Sustainable Housing for Rural Communities in Mali

by Association la Voute Nubienne (AVN)
Vetted
NV Masons
NV Masons' congress June 2012

AVN-Mali: a successful season

Despite all that has happened in Mali during the last year (the insurgency in the North, the military coup, the refugee crisis, the arrival of troops from France and neighbouring countries, the very recent presidential election...) AVN's program has not noticeably suffered.

 The final results of the 2012/13 season, announced at the NV masons' congress in June, are very positive:

  • two new regional centres opened, in Koutiala and Dioila, with local staff promoting the NV concept, and helping to recruit apprentices and support newly trained masons in the surrounding villages,

  • new training modules have been prepared, and successful training workshops run for selected NV masons and apprentices,

  • eight new NV masons have completed their training, bringing the total number of NV masons in the country to 59,

  • these masons and their teams have built 101 vaults during the season, for 72 different buildings; most of these (56) are village houses, the remainder include shops (2), barns (3), village classrooms (3), and mosques (2).

 The success of AVN's work in Mali during the last year has been in significant measure due to the generous donations, totalling £3,996 ($6,240) received in November 2012, and made by people in the UK via Global Giving and JustGiving. These funds have been invaluable in helping to fund the establishment of the two new regional centers and the running of training workshops. Once again, many thanks to these generous, anonymous, donors, who have understood the pressing need for decent housing and economic development in Mali, as the country tries to recover from the events of the last 18 months.  

Map showing new regional centers
Map showing new regional centers
Village house in Dandougou, Dioila region
Village house in Dandougou, Dioila region
Village house in Segou region
Village house in Segou region
Village classroom, Dankoumala, Segou region
Village classroom, Dankoumala, Segou region
Bagnan mosque, Koutiala region
Bagnan mosque, Koutiala region

Links:

NV lounge
NV lounge

70% Increase in NV construction since last year

Despite the the insurgency in the north of the country, the arrival of troops from France and neighbouring countries, and the accompanying uncertainties which have led to the temporary suspension of the activities of many foreign NGO's, the AVN program in Mali is forging ahead.

Results this year have exceeded our expectations, with 58 NV construction projects completed so far, 12 under completion, and 4 more in the pipeline - the great majority of these projects being for housing and community facilities for rural families. This represents a 70% increase over the results of the 2011/12 construction season.

For the 2013/14 season, discussions are underway for NV masons and entrepreneurs to be involved in re-construction of some of the communal bulidings damaged or destroyed during the fighting in the north of the country.

NV Entrepreneur contracted to build tourist accommodation

One of the aims of the AVN program is to encourage a market in NV construction  and paid work for trained NV masons and entreperneurs. Although the main focus is on housing for rural communities, some NV mason - entrpreneurs are branching out successfuly into other markets. Here is one example...

In the countryside a few km from Bamako, the resort Le Campement - popular with families from Bamako at weekends, and with foreign tourists - has just added a set of four NV suites to its range of accommodation options. The building containing the four suites, each with its own lounge, bedroom, bathroom, and private terrace, was built by masons trained through the AVN program in Mali – proof of the entrepreneurship of these men, as well as the fact that the mud brick NV concept is easily adaptable to the requirements of modern tourism.

The Campement is near Kangaba village, and as well as accommodation, promotes local crafts and cuisine, and includes a 20-hectare park, with camping space and facilities for swimming and other sports. The NV rooms are a welcome addition to the range of accommodation on offer, and a tribute to the skill of the NV masons who built them. Because it is a popular weekend resort for families escaping the traffic and bustle of Bamako at weekends, these NV rooms will help promote the NV concept locally, and encourage the further development of the market in NV construction.

Should you have the good fortune to visit Mali and its capital, Bamako, why not stay a few nights at Le Campement, and experience for yourself the comfort and coolness of a Nubian Vault building !

 

Bedroom
Bedroom
Bathroom
Bathroom

Links:


Attachments:
Inrterior, AARAO building, Kewoloya
Inrterior, AARAO building, Kewoloya

The mid-season results for our program in Mali are good, in part helped by the generous anonymous donations (over £4,000 in total) that came from supporters in the UK via a partnership between Global Giving UK, and JustGiving: a big THANK YOU to you all!

