In sub-Saharan Africa, traditional building techniques are no longer feasible; due to increased deforestation use of timber for roofing and posts is not viable. Adapting an ancient architectural technique used in Sudan and Asia to West Africa, provides an affordable alternative. The Voute Nubienne (VN) or Nubian Vault technique uses local materials (mud bricks dried in the sun) and local labor to construct low cost vaulted roofs. Earth roofs in the Sahel, a program of the Association La Voûte Nubienne, is providing communities with a practical option to building with imported metal sheet roofing materials and expensive timber. The first VN building was built in Burkina Faso 10 years ago. Since then over 340 vaults have been built, 60 VN builders have been trained and are setting themselves up as local entrepreneurs, and 100 apprentices are undergoing training on VN building sites. The method has spread from Burkina Faso to Mali, Senegal, Togo and Ivory Coast.

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