Thomas Granier, CEO of AVN, was made a Knight of the French Order of Merit on May 15th, in recognition of his tireless work in promoting sustainable and affordable housing in Africa. Read more...
To do this, the Association trains and guides extension agents to 'pump-prime' local markets, starting from a base of pilot villages, evolving into pilot zones, and then into entire regions.
Adjara is an extension agent for AVN in Burkina Faso, based with the AVN team in Boromo. She explains her approach here:
"1 In a pilot village (a main village and its direct satellites), I identify and prepare a local ‘champion’ convinced of the NV technique and influential locally
2 I accompany my ‘champion’ to meetings to explain the NV technique and attract potential clients and apprentices, thus opening the door to a NV market.
3 I send a NV builder (C5) to start the local market; paid by his clients, he builds the first NV houses and trains the first local apprentices on-site. I accompany him, along with my ‘champion’ so that the market develops better.
4 Progressively, over 4 to 5 years, the program of awareness raising, construction, and training reaches a self-sustaining level, with the emergence of an autonomous local market; I can then withdraw, leaving the place to locally trained NV masons.
5 In an area of 40 km around this pilot village, other villages will experience the same process, thus promoting the emergence of a larger pilot zone
6 At the same time, other NV extension agents are developing nearby pilot zones, extending the program to a regional footing.
Using this approach, my colleagues and I promote the NV solution on a large scale, moving on to new areas as soon as local independent markets have emerged..."
Scenes from promotional meetings
The table below shows an example of the quantitative impacts that can be generated during the four phases of implementation of the pump-priming strategy at village level.
|Phase||Vaults built||Direct beneficiaries||
|1||5 < 15||20 < 125||2 < 8||2 < 4|
|2||15 < 25||50 < 150||6 < 12||4 < 6|
|3||20 < 35||80 < 200||10 < 15||6 < 9|
Our objective over the next 15 years, is to promote national self-sustaining markets in NV housing by multiplying such initiatives through:
AVN extension agents are also involved in helping and training staff of partner organisations wishing to include the NV concept in their own development work. Our program thus benefits from the experience and local networks of such 'franchised' partners.
One or more staff members from a franchised partner, after training with AVN, will then set up and manage a program of recruitment and training of local masons, and construction of houses and other buildings in their locality. Such staff members stay in touch with an AVN team, receive ongoing training and support, and their work and that of their masons is subject to quality control from AVN.
A typical training and support program for a franchised staffer includes:
A young franchised staffer waiting to start his training program !
Client Type 1: Bambriogani, Burkina Faso, 2011
Client Type 2: Séguére / Samandéni, Burkina Faso, 2009
Client Type 3: Guéguéré / Dano, Burkina Faso, 2009
Client Type 4: Pèlengana Cultural Centre, Ségou, Mali, 2008
Client Types 1 & 2: Coucou Mosque, Ségou / Koutiala, Mali, 2010
Some institutional buildings, for example the mosques built by village communities, fit in the main target group (T1) category, as they are embedded in local economic circuits, and also play a major role in popularizing the NV concept.
The majority of AVN's resources (~ 80%) target our main priority groups of 'bottom of the pyramid' families surviving in an informal economy in rural and semi-rural sectors (T1, T2). But as the NV concept becomes better known, other client groups, such as urban families, local authorities, NGO's (T3, T4) are appearing and expanding the market for trained NV builders and entrepreneurs.
The situation on the ground, the different needs of our target groups, and AVN's limited resources mean that we have to 'sectorize' and prioritize our activities:
About 20% of AVN's resources are currently deployed in Sectors 2,3, & 4. Although these are low priority sectors, they nevertheless provide a significant market opportunity for some VN buiders and entrepreneurs, provide good training opportunities for apprentices, and increase the local visibility and levels of awareness of AVN.
As well as deploying extension agents such as Adjara to pump-prime a local market in pre-defined zones, AVN through its network of contacts, also puts NV builders and entrepreneurs in touch with potential clients, providing support where needed in defining construction projects, and in monitoring the selection and training of apprentices. We call this a semi-autonomous market. By 2012, 40% of clients were identified through local 'champions' and other intermediaries, and 23% via AVN itself.
As the number and reputation of NV builders increases, an autonomous market is appearing, with builders finding clients and apprentices on their own account, without support from AVN. However, most of these builders stay in touch with AVN, and many attend our masons' congresses, held at the start and finish of each building season, to exchange ideas and contacts, and to update AVN on their work. In 2012, 35% of the NV market was completely autonomous, with clients contacting NV builders directly.
There are also trained NV builders who have lost contact with AVN, and have become completely independent, working in a (to us) invisible market. This is the ultimate goal of the program, of course, and an indicator of its true success.