Sustainable access to decent housing as quickly as possible for as many people as possible

Sustainable access to decent housing as quickly as possible for as many people as possible

Burkina Faso
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The Nubian vault is an African technique to build earthen roofs. In arid zone it is the only alternative to the use of rare wood and - hot and expensive - unsuitable sheet that locks people into a vicious circle of poverty. Through an innovative extension of this technique, AVN allows people in semi-arid areas, to have access to a solid and comfortable roof and to be trained in a trade for the future, and thereby improve long-term and independently their independence and quality of life. It is an exemplary project, already duplicated in towns and villages in Africa, awaited by millions of people.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

People of the semi-arid areas where most of the world's lowest income (mainly African) is concentrated. We appeal to both urban and rural since urban issues are dependent on rural conditions. It is too simplistic to say that the No. 1 challenge is to improve living conditions in town and not worry about the countryside. Urban living conditions depend on conditions in rural areas (urban residents consume the peasants' products). Our planet cannot become a city, so we need to both improve city life, and fight against the rural exodus.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

It focuses not only on the urban because urban habitat issues are completely linked to rural issues. Thus, the project solves the problem of access to a decent urban housing while deploying an innovative rural support program that is bonded together. It integrates a local construction technique developed by local entrepreneurs, that is both comfortable and strong. It integrates the various public and private actors and citizens. It saves thousands of tonnes of CO2 compared to other solutions currently available It is already being tested in many areas of African cities and villages neighborhoods for the benefit of over 10 000 people. It is already anticipated and acclaimed by millions of people.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

1 identified need = a roof, as soon as possible, for the greatest number; 1 technical solution validated = a Nubian Vault, local, solids and known materials tested for 4000 years (Egypt), approved in West Africa for 20 years; 1 proven method of extension = "AMORCE", winner of the Developement Martekplace Competition 09 - it can generate enough offer (microentrepreneurs) and demand (local customer) to ensure a rapid and large-scale sustainable access to quality architecture and allow popularizers to expand into new territories. Our popularizer locate key people who convince other residents to order first Roofs (request), and volunteer to be trained in masonry (offer). Then Vn Masons forme the first apprentices on construction sites of the first customers. Thus emerges a local market that, over time (4-5 years) will grow and become autonomous. AVN will be able to withdraw its extension from the area and support the emergence of the market elsewhere. - Measuring Success: Autonomy of the market in an area, market growth rate, Tons of CO2 saved, € locally generated, number of beneficiaries.
About You
la Voûte Nubienne
About You
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About Your Organization
Organization Name

la Voûte Nubienne

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Country where this project is creating social impact

, XX

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

The idea of building vaults without shuttering came to me after visiting the exhibition''Earth Architecture'' at the Pompidou Center in Paris in 1988.
For my participation in the symposium organized in 1998 to PIAMET (Park International modern and traditional arts) with my friend the blacksmith sculptor Bomavé Konate, I decided to make a first vault construction without formwork. This was more of a technical challenge then an humanitarian project.
After the first prototypes the importance of an extension of this technique was highlighted.
Having always enjoyed travels and the human contact they provide, and also having practiced traditional masonry for 25 years, I found in this ''architectural and social adventure'' a synthesis of my individual aspirations.
Head on many construction sites and renovations in traditional masonry, I'm an actor who knows the ground realities of the masons.
In addition, my activities and responsibilities within the real estate trained me in management tasks.
During my many trips to India, Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa I had the opportunity to forge privileged relationships with building tradesmen who have enriched me with their many acquaintances. This training ground remains for me an essential quality.

Social Impact
How many people have been impacted by your project?

