In 2016, over
Nubian Vaults built
and over
tons of CO₂ eq avoided
The Nubian Vault Association (NVA) project aims to guarantee African rural communities access to sustainable, adapted and ecological housing, with a very low carbon footprint, by taking action on both climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.

The program meets the constraints imposed by climate change in the housing sector, by encouraging the use of earth to cover constructions in arid areas. The Nubian Vault technique makes up for the increasing lack of timber resources (wood, straw, posts) and limits the use of imported materials, such as sheet metal, cement or wooden rafters.

The areas targeted by the program – Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal – are at risk from drought, which causes a decline in crops and incomes for rural dwellers, as well as migratory flows towards urban centers. By mainly targeting a rural population with low incomes, NVA offers an alternative to the unique solution of corrugated iron roofs currently available and legal. It sensitizes these communities to a new form of quality housing with optimized thermal comfort by using available materials.

The program strengthens local entrepreneurship by supporting the development of the market in rural and semi-rural areas, by relying on franchised partners and a revitalization of cultural values of local self-help. Capacity building for local teams and the precision of the method of popularization should improve the dissemination of the NV technique in the countries of operation and beyond.

“What results have been achieved by the Nubian Vault program since it was set up in 2000?

The average growth in the number of constructions stands at approximately 30%. Over 2,000 Nubian Vaults have been built by a network of 270 masons in over 400 municipalities in Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal, for some 14,000 beneficiaries.

This has, among other things, saved 4,000 tons of CO2 eq, 2,600 trees and generated a local economy of over EUR 1.4m.

The results are clear, and for the first time, all the aspects of the program seem mature, complete and functional:

  • Demand currently higher than supply,
  • A functional large-scale popularization methodology, described and mastered by NVA executives,
  • A successful regional replication in 10 regions, including 5 in Burkina Faso, 3 in Mali, and 2 in Senegal,
  • The start of replication in other West African countries (Benin, Ghana...)
  • And, finally, the continued support of Foundations (Hermès, Ensemble, Accor, Nicolas Hulot...), but also, since 2012, the first major public partnerships (FFEM and AFD).

Yet the challenge remains considerable, as to turn around the problem of housing in Sahelian Africa, 5% of the population will need to be reached. And to achieve this, it is essential to rapidly increase the growth in production.”

Thomas Granier, CEO and Co-founder of NVA.
Nubian vault
nubian vault
The program’s objectives by 2020
NVA is gradually withdrawing from the market which it has set up, leaving long-term social impacts for Sahelian communities.

The main structure of the Nubian Vault built stock is estimated at EUR 12m by 2020 and EUR 40m by 2025. The annual value of the independent market for NV construction is estimated at EUR 4m by 2020 for over 100,000 m² of floor space.

The NV buildings are more comfortable and more sustainable and their total cost is about 25% lower compared to conventional construction costs. The savings made by households are reinjected into health and education expenditure, etc.

The NVA program also means tens of thousands of local jobs that contribute to reducing the poverty of Sahelian communities and to boosting rural areas.
nubian vault
The program’s scaling-up strategy
The real scaling-up of the program will take place when development actors take up the popularization methodology of the NV concept and finance the means to develop it.

This crucial turning point is currently happening.

The first mobilizations of civil society organizations and local political actors will allow a real scaling-up of the program by providing specific financing, offering NVA a position as the operator in order to put its entrepreneurial activities at the service of its social missions.

Furthermore, thanks to the maturity acquired, NVA has the capacity to conduct additional activities to support the market. This particularly involves projects for technical Research & Development (specific needs for community and urban buildings), the formalization of part of the NV artisans, R&D on home loans or the rehousing of displaced persons.

NVA is consequently continuing a development which will allow it to provide access to decent and adapted housing for as many people as possible and as quickly as possible in Sub-Sahelian Africa.
An internationally recognized program

NVA has received a number of awards for its actions. The association has received awards from the Schwab Foundation, MEAE and AFD, Seed Initiative, the Government of Dubai in partnership with UN-Habitat, the World Bank’s Development Marketplace and, very recently, the World Habitat Award in 2017.