Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali

by Association la Voute Nubienne (AVN)
Vetted
Aerial view, ZAE Konseguela
Aerial view, ZAE Konseguela

NV masons build an electrified artisanal complex for 15 local enterprises

One of the most significant recent major achievements of NV builders in Mali is this Zone Artisanale Electrifiée (ZAE), a collaboration between AVN and GERES, an organisation specialising in renewable energy, and the local association AMADER, designed with the help of AVN's consultant architect, Mathieu Hardy. It combines the NV low-carbon construction technique with renewable and non-polluting sources of off-grid energy (notably from generators fuelled by locally cropped vegetable oils), which can be used by local artisans to generate income and promote local economic development.

The zone is in the region of  Koutiala (commune of Konséguéla), and consists of buildings made up of 14 Nubian Vaults, all using renewable energy from  solar panels and a generator powered by local vegetable oils. AVN-Mali was closely involved in the design and organisation of the construction site, using a local builder.

This set of buildings will eventually house 15 small-scale local enterprises serving the needs of the local community  (carpentry, ice-making, bakery, welding, battery charging, internet, radio, vegetable oil production etc).

AVN-Mali featured on CNBC TV

The renown of AVN's programme in Mali is spreading, as witnessed by a recent short item about the construction of a single vault village house, filmed on location near Segou by Reuters, and broadcast world-wide on April 11th by CNBC, the US cable, internet and satellite business news television channel. You can view it on the AVN website here.

Proof of the versatility of NV masons

These two items demonstrate the versatility of the teams of masons trained through AVN's programme in Mali - from large-scale projects such as the ZAE in Konséguéla, to the many small village houses for our key target group of rural families. During the 2014- 2015 construction season, of the 119 NV construction sites completed in Mali, 98% were for this target group of rural subsistence farmers.

Annual Report 2014-2015 now available

AVN's most recent and comprehensively illustrated Annual Report is now available, and can be downloaded from our website as a PDF file by clicking here.

 



Generator fired by local vegetable oils
Generator fired by local vegetable oils
An artisan workshop unit
An artisan workshop unit
An exterior view
An exterior view
Corridor view
Corridor view

Links:

Awareness raising meeting
Awareness raising meeting

In the context of the National Program for the Management of Natural Resources and Climate Change (le Programme de Gestion des Ressources Naturelles et Changements Climatiques PGRN-CC), operational in Mali since 2014, and coordinated by the Malian Agency for the Environment and Sustainable Development ( l’Agence de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable), AVN is receiving funding for a new 4-year program. The key points leading to funding of the NV program, running from 2015 - 2018, are cited as:
- a low carbon technology using locally sourced raw materials
- no use of timber nor imported construction materials
- the high energy efficiency of NV buildings
- extensive use of local labor.

The key aim of the program, which is being launched in 14 communes of the regions of Kayes and Koulikoro, is to kickstart the market for NV construction through:
• awareness raising amongst the target populations to bring about a demand for NV construction,
• active professional development of NV masons combining on-site training and supervision with theoretical workshops,
• the identification of local champions and partners in the promotion of the NV concept.

The first phase of the program, from June - September 2015, was the establishment of a new team and an AVN regional office in the town of Banamba. Since November last year, the regional coordinator, Fousseni Samaké, and the extension agent, Mamadou Diarra, have been running awareness raising events and meetings with institutional actors in the 4 communes of Banamba to identify construction projects and apprentice training sites.

Although the market for NV construction in Mali has been well recognised since 2007 by people in many rural areas, this is the first time the NV concept has been integrated into an important national program with a strategic focus on sustainable development. As such, this project is a major opportunity to demonstrate the key advantages of the NV concept to both regional and national institutions and authorities.

If you're interested and want to help, or find out more, check out the link to the AVN website below...

On-site apprentice training
On-site apprentice training
Marking out a NV construction site
Marking out a NV construction site
Training: discussion seminar
Training: discussion seminar
Classroom instruction
Classroom instruction

Links:

AVN Regional Office, Koutiala
AVN Regional Office, Koutiala

Fifteen years on ...

The AVN program, launched in the year 2000, is creating an expanding market for Nubian Vault construction, with an average annual growth rate of around 30% for the numbers of NV masons trained through the program and the numbers of NV buildings and beneficiaries. By 2015, 380 NV masons had been trained, and a further 300 apprentices were in training.

The program is now formally established in five countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Benin, and Ghana), with five national offices and 13 regional teams. In 2015, 55 salaried local staff were employed in these teams, supported by the actions of 120 volunteers (local village 'champions' promoting the NV concept). The main role of these teams is to establish and nurture local autonomous markets in NV construction through awareness raising and promotional activities (the 'kickstart' method), development of partnerships with local organizations, putting NV masons in touch with potential clients, identification of potential apprentices, support and training of NV masons to help them become independent entrepreneurs, monitoring of results, and technical R&D work. By 2015, around one-third of the NV construction market is autonomous, with NV masons finding their own clients without the need for intervention by AVN. 15 NV masons have set up their own NV construction enterprises.

The 2014/15 season has been particularly successful in Mali, with 16 new C4 level mason / entrepreneurs, 17 new C3 artisans, and 58 apprentices reaching the C2 level (passing from simple labourers to learning the basics of vault construction). In total, 119 NV building sites were completed during the season, including many village houses, and several agricultural buildings, schools, and mosques. AVN now employs 15 local staff in its 4 regional offices in Mali, including the very smart new office in Koutiala, close to the frontier with Burkina Faso.

AVN one of six Finalists in the Buckminster Fuller Challenge 2015

AVN has just been announced as a 2015 Finalist in the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, a prestigious annual competition named “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award”. 

