identity card

The deployment of the Nubian Vault started in 2014 in Ghana around Bolgatanga area. Nowadays, 4 local employees and a volunteer are disseminating the Nubian Vault on 2 regions: Bolgatanga et Garu.


AVN's office in Bolgatanga

Congress of NV masons in Ghana

local context

In the northern half of the country:

  • Sudano-Sahelian climate
  • Strong need for economic development (in particular for youth employment) - GDP per capita: $1,369 (23rd in Africa)*
  • Tradition of earth-based architecture
  • Close to Burkina Faso and linguistic closeness with the Burkinabe border dialects
  • The programme's first English-speaking country: opportunities for new English-speaking partners and to expand to other English-speaking zones (eastern and southern Africa)

* Source : Banque Mondiale / Actualix (chiffres 2015)


Territorial rollout

key data

  • 2012 and 2013: exploratory missions and recruitment of a national coordinator (VSI)
  • 2014: establishment of a team and launch of the programme from Bolgatanga in the Upper-East region, which borders Burkina Faso
  • 2015 and 2016: building begins at first private and institutional sites, masons and apprentices are trained, institutional partnerships


Map showing deployment of AVN's Program in Ghana (August 2016)

During the season 2015-16

  • +2 pilot villages active in 1 region
  • +7 sites bringing the number of sites with at least one NV building up to 11
  • Preparatory activities to expand to a new rural region during the 2016–2017 season

analysis by sector of activity

Technical Boosted Training (F-DYN T)
In addition to the traditional on-site training ("on-the-job" training), since 2014 AVN has been further bolstering the technical training received by masons and apprentices, taught by trainer masons selected for their technical, pedagogical and interpersonal skills. on season 2015-16, 72 working sites (17%) with technical boosted training have been completed included 4 in ghana.

Learn more on Technical Boosted Training

buildings constructed


NV building in Anafobiisi

For the past two seasons kickstarting the NV market has focused on the city of Bolgatanga, using two strategies: awareness raising to supply and demand responding to clients and partnership opportunities. The increasing demand AVN has seen has come from a clientele of shopkeepers/civil servants and from NGOs/CBOs, as reflected in the size and finishings of the buildings. The peri-urban context of Ghana, in which community support is not as present and the cost of labour is higher, means that access to NVs is difficult (labour-intensive) for the core target of smallholder clients. Thus, a process to re-focus the programme on rural areas has begun, starting at the end of this season, with the first awareness-raising activities taking place and the hiring of an employee in order to expand into the more rural Garu region.

Institutional and political advocacy at communal, regional and national level has been well-received, meaning that political ownership and management of the programmes on professional training, social housing, community buildings for education and health care, etc., could be considered. Discussions between partners and civil society bodies have advanced but need to be even more extensive in order to find adequate methods

Summary of NV buildings constructed, 2015–2016:

  • 38% carried out in pilot villages
  • 44% of buildings built in rural areas
  • 75% used for housing
  • 63% built for the core target clientele (farmers, shopkeepers and civil servants)
  • 50% of worksites include boosted training activities

training of a workforce


In order to rapidly create Ghanaian supply and to meet the demand for NVs, five Burkinabe worksite foremen and seven masons and apprentices have been mobilised.
The AVN team supported these foreign masons in their commercial relationship with the clients and in training the Ghanaian apprentices, helping them to overcome differences of language, currency and units of measurement.

Most of the Ghanaian apprentices, including 15 new ones this season, are cement masons with general knowledge of masonry, allowing them to make rapid progress. Although the objective of having the first Ghanaian artisan trained this season was not achieved, several good candidates have emerged and could qualify next season.

local partnerships

Prospective partnerships are emerging, in particular with the Youth Harvest Foundation (YHF), an NGO based in Bolgatanga, which supported AVN in kickstarting the community market by seeking out and raising awareness with farmers' groups.

Visit the partners webpage

institutional development

For the last two seasons, AVN has strengthened its advocacy efforts vis-à-vis national bodies, encouraging their interest in the NV solution both as an integrated solution that supports housing policies and as a solution for rural development, vocational training and employment, economic development, environmental protection and adaptation to climate change.

Rural development, economic development and sustainable development:

  • Interest expressed by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) in jointly organizing a side event during the Habitat III conference
  • Proposed partnership with the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council, with the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority, a public agency responsible for rural development projects in the three northern regions, and with the Ghana Education Service (GES)

Housing: Partnership currently underway with the Department for Rural Housing in the Upper-East region, to focus on strengthening the technical and entrepreneurial abilities of NV masons

Environment and climate: From the start of the 2014–2015 season, AVN has supported negotiators in West African countries in preparing their respective commitments for the Paris Agreements, set out in the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). In Ghana, the Ministry of Environment, Sciences and Technological Innovation (MESTI) and the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) are expressing a growing interest: following meetings held during COP21, AVN presented its programme at the National Forum on Drought and Desertification held in Bolgatanga in June 20.

Employment, vocational training and youth integration:

  • Interest in the NV concept expressed by the Ghana Social Opportunity Project (GSOP) as a labour intensive technique; a pilot project will be funded next season
  • Project proposed to the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training



annual report 2015-16

annual report 2014-15