Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali

by Association la Voute Nubienne (AVN)
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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:

House in Ngolofala, front door
House in Ngolofala, front door

Mathieu Hardy, a young architect specialising in earth construction, has been working with AVN from the end of 2008. Much of his time has been spent in Mali, helping kickstart and develop our programme there. Now that AVN-Mali is fully established with a HQ team in Segou, and three regional offices, all staffed by Malians, his role has become that of a part-time adviser to AVN, helping in particular to develop training materials based on our accumulated experience.

You can see here a selection of great photos that Mathieu has taken of three Nubian Vault village houses in Mali. They demonstrate the simplicity and beauty of the NV concept and the creativity of the masons building them - without any help from architects' plans, computers, or fancy surveyors' equipment! It has truly become a popular vernacular style...

House in Ngolofala, interior1
House in Ngolofala, interior1
House in Ngolofala interior2
House in Ngolofala interior2
House in Dioila
House in Dioila
Vault of house in Dioila
Vault of house in Dioila
House in Nitabogoro, Koutiala, exterior
House in Nitabogoro, Koutiala, exterior
House in Nitabogoro, Koutiala, interior1
House in Nitabogoro, Koutiala, interior1

Links:

Mamarila mosque and villagers, Dendjola zone
Mamarila mosque and villagers, Dendjola zone

A key element in AVN's aim to create a sustainable market in NV construction for the benefit of the trained NV masons and their rural clients is the DPPV strategy – the Deployment of the Program from a Pilot Village. Over a period of 4-5 years, the DPPV strategy should result in the emergence of an autonomous, self-sustaining market for NV hosuing, and AVN support can be transferred to new zones.

We now have confirmation that the DPPV strategy really works! The maps in the attached PDF file show graphically, from 2008 to 2015, the growth of the NV program in an area of 50 km2 around the village of Dendjola. During this 5 year period, from a starting point of zero, 24 independent NV mason entrepreneurs have been trained, and over 70 NV buildings constructed, ranging from small single-vault houses to larger buildings such as mosques and community centers. AVN has now withdrawn support from this zone, as a self-sustaining market in NV housing has developed. The extension agents can now concentrate on opening new zones, with the help of some of the master masons trained in Dendjola, who, in their turn, will recruit and train new apprentices elsewhere.

Overall, the growth rate of the AVN program in Mali has been 20% this season, with 83 NV buildings completed, and 3 under construction. There are now 11 AVN local staff – mainly extension agents promoting the NV concept in new areas - in Mali, in Segou and the two regional centers, Koutiala and Dioilia; plans are afoot to open three more regional centers, the first of which will probably be in San.

Your help – especially the generous donation of £4,000 from Global Giving / Just Giving donors in the UK in 2011 - has played a key role in the Dendjola success story and in the growth of our national program: once more, many thanks from our team in Mali for your ontinuing generosity....

Links:


Attachments:
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:

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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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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