The French photographer Régis Bernard visited AVN's program in Senegal this year, and sent us these magnificent images of NV masons and their work. Click here to view ...
The NV masons, builders, and entrepreneurs come from rural or semi-rural backgrounds in the countries where AVN operates. Many are farmers who have been trained through the AVN program to the level of site foreman or builder-entrepreneur (over 100 in 2011). There are also some NV masons working with construction firms in urban areas, or on institutional building projects.
Many of the NV mason-entrepreneurs operate independently, having developed their own networks of clients in their neigbourhoods and regions: they are creating an autonomous market in NV housing.
Nevertheless, one of AVN's roles is to initiate semi-autonmous markets in NV construction, by putting potential clients in touch with available NV masons.
Some experienced VN masons with good inter-personal and communication skills are engaged by AVN to help open new programs pro-actively, using their knowledge and skills to promote the NV concept and help in the emergence of new markets in NV housing.
Bearing in mind that the AVN Program's main priority is the rural population, used to handling their housing needs through informal commercial channels, and that the masons come from the same rural background, few VN builders are able to produce formal quotes, insurance, or ten-year guarantees. Most of them, however, are able to give reliable cost estimates, and AVN local staff are always available to advise on quotations and costs.
As many clients often contribute unskilled labour, transport, brick-making etc, estimates produced by the NV builders will take this into account as appropriate.
A guideline: a team of 8 (1 NV foreman, 1 NV mason, 2 NV apprentices, and 4 unslkilled labourers) can build 1 linear metre of vault in two days, provided all the materials (rocks, bricks, earth, water) are available on-site.