AVN first set foot in Mali in 2007, when the Spanish NGO Intervida and the Italian NGO Africabougou asked to partner with AVN for the construction of schools in, resepctively, the regions of Segou and Kati. Other partners came on board later:

  • the Spanish NGO Arquitectos sin Fronteras-ASF in Bandiagara for the construction of a dispensary and an onion drying barn
  • the Swiss NGO Aide à Gao for the construction of an orphanage
  • the Asssociations Terre  et Humanisme (French) and UAVES (Malian) who together launched with AVN a franchise program (PVDP-F) in Tacharane (Gao region) in 2010.

These various partners have enabled AVN to become established in Mali, with an expanding program of mason training and the nucleus of an emerging market in NV construction. 

Dispensary, Kati ( NV/RF) with Africabougou

Pélengana Cultural Centre with Intervida

Onion barn, Bandiagara - with ASF

AVN-Mali was officially established in March 2011, with offices in the Pélengana Cultural Centre near Ségou.

 AVN-Mali team, Oct 2011

The team includes Ismaila Diallo (Regional Director), Francis Tiéné (Field Director), Souleymane Koné (Extension Agent), and Mathieu Hardy (Consultant Architect).

Their role is to manage the AVN program regionally and nationally, to train new partners, and to organise and scale up the developing market for NV housing in Mali, using the 'pump-priming' strategy. 

Contact AVN-Mali


Cumulative Results since 2007 (up to Sept 2012)

Since the start of the program in Mali in 2007:

  • 3.1 km of vaults (if laid end-to-end)have been built for 152 clients in 94 localities 
  • by 51 NV masons, artisans, and entrepreneurs
  • for an average annual growth rate of 34 %

In 201274 % of NV clients were rural (mainly subsistence farmers), and 17of the market in NV housing was autonomous (direct contact client <> NV mason/entrepreneur); 16 new NV masons were trained, but the growth rate in the 2011-12 season was lower than average (23%), partly because of the uncertainties caused by the fragile political situation in the country.

Map showing AVN's deployment in Mali

Click the map to enlarge

Analysis by Sector of Activity

Sector 1: Rural & Semi-rural Housing

The families in this sector represent AVN's key target group, reached in two ways:

(1) Independent and semi-independent markets 
Representing about 25 % of the market for NV construction in Mali, and extending beyond AVN's 'pump-primed' action zones; AVN's role is to put potential clients in touch with NV masons and entrepreneurs, and to keep a record of apprentices trained and NV buildings constructed. 
Examples include the buildings constructred by NV masons in the regions of Bamako, Bandiagara, Mopti, Tombouctou, Gao, Kayes, and Tessalit.

NV building in Ségou 

(2) Current regional programs 

  •  Centre-south Region: centred on the towns of Segou and Koutiala, this region of ~ 150 km radius comprises 9 pilot village programs in 5 distinct action zones. Support for the program has come from the BICIM bank in Mali, La Fondation Artelia, La Fondation Lemarchand, La Fondation Triodos, la Fondation Hermes, and La Fondation pour la Nature et l'Homme
  • Zone de Kati:  close to Bamako, NV construction work here is the initiative of independent NV masons who were trained on-site during the coinstruction of community buildings (schools, dispensaries) financed by the Italian NGO Africabougou.
  • Gao Region: the first example in Mali of a program based on collaboration with two partners - Terre et Humanisme in France and UAVES in Mali, an initiative which could develop into a fully-fledged program if political stability returns to the region. 

Siaka Djiré, 'champion' of the Dendjola PVDP (Ségou-Koutiala region)

NV mason in his own NV house,  N'Golofola village, Kati









Sector 2 : Urban Housing

Because of various technical and administrative issues, and the profile of potential clients (relatively wealthy urban families), AVN is not currently involved in promoting construction in this sector in Mali - it would require a new program for which we do not have the resources. 

Sector 3: Complex buildings

The NV concept can be combined with other techniques (e.g. reinforced concrete beams and pillars) for larger and more complex buildings. This market sector is reserved for experienced NV builders. AVN's role here is limited to putting interested field partners in touch with suitable NV entrepreneurs, and, eventually, monitoring the execution of projects.

For example, a construction firm in Gao, in partnership with the Swiss NGO Aide a Gao and the  Provictimis Foundation, has built a big NV orphanage and is ready to take on more orders.

Gao Orphanage (Aide à Gao & Provictimis)

Sector 5: Research & Development

The NV concept has been developed and standardised successfully by AVN in such a way as to simplify training, and to minimise the risk of technical problems arising during and after construction.

To reduce the maintenance load after the rainy seasons, and to improve the waterproofing and anti-erosion properties of NV roofs and walls, AVN masons and technical partners are currently testing various systems and products - for example, the use of tar and cement as additives in external renders.

Another area of R&D is evaluation of ways of adapting the NV concept for larger buildings: for example the use of reinforced concrete (NV+RF) pillars and beams to provide wider vaulted open spaces for classsrooms and dispensaries has been successfully developed in partnership with Africabougou and Arquitectos Sin Fronteras in Mali. 

Dispensary NV + RF at N'Golofola (Africabougou)


Photos from Mali