War-ravaged Magwi County is in dire need of permanent homes for the 100,000 refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) flooding the area. Building materials are in short supply, however, and people are cutting down trees at an alarming rate. Blocks are a better choice, but manufactured ones are expensive to buy and transport. Making blocks one at a time with hand presses is time consuming. It also exposes workers to toxic smoke and the firing process contributes to deforestation.
The project will buy a hand-press interlocking soil block machine for a womens group in Omilling. Making interlocking soil-compressed blocks is fast and environmentally friendly because little water and cement and no firewood are used in production.
The use of natural, locally available materials will make permanent housing available to more people more quickly, keep money in the local economy, and help preserve the environment. Providing jobs for women will ripple to help the entire community.