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Untold millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to decent and affordable housing.
Deforestation has led to scarcity of timber and straw for traditional roof construction. Families spend meagre cash resources on imported and expensive sawn timber and sheet metal to put a roof over their heads, further worsening the vicious circle of poverty in which they are trapped.
The Nubian Vault Association (AVN, Association la Voute Nubienne), through its 'Earth Roofs in the Sahel' Program, offers a valid, affordable, and appropriate technical solution to this problem, based on three integrated concepts: A roof + A Skill + A Market
The Manifesto reviews the fundamental role of housing in human activity, before examining the specific issue of housing for the populations of the regions of Africa with a Sahelian environment, and the escalation of this problem caused by climate change.
It emphasises the need for a detailed consideration of this issue. Those actively involved in global and sustainable development are urged to make a resolute commitment to bring about a positive and measurable transformation of the situation in the medium-term and, ultimately, its reversal.
AVN organises the training and support of local teams to promote this solution for as many people as possible, as soon as possible, by generating a large-scale market in Nubian Vault construction. As a result, families can acquire comfortable, sustainable, and decent housing, at the same time improving their economic conditions, their quality of life, and their environment.
A Roof >> Nubian Vault (NV) construction uses local skills and labor and renewable materials (earth, rocks, water...) for sustainable low cost homes and other buildings. They are environmentally friendly and cheaper, more comfortable and longer lasting than the widespread, but expensive and sub-standard cement block, metal roofed buildings.
A Skill >> Masons trained through AVN's Program have built more than 2,000 homes and other structures for their clients. NV building creates jobs, reduces poverty and releases scarce resources to go to improved nutrition, health, education, and capital for improved economic productivity.
A Market >> AVN works to diffuse the NV technique and create a demand for NV housing, kick-starting a durable market for NV construction: local people take ownership of the concept to become clients, builders, or partners.
The aim now is to spread this successful economic development experience to new areas, from the three initial countries of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal into neighboring countries, especially Ghana and Benin.