Building with Earth Bricks is the start of rebuilding the whole village!

Key lessons for a great CSEB project

There are many factors to think about when starting a new CSEB project. The following are some of our key lessons to making a CSEB reconstruction project succeed:

Involving the community & social mobilization

It is very very important to listen to the local community. Social mobilization and involving the local people in every aspect of the project makes a huge difference! The key is to involve and prepare everyone as well as to explain the technology before we come and set-up the machine. We have seen that the better prepared and involved the community are the better the project runs.

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Following up with construction/model house

Setting up a machine and training is only the first step to a successful project. The hardest part of a project is usually getting everything organized and to start the project. Once the machine is set-up and production is on-going it is also important to follow up with construction – either a model house, school or any other building. This is key as the construction training is key to learn how to build with Earth Bricks!

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When organizing a house reconstruction project we have found a few different models to be effective.

  • Community driven reconstruction.
    The machine is initially owned by an NGO/INGO but will later be handed over to a committee in the community. The main concept of this model is that the villagers will make their own bricks to save cost and then use those bricks to rebuild their houses.

    The villagers has to form small groups (usually 5-15 houses that are located close together). The machine is setup near their houses. From each household 1-2 persons need to work for the reconstruction. One group can start making brick and another group will dig foundations and start the house construction. A few skilled manpower need to be hired for the complex work.
    Building with earth bricks is quite easy to learn.

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Once the first group of houses have been completed the machine can easily be moved to the second location where a new group will start the same process.

The big advantage of this model is that it is very cost effective. When the houseowners work to make their own bricks the cost per brick will be very low.
This concept also works very well if the idea is to use the same machine for several villages.

  • Building with local entrepreneurs
    After the initial Earth Brick training we find a cooperative, or a few local entrepreneurs who are interested to make bricks and sell as a small business. The entrepreneurs or cooperative has to buy the machine (at a subsidized cost, usually about 30% of actual cost). Once they have bought the machine they will hire local people and produce bricks to sell. They will also take construction contracts and build the houses.

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The House owners can then purchase those bricks (much cheaper than transporting and buying fired bricks). And use those to rebuild their homes.  Or for those who can afford they can hire the entrepreneurs to build the entire house for them.

This model is very good for creating long term economic development and small business in the village. It is also easy to implement.

  • Community Entrepreneurship
    This is a way to mix both the above concepts to get the best from each. The machine will initially be owned by the NGO/INGO and later transferred either to the community or a cooperative.

    Just like in community driven reconstruction we form small groups who work to rebuild their homes, but they do so together with the local entrepreneurs. The local entrepreneurs will do the complex work and get paid for it. The bricks will be produced either by the house owners themselves or by the entrepreneurs.

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Ownership of the machine
We generally recommend the NGO/INGO to keep ownership of the machine initially until the right model for each village has been decided. This way it is always possible to move the machine to another village if required and it is also possible to see what set-up and type of ownership is the most suitable to the specific village!