Each year, the Buckminster Fuller Institute invites scientists, designers, architects, activists, entrepreneurs, artists and planners from all over the world to submit their innovative solutions to some of humanity's most pressing problems. A $100,000 prize is awarded to support the development and implementation of one outstanding strategy.

Six Finalist proposals, including ours, have been selected out of an entry pool of over 400 applications from 135 countries, and have undergone a rigorous review for adherence to the seven-point Challenge criteria: Visionary, Comprehensive, Ecologically Responsible, Feasible, Verifiable, and Replicable. Our application has been through four rounds of vetting by the members of the Challenge Review Committee, including analysis and evaluation by an interdisciplinary team of experts and advisors.

"Each of these projects deserve the attention of the world for their commitment to 'solving for system' – an approach that takes an unusual degree of insight, patience, tenacity and courage", said Elizabeth Thompson, The Buckminster Fuller Institute's Executive Director. "The teams behind these initiatives have made extraordinary efforts to define the systemic context underlying the problem they are seeking to solve, and have designed strategies that provide enduring and sustainable solutions. Each is a remarkable example of the transformative power of individual initiative and provide much needed hope by demonstrating that solutions to our most entrenched problems are indeed at hand."

After being a semi-finalist in 2012 and 2014, we are delighted to have been chosen among the finalists of this 2015 competition and would like to thank the jury for the honour. We hope to be represented at the final Award ceremony in New York on November 18th. 

 

 

AVN Program deployment 2015
AVN Program deployment 2015
A NV school classroom
A NV school classroom
NV chicken house interior
NV chicken house interior
NV village house
NV village house
NV mosque, Dendjola
NV mosque, Dendjola

Links:

AVN regional office & team, Koutiala
AVN regional office & team, Koutiala

I have just received the results of the 2014/15 season from the AVN office in Mali. Despite the difficult political and economic situation in the country, the AVN-Mali team has achieved some great results.

A 28% growth rate in construction

119 new NV buildings have been constructed, predominantly for clients in rural areas and small urban centres: farmers, tradespeople, local government employees. These buildings are mainly small family houses, but also include barns, hen-houses, and AVN's new regional office in Koutiala (see photos). All this represents a very satisfactory 28% growth rate over the 2013/14 season's results. This brings the cumulative total since our programme started in Mali in 2007 to 436 buildings, for over 5,000 beneficiaries.

A 38% growth rate in training

11 new C4 (foremen) and C5 (entrepreneur) masons have been trained, and 22 apprentices have progressed to the C3 (artisan) level. This brings the cumulative total of NV masons, artisans, and entrepreneurs since the start of the program to 120.

Participation in AVN's training workshops and congresses, held at the national ofice in Segou, has been excellent: 80 NV masons have benefitted from our training modules, including 50 apprentices and 20 masons from the 'modern' construction sector (concrete block walls and corrugated irion roofing), who may well convert to the NV concept!

R&D developments

The new regional office in Koutiala falls within the scope of our R$D program on “Maintenance-free urban NV buildings in Mali”, co-financed by the French Air Liquide foundation. The 9 NV masons working on this site have been trained in the use of cement renders for the external walls, reinforced concrete parapets, and tar coatings on the roofs.

Involvement of a local construction company

The Karim Dembele construction firm in Koutiala is working with AVN on the creation of an artisanal zone of 14 NV's in Koutiala, with financial help from the GERES Association (http://www.geres.eu/en/) . This is a sure sign of the increasing interest being shown in the NV technique by the existing construction sector in Mali.

As always, we are grateful for your continuing interest in our work in Mali, and will continue to keep you up to date on how your support is helping to provide affordable housing in Mali, one of the poorest countries in the world.



South front of new AVN office, Koutiala
South front of new AVN office, Koutiala
Participants at AVN masons
Participants at AVN masons' congress, Segou
Closing session masons
Closing session masons' congress, Segou

Links:

Poster for COP20, Lima
Poster for COP20, Lima

AVN at COP20, Lima, December 2014

AVN was invited to attend the the 20th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP20) to the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change), Lima, Peru, Dec 1-12, and was awarded the prestigious Momentum for Change Prize

The Prize was awarded to 12 innovative projects concerned with attenuation of, and adaptation to the effects of climate change. These are distinguished as "Lighthouse Activities", which have developed economic, social, and environmental solutions to the problem. AVN's work has been recognised as of major importance in the  Urban poor category for its success in disseminating the NV concept:

  • the relevance of the NV concept for resolving the urban housing problem

  • an effective  dissemination strategy which has resulted in the emergence and growth of a NV construction market based on trained NV artisans (the offer) and local clienteles (the demand)

  • the replicability of this strategy conceptually, geographically, and through effective partnerships in the field

  • the autonomy and durability of the NV markets leading to an endogenous,  home-grown solution to the housing problem.

The prize was received by Thomas Granier, CEO of AVN, and Cecilia Rinaudo, our Development Director (click here to watch a YouTube video of the ceremony)

AVN was recognised by the UNFCC meeting in Linma for the contribution its Program has made to adapation to and mitigation of the effects of man-made climate change. In effect, since the start of the Program in 2000, NV construction means that, in Mali, Senegal, and Burkina Faso:
- over 4,830 tonnes of CO2-equivalent have been saved, compared to likely alternative construction methods
- over 3,200 trees saved, that would have been needed for tradtional roofing 
- some 28,000 corrugated iron roofing sheets have not been used, making major environmental savings.

If you care about the future of the planet in the face of the challenges created by global warming and climate change, take action and please support our work...every little helps.

AVN receives Momentum for Change Award
AVN receives Momentum for Change Award

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Association la Voute Nubienne (AVN)

Location: Ganges, N/A - France
Website: http:/​/​www.lavoutenubienne.org
Project Leader:
Tony Kaye
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

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