Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali

by Association la Voute Nubienne (AVN)
Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali
Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali
Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali
Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali
Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali
Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali
Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali
Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali
Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali
Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali
Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali
Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali
Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali
Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali
AVN and Kounda 78 in a NV classroom
AVN and Kounda 78 in a NV classroom

A potential partnership in the region of Kayes

At the beginning of January Alexe Dembélé, AVN-Mali’s National Coordinator invited Amadou Tall, local representative of the Kounda 78 Association and Mr. Barry, President of the Lontou Education Council, to a preliminary meeting to discuss an eventual partnership for the construction of school buildings in the Circle of Kayes.                 

The meeting started with visits to two NV schools in the villages of Koba and Fanssira (Commune of Yékéboubou – Cercle of Kati) and continued to N’Golofala with visits to NV houses and dispensary. This field trip also provided an opportunity to ask NV artisans and masons about such issues as techniques for protecting external walls of NV buildings, the quality of earth to be used, protection against termites etc. The answers to such questions convinced the two visitors of the viability of the NV concept.

There are many advantages of the NV concept for schools. The thermal comfort of a NV building helps the pupils to study more effectively, an essential point made in directives from the Malian Ministry of Education and confirmed by M. Barry: «In Lontou, from March onwards classes are cancelled every afternoon because of the excessive heat. If the schools were built in the NV style classes could be held all day, allowing the teachers to complete the year’s school programme ».

This first phase of the project was a success, and Mr.Tall and Mr.Barry have welcomed it with open arms and hope to get strongly involved in its diffusion in the Commune of Hawa Dembaya. As a result of the agreements which will shortly be made between AVN and Kounda 78, the implementation of the NV programme in the Kayes Cercle could develop over several years.

AVN is already present in the Kayes region through its role in the project on management of natural resources in the context of climate change (Gestion des Ressources Naturelles dans un Contexte de Changement Climatique - PGRNCC) , financed by the AEDD, which promotes the NV concept (awareness raising, training, duplication) in 14 Communes, and more recently in a project to train three conventional masons from the Cercle of Yélimané.

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Collaborative workshop for creating pictograms.
Collaborative workshop for creating pictograms.

AVN’s Training Centre reinforced to deliver intensified training

At the start of this season, AVN has started the first collaborative workshops to develop training tools and materials as part of the reinforced training activities in place since 2016. This brought together the various actors involved in training, including over 60 actual and potential trainer masons*, 15 regional and 8 national AVN staff, and the international coordinators from the Training Centre.

Organised locally with 6 one-week sessions in 3 countries, these workshops aimed to:

  • bring together the overall vision of all the actors involved;
  • develop together the job description of trainer masons;
  • identify and try to understand the needs and concerns of the trainer masons;
  • complete and approve the methods proposed by the Training Centre;
  • identify and co-develop the tools needed by the trainer masons and training coordinators (evaluation tools, pedagogical and methodological checklists);
  • define the relationships between the different training actors, in particular between the trainer masons and the training coordinators.

A lot of time was spent on the devel opment of the Apprentice Record booklet, the main working tool of the trainer mason. To this end, the Training Centre tested an innovatory method which involved projecting (on a wall) in real time pictograms for each technical post, prepared on a graphics tablet. The objective was to help the illiterate trainer masons (more than half of them) to make entries in the booklet. Following on, the good-humoured participants took part in role-playing exercises based on these pictograms.

In a second phase - 6 weeks later - the international coordinators from the Trainng Centre met with the regional and national staff to confirm their respective roles and to develop together the monitoring tools and procedures for the 2017-2018 season’s training programme.

Further training sessions are planned at the start of 2018 for the trainer masons, and for the regional and partner teams (like those for the PISCCA project in Burkina Faso and the Fouta teams in Senegal) with the overall aim of intensifying training actions for all NV apprentices and masons.

* selected from the pool of artisan masons for their pedagogical skills and their personal career ambitions.

