international awards & Competitons



AVN won the prestigious World Habitat Award 2016-2017, organised by the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF) and UN Habitat.

The Award, which includes a prize of £10,000, was given for AVN's successful programme for development of appropriate housing in the Sahel: A Roof, A Skill, A Market. The award ceremony will take place in May 2017 in Nairobi during UN-Habitat’s Governing Council meeting.

AVN was already one of 11 finalists for this Award in 2009.

AVN is one of the top 10 winners out of 100 projects fighting climate change proposed in the "My Positive Impact" campaign organised online by the Nicolas Hulot Foundation in France.

As a result of being in the top 10 projects receiving the most votes, AVN will now benefit from a major promotional campaign in France, in advance of the International Climate Conference (COP21) to be held in Paris in December.


AVN received a Momentum for Change Prize at the 20th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP20) to the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change), Lima, Peru, Dec 1-12, 2014.

The Prize was awarded to 12 innovative projects concerned with attenuation of, and adaptation to the effects of climate change. These "Lighthouse Activities", have developed economic, social, and environmental solutions to the problem.

AVN's work was recognised as being of major importance in the Urban poor category.



Seri Youlou, Co-founder and Operations Manager of AVN-Africa, was distinguished among the "100 innovations for a sustainable development" in Africa in 2013, a contest organized by the French Agency of Development and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

AVN, sponsored by Eiffage Foundation, was awarded by the French Ministry of ecology, sustainable development and energy int the 2013 edition of the "Sponsorship for the environment and sustainable development award".

AVNs initiative has been elected as jurys favourite, in the context of the Prize "1000 pionners who are changing the World", in 2013. 

Winner, UN-Habitat Dubai International Award for Best Practice to Improve the Living Environment,  Dubai, 2013


Schwab Foundation African Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, at the World Economic Forum, Addis Ababa, 2012.

One of six finalists in the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, 2015; semi-finalist in 2012 and 2014


Winner of the Innovation Award,  Salon des Solidarités, Paris,  2012

Winner of a 2011 SEED Award, (category sustainable consumption and production) for providing support for African entrepeneurs in Burkina Faso.

Winner of the Social Enterprise Award (International section) by the newspaper La Tribune, in conjuction with the bank BNP Paribas, Paris, June 2011.

Winner of the Social Economy Initiative Trophy awarded by the Crédit Cooperatif Bank, October 2010.

One of 11 “...outstanding finalists” for the World Habitat Award, organised by the Building and Social Housing Foundation for the UN World Habitat Day, 2009

Emilio Caravatti, AVN partner in Mali, won the Brick Award 2010.

AVN was nominated in 2007 and 2010 for the aga khan award for architecture. 

One of 25 laureates (out of over 1500 initial submissions) in the World Bank Development Marketplace Competition on Adaptation to Climate Change, 2009.

Winner of the Ashoka France IMPACT Competition for social entrepreneurship, 2008

Tech Awards Laureate, Economic Development, 2007 (as a result AVN figures on the Global Giving websites)


Winner of the Ashoka Changemakers Competition on How to provide affordable housing, 2006

Some welcome compliments

  • The Sahel is a region under extreme pressure from climate change, conflict and grinding poverty. Nubian vaults provide a far better way for people to live in this fragile region for little cost and virtually no environmental impact. (March 2017, David Ireland, Director of BSHF, funders and co-ordinators of the World Habitat Awards)


  • The right to adequate housing is so fragile right now and under such threat, it’s incredibly heartening to know that ‘A roof, a skill, a market’ is fighting to ensure a dignified life through adequate housing. It strikes me that this project has a macro perspective that fits with the human rights vision.” (March 2017: Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing and judge of the World Habitat Award)


  • "  ... a remarkable achievement..." - Muhammad Yunus, Founder of Grameeen Bank, Bangladesh, and Nobel Peace Prize 2006 (March 2009, when AVN was one of the winners of a competition on Facebook to meet Muhammad Yunus in Paris)


  •  " The Nubian Vault is until now the best program in the world in the field of skills transfer in the construction of earth brick vaults... their success is due to their emphasis on the social aspects of this technology transfer" - Satprem Maini, UNESCO Chair of Earth Architecture, Auroville Earth Institute, India (April 2007, in support of AVN's bid for the Tech Museum Award)


  • "The leverage effects generated by AVN make it one of the most innovative initiatives benefiting the population of the Sahel" - Arnaud Mourot, CEO, Ashoka France (April 2007)


  •  "My dream is to be able one day to contribute to your work alongside the NV masons..." - Simone Swan, President of the Adobe Alliance, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA (July 2011, in an email to Thomas Granier, co-founder of AVN)