datas updated in september 2014

Key dates

2011/2012: Construction of the first NV in Nagassega, Municipality of Tanguieta, Faatia and Toucountouna; 

August 2012: First exploratory mission by Boubacar Ouily and Mathieu Kodima to analyze the field conditions, introduce the program and meet potential partners;

2013: Second exploratory mission by Tatiana Soubrier Espana to confirm the positive conditions for the program’s opening and identify the site of the first regional office;

2014: Recruitment of Benjamin Lebault as National Coordinator and as Assistant Coordinator  in Burkina Faso, and of Narcisse Sare as Regional Coordinator

2015: Establishment of the national office in Djougou and the of  start of territorial deployment, of private and public construction, and of accelerated training for local masons and apprentices by Burkinabe masons. 

To contact AVN Benin



The team is composed of two employees :
- Benjamin Lebault, as National Coordinator
- Narcisse Sare, as Regional Coordinator in Djougou PVDP

Both of them combine a good knowledge of local environments and networks, and previous experience in development work. The national office is in Djougou's city center, the epicentre of Atacora-Donga, where the public-awareness programme is being deployed by them.

Benjamin Lebault and Narcisse Sare Ali (from left to right) in their office in Djougou

WHY Benin?

The AVN team has targeted Benin, and particularly the Atacora-Donga district and Djougou to be the first area of deployment for the following social, economic, political, climatic and strategic reasons: 

  • Benin presents the typical climatic features (temperatures, soil features, rainfall) of Sahelian areas, identical to those of southern Burkina Faso, where the NV concept has already been proved;
  • Atacora-Donga is one of the poorest and less developed areas of Benin; the largest share of the population lives from subsistence farming, in line with the core target of AVN;
  • Northern Benin presents the housing-related issues typical of the Sahelian area: earth architecture is traditional, but since the timber used for roofing is increasingly difficult to find, iron sheets are massively employed;
  • Djougou is a very well frequented city because it is located at the crossroads of Togo, Burkina, Niger and Nigeria, as well as Southern Benin;
  • Good potential contacts for future partnerships.

    First activities & achievements in Benin 

    Since 2011, 12 Nubian Vaults have already been built in the village of Nagassega, Municipality of Tanguieta, and in Faatia, Municipality of Toucountouna by Burkinabe masons. These were built for specific clients, without any prior promotional program by AVN.

    The missions undertaken since 2011 have laid the foundations for a major AVN Program starting in 2014/2015. The main achievements so far are: 

    • Analysis and validation of the conditions for the positive deployment of AVN’s program. 
    • Selection, recruitment and training (2 months in Boromo) of M. Sare Ali, a 30-year old graduate from Djougou, with previous experiences with NGOs, as the first Extension Agent for Benin.
    • Identification of the teams of Nubian Vault masons that will leave for Benin to train the first Beninese masons and apprentices, while working on the first NV buildings. In particular, a mason who worked already in the Beninese town of Nagassega was recontacted, and he is looking forward to re-start the work in Benin. 

    Benjamin and Pascal Tagali (right), NV mason apprentice from Benin - School in Nagasséga

    • Identification of local resource-persons and in particular potential partners
    • Presentation of the program and start of the relations with several local and national institutions, in particular the Municipal Assembly of Atacora and Donga, the Minister for Environment, Housing and Urbanism, and the Minister of Energy, Oil Resources, Water and Renewable Energies.  



    Click the map to enlarge

    Opening Strategy

    Geographical Deployment 

    The activities of promotion and diffusion led by the AVN-Benin team, will start from Djougou Municipality..

    The first pilot-villages will be located in the Atacora-Donga department. Within 4 years an extension of the activities is planned firstly towards other zones in the Atacora-Donga department, then (starting from the 4th year) with a new regional opening in the Bourgou-Alibori department. The geographical deployment will be influenced by the field conditions (demand- and supply-side) and the partnerships established.   

    Kicjkstarting the market starting from pilot villages, zones and regions and emergence of autonomous and semi-autonomous markets

    The well-tested 'Kickstart' method (identification of key-persons at the village level, organization of promotional meetings, emergence of local demand and supply, facilitating work of client-mason relations, monitoring of market) will be implemented starting from 4 pilot-villages in the Atacora-Donga department. In parallel, a demand for NV housing is likely to emerge outside the pilot-villages. AVN’s team will be involved in the linkage of clients to masons and in the monitoring of this autonomous (client contacts directly the mason) and semi-autonomous (AVN helps the client to find the mason) market. 

    Community Buildings and Acceleration of Training

    The core targets of AVN’s program are private clients in rural and semi-rural areas, so, community buildings are not a special focus of AVN’s global program. Nonetheless, the recent evolution of the NV market has led AVN to undertake a change of strategy, as the demand for NV has boomed, proving that the NV concept is highly appropriate. The supply of NV (i.e. the masons trained in the technique) has also grown, but not as rapidly as the demand - the supply is not meeting the demand. AVN aims to reverse this trend in the two new countries, by training rapidly and effectively the first generation of Ghanaian and Beninese masons, who will become in turn mason-trainers for the new generations.

    AVN has hence decided to target the construction of several community buildings and to exploit them to accelerate the training process. AVN will propose to partners willing to build community buildings a 20-30% increase of the construction time in order to improve the training potential. A strategy has been elaborated for accelerating  the training on these kinds of buildings, involving the selection of apprentices, the role of the trainer, some specific training activities on the building sites, and an improved monitoring of the whole process. 


    Stakeholdersin Benin

    Social Investors:

    In the whole programme:


    FIELD Partners:

    NGOs or local organizations implicated, through financial investment or human resources, in AVN's promotional method.

    • Jura Afrique
    • Dédras


    Slide show