Updated: Dec 31, 2022
Archi Fair: Project Management, Financing and execution of the construction
Hive Earth: Rammed earth consulting and on site workshops. Supporting Archi Fair on site.
LOATAD: Providing books for mud library. On going support with management including reading & writing classes.
Chief Osabarima Baafi Sarpong Kumankoma and The Nsutam community: Supporting the Archifair team during construction.
Ernest Ankomah: Photography ( including all photos in this post)
This project has taken almost 3 years of planning, designing and fundraising. However the construction of the library from start to finish took 16 weeks to complete.
We are truly proud of this project, teamwork really made the outcome of the library what it is today. This library is a true reflection of how community building can work whilst using local, eco-friendly and sustainable materials.
This library will be a great resource for the community, it will be a space where children and adults can have access to books, a place to learn and also have access to ICT facilities.
As well as the resource, the library has brought awareness to the community about the quality of materials around them. Normally earth building in Ghana is associated with poor quality buildings.
Through this project, we have been able to demonstrate how beautiful and strong earth can be. We hope that this building continues to inspire the community to continue to use and promote earth buildings for generations.
The Mud Library
The building consists of the library itself, computer workstations and a conference room. Rainwater harvesting was implemented for the library to provide enough water for the building. The design has a welcoming indoor outdoor feel to encourage all members of the community to feel comfortable using this space. For the windows bamboo screens were used. The window ledges are also wide enough for outdoor seating.
All of the walls are unstabilised( no cement) load bearing rammed earth walls. This was something that was very important for the project as we wanted the materials to be as natural and circular as possible.
With the elimination of cement and iron rods in the rammed earth walls there was also a cost saving.
The floor was made from stabilized poured earth. The roof has large overhangs to stop rain from coming in and to add extra protection to the walls. All the walls are sealed with an eco-friendly acrylic sealant.
Archi fair is an NGO based in Austria led by Anna Schweiger and Jaap Willemsen. Their aim is to improve the housing and socio economic conditions for people on the continent. They do this while also promoting and using eco-friendly local materials.
The building industry is one of the biggest producers of waste and has a huge negative impact on our environment. It is Archi fairs mission to develop high quality and affording housing using eco friendly materials and sustainable building practices.
For the mud library, Archi fair and their team of architects designed the library, raised funds of 35,000 Euros for the project and also brought student volunteers from Europe to help construct the library.
During the construction process Archi fair project managed and organized the day to day of the site.
The library of Africa and the African diaspora is a private library in Accra founded by Sylvia Arthur. LOATAD focus is on books by African descent including African, African American, Caribbean, Black European, Afro-Latin, and Indigenous writers. Since its inception LOATAD mission was to help the literacy challenges that many African countries face. As well as their library they do outreach programs by providing underprivileged communities with books as well as reading and writing classes. LOATAD had already been working with the Nsutam community a few years before construction started. They provide reading and writing classes and also had a small library of books for the community.
LOATAD have now donated hundreds of books to the Mud library. They will play a key role in assisting with the management of the library and also conduct reading and writing classes.
For the duration of the project we provided workshops and consulting services. We taught over 60 student volunteers and community members how to build unstabilised rammed earth walls. We also consulted on the stabilized poured earth floor and defect repair.
Chief Osabarima Baafi Sarpong Kumankoma and The Nsutam community
We first met the Chief after Sylvia from LOATED connected us with him. Sylva first heard of the Chief on the local radio station (radio 1) when he put a call out that he wanted help to build a library in his community.
At the time Joelle (co-founder of Hive Earth) was enquiring about membership at LOATED when her and Sylvia got talking about Community projects. Sylvia mentioned that she did outreach at Nsutam and that she heard on the radio about a chief that wanted a library for his community.
We thought it would be great if we could help, so we set up a meeting with the chief and the community. After this meeting we spoke to our friends at Archi fair who we have worked with on the Mud Cafe in the past. They have alway been talking about coming back to Ghana to do another community build project.
We presented this opportunity to them and they were more than happy to get on board.
The Chief expressed he wanted a space where all the community members, children and adults can have access to books, learn and have an ICT center.
We really admired how involved and passionate the Chief is about his community. The Chief was very accommodating towards the volunteers and played an integral role in making sure the site was ready for constriction and accommodation was provided.
The Nsutam community members also contributed to the construction of the Mud library.
If you have a community project we would love to discuss with you. Kindly send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with more details of your project.
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