Sustainable Construction in Ghana
The overall objectives are that families in the villages of Apraponso and Bomba in Ghana can improve there housing facilities considerably by using bricks of clay - which together with the right building technique is a better building material than the present alternative: concrete bricks.
The more limited goal in this project is to demonstrate that affordable and sustainable houses can be constructed by using the transferred clay brick building technology from Denmark. When this has been demonstrated the wider use of this technology can be replicated in the villages of Apraponso and Bomba, as well as other villages.
The task in Ghana
The task in the villages of Apraponso and Bomba in Ghana is to mobilize the workforce appropriately. The overall objective of FOEB is to develop sustainable houses for as many people as possible and therefore the social angle is the top priority. It is the opinion of FOEB that this should be done with commercial technologies in order to achieve the necessary long term impact. FOEB realized in the beginning of their research that it was difficult to combine a commercial approach with a social purpose. This difficulty is deeply rooted in the vast economic differences between the villages and the larger towns. Businesses will naturally thrive in the cities, but not in the villages where the purchasing power is nearly non existent.
By providing the villages with a clay brick machine for a period of time, supported by other activities, the desired transfer of technology and know- how will be provided.
The training of the craftsmen and the apprentices (their own workforce) is important, but not enough. Several actions in the villages have to be coordinated and part of their cooperation has to be concentrated on new activities instead of preserving all the old traditions and looking passively to the development around them. That’s why the Village Committees has to be empowered.
Most importantly, the clay brick product is sustainable in any sense of the word and Ghana has this raw material at their fingertips in nearly every building area. They also have today the capacity to run and maintain the technology transferred.
Another important part of the strategy is the demonstration houses. With these houses, the inhabitants of the villages and visitors to TAkoradi Technical Institute (TTI) can see the results for themselves. It will be easier to inform politicians and other interested parties, and it is part of the strategic plan to do that in Ghana as well as in Holbæk, Denmark.
The commercial price of a Clay Brick will be 2/3 (including the cost of investing in a machine) of the price of concrete bricks. That means that carrying through necessary projects in the villages like schools, housing, etc, will improve the quality of life in the villages in two ways: through the new housing itself and through the salary to the workers.
With a successful completion of the project, the technical “know- how” will have been achieved and affordable and improved housing using own workforce will be clarified and taken into consideration in other villages. Construction of schools helps equally girls as boys, as all children attend school in Ghana, where schools exist.
From a practical point of view, it is important to note that the clay brick machine has a capacity of 240,000 bricks per year, which is enough to serve at least 6 villages in the development phase, but here the parallel development of training in construction technology is crucial. In Mpohor Wassa East District, there is around 120 Villages.
With implementation of the project the foundation is laid for cooperation with TTI. The school will gain the capacity to carry out courses in the future, and on top of that the concept and lessons learned here is fairly easy transferred to other NGO’s and technical schools in Ghana.
With the completion of this project the foundation for our overall goal has been achieved: to implement sustainable and economical building techniques in Ghana.
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