More than 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

> "Back to earth" Cultural reluctance (true for part of the population who can afford to choose between earth and metal sheets) => highlighting the particular economic benefits of VN, VN clients testimonials, awareness
> Changes in the year of water availability => proposals of sites adapted organizations (maximum sites move up in the season)
> Deadlocks regulatory => awareness, involvement and support of local and national authorities, organization of local authorities endogenous awareness
> Too fast self-growth, too strong and therefore very risky to some masons => close monitoring of the masons with the greatest potential and customized training

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

2011: Further extension of towns and villages in Burkina Faso, training and monitoring of the masons => 1300 VN built, 230 masons trained in relative autonomy / new structure in Mali, Senegal and Zambia / First training of franchisees to deploy in new areas
2012: 1800 VN , 270 masons, business model perpetuated, Finalization of pedagogic training materials for franchisees
2013: opening of new countries in West Africa, continued deployment in southern Africa, the launch of technical tests to prepare the deployment in new semi-arid and tropical areas (America, Caribbean).

For each selection, please explain the financial and non-financial support from each

Friends, Families & Individuals = 25 k € / year + tips + volunteer work
Foundations = 120k€ + advices
NGOs = 20k€ + relay, networking, technical support
Companies = 25k€ + skills, R & D
Regional Government = 150k€ political involvement at cities, financial support through partner decentralized cooperation
National Government = current
Clients = clients are the selections above.

How do you plan to grow and/or diversify your base of support in the next three years?

Our support is well diversified, we intend to focus on increasing the benefits paid development services for local authorities in targeted countries and support structures (NGOs) as they are most directly concerned.
We include our partners (in particular public, key in urban development) to get the message to other potential partners.
We strive to be present in as many publications as possible.
We will launch a new website and also plan to allocate new resources for communication about our project.
We mobilized artists (Baaba Maal, Alpha blondy local who can take our project to local authorities and their supporters in the North).
We planned international tours to communicate about the project and mobilize as many partners as possible.
We are integrating more and more national and international network to gain experience notoriety, and thus become unavoidable.
We form groups of friends of the Nubian Vault in the whole world to let them know our project (Africa, Europe, Americas, etc.).

Please select your areas of intervention in the home improvement market

Design, Technology, Technical assistance, Labor, Infrastructure, Green housing, Environment, Income generation, Urban development, Rural development, Citizen/community participation, Public policy.

Is your innovation addressing barriers in the home improvement/progressive housing market? If so, please describe in detail your mechanisms of intervention

The main obstacle on the market for housing improvement is primarily the lack of suitable housing supply.
In most cities in the world, housing is the responsibility of the individual, and in the expectation that the cities will "formalize", everyone is doing as best as they can but they have no solution for affordable housing. We can always plan "formal" top-down policies to improve this situation, the finding is often the same: eventually, every day millions of people spend their arid low budgets for the purchase of metal sheet absolutely not suitable to their climates.
The Nubian Vault is a solution clearly validated. It did not respond to all urban problems or to all semi-arid cities. But it is fit for millions of urban and semi-urban residents who can have access to earth and water.
The other point is that even if the solution exists, there is no clear demand expressed: we must allow for a market where people take ownership of this new product. So we have to generate the supply and the demand. So training + awareness.
That's all the content of our method "Amorce" that initiates local markets for the Nubian vault to a point where there are enough customers and masons so the technique can fully integrate a "natural "commercial dynamic.

Are you currently collaborating with private companies, or have you partnered with private companies in the past? With which companies?

Yes, first with hundreds of local contractors around the 'Nubian vault' which we have allowed the emergence. AVN do not build any house, and this is its strength: we generate a local market to popularize a technique widely.
Other companies, especially in local and international construction are related to us, including Besix (the largest Belgian construction group)
In addition, we are linked to services of social responsibility of many companies and large groups or through their foundations (PPR, Hermes, Veolia, etc.).

Please describe in detail the nature of the partnership(s)

VN entrepreneurs are linked to us, formally or informally, to participate in the emergence of this market in which they are both actors and beneficiaries. The link is an exchange contribution / reward totally adapted to the economic realities of African areas where we are and where the cash is missing. The masons take advantage of our network and we take advantage of their ability to train.

Other buildings companies, especially for research and technological development.

Select the unit(s) with which the partnership was formed

HR department.