This funding has helped to develop our program in Mali despite the difficult times of the last few months, with the insurgency in the north of the country, the arrival of troops from France and neighbouring countries, and the accompanying uncertainties which have led to the temporary suspension of the activities of many foreign NGO's. However, despite these problems, AVN-Mali is developing partnership arrangements with two major NGO's : ADER, a regional economic development organisation promoting decent, sustainable, housing (see link below to their website), and AARAO. The attached photos show a building financed by AARAO for literacy classes in the village of Kewoloya, in the west of mali, near Kayes. The attractive internal rendering and finshes are shown being carried out by a group of women from the village.

Our work with rural communities in the south of Mali has not been affected by the Islamist insurgency in the north; the rains were good this season, leading to a good harvest, and some disposable income for rural families. 22 new NV buildings are either completed or under construction at the moment (mid-February): 17 houses, 3 barns, 1 shop, and 1 school classroom. Further good news is that only one of these buildings is for a client found by AVN – the rest are a result, either of direct contacts between NV masons and clients, or found through the intermediary of local 'champions' (village elders, Imams etc).

In total, there are now 44 active masons in Mali trained through our program, and 96 apprentices in training on NV building sites. The support we have recently received via Global Giving / JustGiving in the UK has enabled us to recruit a local finance / admin officer to our team in Segou, and to start a search for a second regional office to expand our program to other parts of the country.

Please continue to support our work in this, one of the poorest countries in Africa, going through especially difficult times at the moment...


With many thanks from our team in Segou, Mali (see link below)

Interior, AARAO building (2)
Interior, AARAO building (2)
Rendering interior walls and vault
Rendering interior walls and vault
Exterior of AARAO building
Exterior of AARAO building

Links:

Vsiting the AVN offices in Segou
Vsiting the AVN offices in Segou

The results of the 2011-12 construction season are good:

  • 16 new NV masons have been trained, bringing the total number of Malian NV masons to 51

  • 600 linear metres* of new vaults were built, for 42 rural / village clients, bringing the total since the start of AVN's work in Mali to 3.1 km of vaults if laid end-to-end!

  • these figures represent an annual growth rate of 23% in vaults built (this rate would have been higher were it not for the current political troubles in the country, which have meant that no further work could be done by NV masons in the Gao region, for example)

  • NV buildings now exist in 94 different localities (villages, hamlets, semi-urban areas) in Mali; 1n 2011-12, 66 localities were reached, so this represents a major geographic expansion during the last year.

* For record-keeping purposes, we now use a linear metre of vault as our standard unit of measure, as vaults can vary in length, and a house or other building can be composed of anything from 1 to 4 or 5 vaults: in village communities, in this case, 600 metres is the equivalent of around 40 two-vault houses or other buildings such as mosques or community centers.

The 2012-13 season has got off to a good start with a recent workshop in our new headquarters in Segou, for familiarising local 'champions' with the AVN strategy (see photos): these are people who are respected and influential in their communities. Back in their villages, they are now helping promote the benefits of NV housing amongst their local communities.

As always, we are grateful for any support you are able to provide to help in the continuing expansion of the AVN Program in Mali, bringing decent and affordable housing to the poorest villages, and training and work for the steadily increasing number of NV masons.

Village
Village 'champions' workshop, Segou

Links:

VN Masons Congess, Segou, June 2012
VN Masons Congess, Segou, June 2012

The serious problems of insurrection and Islamist militancy affecting the north of Mali has regrettably led to the interruption of our joint pilot village project with the NGO UAVES in Tacharane. However, the main thrust of the AVN program is in the south of the country, and is carrying on regardless.

Our national office in Segou is now established, and the foundations are being laid for regional annexes in Koutiala and Dioila, each about 150 km distant, forming a regional triangle within which our efforts can be focused.

The 2011/12 construction season was 'topped and tailed' by two very successful congresses of NV masons and lcoal village 'champions', held in our HQ in Segou, respectively in October and June.

The overall results for the 2011/12 season are as follows:

  • growth rate of the program this season in terms of linear metres of vaults built: 23%

  • number of clients for whom NV constructions were built : 42

  • 16 new NV masons trained

  • 100% focus on rural, village, communities

If all the VN buildings constructed since the start of our program in Mali were put end-to-end, they would cover a distance of 3.1 km!

Attached are some photos of NV masons and examples of their work this last season.

Many thanks once again for you support for our work in Mali

VN cotton store, N
VN cotton store, N'gola
VN Masons Congess, Segou, June 2012
VN Masons Congess, Segou, June 2012
VN masons from Dendjola
VN masons from Dendjola
Family in Dendjola in front of their NV house
Family in Dendjola in front of their NV house

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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