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Voute Nubienne - building Earth Roofs in the Sahel

Voute Nubienne - building Earth Roofs in the Sahel

The Nubian Vault Association trains entrepreneurs in the ancient technique of building durable roofs from unfired earth. Addressing the dramatic lack of access to decent and affordable housing in the region, these entrepreneurs both teach the technique and make a living from their construction skills.

The Nubian Vault Association (Association la Voûte Nubienne, AVN) offers a global solution aimed at resolving housing problems in the Sahel zone. The solution draws on an ancestral building technique that does not use wood, sheet metal or cement, and can be mastered by skilled masons according to the local market situation. AVN has developed an innovative solution to housing problems in the Sahel zone. AVN contacts local institutions and informs them about its new approach, “1 roof, 1 skill, 1 market”: “1 roof” refers to the Nubian vault, a construction technique developed by AVN that can be used to build sustainable housing. “1 skill” refers to the fact that AVN has standardised the technique used by skilled masons, who in turn train apprentices. “1 market” refers to the involvement of local extension agents trained to raise awareness about the AVN concept. The local institutions contract with AVN’s local extension agents to pass on this approach to members of the community and stimulate demand for the comfortable, robust and environmentally friendly housing constructed using this new technique. Networks of such extension agents enable the large scale dissemination of the Nubian vault market. 

  • Increase the market for Nubian vaults in the Boromo region, Burkina Faso.
  • Stimulate markets in new regions in countries where the initiative is already established.
  • Expand into new West and East African countries, particularly Benin and Zambia.
  • Train new extension agents – both in-house agents and franchisees – to stimulate existing markets and enable greater geographical coverage.


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