value of the NV concept, and who promote it in their own villages, attracting new apprentices, and new clients for existing NV masons. They play a key role in promoting the growth of the market for NV housing, and in helping local NV masons find potential clients.

Also in these three centers, a total of 51 new apprentices have taken part in three 5-day workshops, where they are inducted into the NV concept, and can meet trained NV masons who might take them on for the season of on-the-job practical training and experience.

In Segou, the AVN headquarters in Mali, 11 experienced NV masons took part in a 5-day workshop aimed at helping them in marketing, client relations, project management, and finance - helping them to develop their skills as independent entrepreneurs.

Finally, also in Segou, the 11 AVN field staff came together for a final workshop and meeting to exchange ideas on improving their efficiency and developing their skills in supporting the 'champions' and NV masons in their respective regions.

Your contributions have played a significant role in helping to fund these important start-of-the-season workshops. Once again, many thanks from our field staff, and from the NV masons and apprentices in Mali, for your continuing support.

Apprentices at Dioila workshop, Nov 18-24
Apprentices at Dioila workshop, Nov 18-24
Apprentices at Katiola workshop, Nov 18-24
Apprentices at Katiola workshop, Nov 18-24
Dioila
Dioila 'champions' workshop, Oct 21-27
Segou
Segou 'champions' workshop, Oct 28-Nov 3
Segou
Segou 'champions' group photo

Links:

 
   

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