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A NV health centre for the Mopti region

The first community construction site of the 2017-18 season in Mali, initiated by the French Bilou-Toguna Association for the Malian NGO Delta-Survie of Mopti, was completed at the end of December.  This 37 m2 health centre was built in a few weeks by a young Malian artisan mason, Abdoulaye Fané, and his team. This is one of the few NV buildings in the Mopti region, after those completed near Badiangara.

The Mopti region is well known for its validation of earth architecture, so the development of an AVN programme here should be both relevant and welcome. Other building techniques using local raw materials have already been tested by NGO’s and local actors in the construction sector, but it would appear that the NV technique is the one most suited to local construction challenges, providing greater comfort at a lower cost, the creation of local jobs, respect of the environment, and adaptation to and attenuation of the effects of climate change.

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Health Centre in Mopti.
Health Centre in Mopti.
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International Literacy Day
International Literacy Day

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%[1]. 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.

[1]28,1% amongst women / 50,6% amongst men, according to the 2015 report: Enquête Modulaire et Permanente auprès des ménages (EMOP)

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Climate Chance: the mobilisation of non-state actors for the climate

The meeting of non-state actors concerned about the climate - Climate Chance - took place last September in Agadir (Morocco), bringing together 5000 participants of 80 different nationalities from NGO's and territorial collectivities. For this second meeting particular emphasis was placed on the state of climate actions in favour of African countries, and, more widely, other countries of the global South.

Even though Africa is badly affected by the effects of climate change, it is also the "cleanest" continent with respect to greenhouse gas emissions. So it is extremely important for African actors to commit themselves to durable green solutions, for example through appropriate development policies in many domains (housing, economies, environment etc.).

A few weeks from COP23, the mobilisation of African collectivities is encouraging, through, for example, the commitment of local and regional elected representatives, in a declaration announced by some 30 mayors, to carry though the 'climate plans' and to involve all the actors in their territories: citizens, associations, economic actors etc.

The summit concluded with drawing up for signature of the Agadir Declaration[1] reiterating the priorities for accelerating climate transition. One of these - the strengthening of capacities of vulnerable populations for adapting to climate change - is a central objective of the AVN programme. This road map will be proposed to all the representatives of national governments and to the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, Patricia Espinosa, ahead of COP23[2]

[1] Signed, amongst others, by AVN

[2] November 6-17, Bonn

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Climate Chance 2017 - Agadir
Climate Chance 2017 - Agadir
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AVN at the World Forum on desertification
AVN at the World Forum on desertification

Desertification & Habitat: how AVN contributes to the preservation of African ecosystems

Over one-third of the planet's land surface is affected by desertification today, essentially in dry regions where 2 billion of the poorest people in the world live. In West Africa, this degradation of the land is accelerated by climate change, increasing human activity, deforestation, and fragile socio-economic systems.

Although often considered as secondary influences, the built habitat and associated construction techniques can have both positive and negative impacts on the causes and consequences of desertification.

The Nubian Vault technique promoted by AVN helps significantly to preserve ecosystems and their biodiversity, through the use of locally available and appropriate construction materials. In a wider context, AVN's programme encourages socio-economic development of rural populations (often those most affected by the consequences of desertification), in particular through sustainable job creation and the strengthening of local economic circuits.

Accordingly, as part of the global day for the fight against desertification and drought initiated by UNCCD and celebrated in June each year, AVN took part in two international events: the World Forum on desertification and drought in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), and the Désertif’Actions Forum in Strasbourg.

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AVN Steering Committee: a strategic event for the programme

AVN's end-of-season Steering Committee brought together some 40 participants at the beginning of July in Burkina Faso to analyse the season's results, and to discuss the evolution of the programme, its methodologies, and priority strategic orientations.

This season an important role was assigned to workshops on the programme's key themes: technical and entrepreneurial training, awareness raising and the kickstart method, incentives to accelerate market growth etc.

Members of the regional, national, and international teams worked together on the operational improvements needed, identifying the drivers for each methodology in the light of the different contexts. This collaborative work was a great success, and will facilitate the definition of strategies for each regional team and for the various centres.

Some serious discussions were also held on the internal organisation of AVN, in view of a better definition of each staff member's roles and more efficient working methods.

