Buying a hand-press interlocking soil block machine for Omilling, a remote mountain village, will create construction jobs for women, help speed up reconstruction, and help preserve the environment.
War-ravaged Magwi County is in dire need of permanent homes for the 100,000 refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) flooding the area. Building materials are in short supply, however, and people are cutting down trees at an alarming rate. Severe deforestation (Sudan has one of the worst deforestation problems in the world) causes soil erosion, reduces agricultural productivity and biodiversity, makes the local climate drier, and contributes to climate change worldwide. Blocks are a better choice, but manufactured ones are expensive to buy and transport. The cement many require for mortar is equally expensive to buy and transport. The alternative, making blocks one at a time with hand presses, is time consuming. The firing process also exposes workers to toxic smoke and contributes to deforestation.
Hope Ofiriha’s Omilling Block Maker Project will buy a hand-press interlocking soil block machine for an association of women construction workers in Omilling. Production of interlocking soil-compressed blocks is environmentally friendly because very little water and cement and no firewood are used in production. It is also much cheaper because they are produced locally with local soil and eliminate the need for mortar.
Potential Long-Term Impact
The use of natural, locally available materials will make permanent housing available to more people more quickly, keep money in the local economy, and help preserve the environment. At the same time, empowering women to band together to earn a decent living will give them the confidence to transform their lives and their community.