Sustainable building in Djibouti


Originally uploaded by US Army Africa

The Djiboutian Red Crescent Society (DRCS) held a two-day Superadobe Training Seminar Oct. 28-29, in partnership with a team from the U.S. Army 418th Civil Affairs Battalion, Company C, to teach sustainable building techniques.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Erickson, a graduate of The California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture Superadobe training course, led volunteers from Djibouti, Obock, Tadjoura, Balbala and Dikhil through step-by-step instruction, which provided students with fundamental skills to build a sustainable eco-dome structure.

“Acquiring this skill will enable these students to be able to build their own structure in their community, as well as allow them to train others how to build a structure,” said Red Crescent Secretary General Abdi Khaireh, who passed out certificates of achievement to the 15 students who completed the seminar.

Female Red Crescent volunteers participated in the seminar as well, each student working on an example dome at the DRCS compound in Balbala.

An eco-dome structure consists of sandbags filled with earth, placed in layers or long coils, with strands of barbed wire placed between them for reinforcement against the elements. Erickson and a team of military volunteers recently built a prototype structure on base at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.

The Eco-Dome was engineered by the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture to provide comfortable, economical and sustainable building solutions for impoverished and natural disaster stricken-areas. The design ensures the structure will be resistant to earthquakes, fire, flood and hurricanes.

Teaching eco-dome building aims to benefit communities by making available an inexpensive alternate to constructing brick-and-mortar structures, said Erickson.

Many participants expressed their desire to teach others what they learned.

“I would like to finish this house and assist on future projects in my village,” said Moustapha Osman, a Red Crescent volunteer.

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