The next stage: to update our methodological corpus, refine our regional and central strategies so as to combine growth with a balanced budget, refine each staff member's job description, and develop internal communication in the light of new activities.

Next meeting: at the start of the 2017/2018 season, for Committee approval of the new season's strategy and budget.

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Workshop on strategic orientations
Workshop on strategic orientations

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Rinaudo receives World Habitat Award
Rinaudo receives World Habitat Award

AVN receives the World Habitat Award in Nairobi

AVN received the World Habitat Award on Monday May 8th in Nairobi, at the 26th plenary opening session of the Governing Council of UN-Habitat. During the entire week, this bi-annual meeting brings together representatives of member states for the implementation of the new Urban Agenda, in accordance with the Sustainable Development Objectives and the Paris Climate Agreement.

After the presentation of the laureates by David Ireland, Director of the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF), Joan Clos, UN Deputy Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat presented the trophy to Cécilia Rinaudo, AVN Deputy Director, for the programme « A Roof, A Skill, A Market» carried out by the Association in Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Benin, and Ghana over the last 17 years.

In his speech, Joan Clos emphasised that «affordable housing presents a tremendous challenge worldwide: in both developing and developed world, housing is unaffordable». The other Award winner, the programme of European cooperatives for eco-housing « More than housing » was also recognised and praised during the ceremony

In the afternoon, during an event organised by BSHF, Cécilia Rinaudo presented the AVN programme, stressing that the long-term evolution of appropriate construction practices in Africa is only achievable if it takes on board the challenges faced by the populations concerned: decent housing, 'green' employment, adaptation to and attenuation of climate change, economic independence etc. Christophe Lalande, Head of the Housing Department, emphasised the support of UN-Habitat for AVN's programme as a major solution for access to affordable and sustainable housing for the many.

AVN at the World Economic Forum, Durban, South Africa

At the beginning of May,Thomas Granier, Director General and co-founder of AVN, was invited by the Schwab Foundation to take part in the World Economic Forum on Africa, in Durban. The meeting convened regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society to agree priorities that will help Africa achieve inclusive growth through responsive and responsible leadership.

A four-day 'Solutions Summit' was organised alongside the Forum, uniting three networks brought together by the Schwab Foundation: the Young Global Leaders, the Global Shapers and theSchwab Social Entrepreneurs. Thomas Granier and Séri Youlou, as co-founders of AVN, were recognised in this last category in 2012, when AVN won the African Social Entrepreneur of the Year award.

AVN at UN Climate Change Conference, Bonn

Eighteen months after COP21 and the commitment of member states to combat the effects of climate change, delegations from the 196 member countries of the UN Climate Change Convention held discussions in Bonn this monthconcerning implementation of the Paris Agreement. This Agreement aims to commit the international community to act to limit global warming, in particular by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

AVN, present at the Bonn Conference as a major player in the adapted housing sector in Africa, ran a stand from May 15th -18th to raise awareness of the impact of the construction sector on greenhouse gas emissions, and to present the example of the Nubian Vault concept as a potential mitigation. The AVN Programme well illustrates the fact that simple and affordable solutions can contribute significantly to limit the effects of climate change, and at the same time improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable populations.

Cecilia Rinaudo, AVN's Deputy Director was also invited by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to contribute to a conference on May 12th on the themes of energy efficiency, green jobs, and low-carbon initiatives, along with three other laureates of the Momentum for ChangeAward.

 

Cecilia Rinaudo with World habitat Award
Cecilia Rinaudo with World habitat Award
AVN seminar at UN-Habitat, Nairobi
AVN seminar at UN-Habitat, Nairobi
UN Climate Change meeting, Bonn, Germany
UN Climate Change meeting, Bonn, Germany
AVN's CEO at World Economic Forum, Durban
AVN's CEO at World Economic Forum, Durban

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Organization Information

Association la Voute Nubienne (AVN)

Location: Ganges, N/A - France
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @#!/earthroofs
Association la Voute Nubienne (AVN)
Chloé Adloff
Project Leader:
Chloé Adloff
Communication Officer at the Nubian Vault Association
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

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