Edition 37 - December 2010

Home Improvement in Brasil

Mejorando la casa en Brasil

Amelie Estrada, architect from Ecosur Nicaragua and Diego Coloma, technician from EcoSur Ecuador, visited the project "Home Improvement" (Caprichando a Morada in Portuguese), implemented by the Rural Housing Cooperative COOPERHAF in Chapecó city, state of Santa Catarina, winner of the World Habitat Award 2009, granted by the Building and Social Housing Foundation.

Read more: Home Improvement in Brasil

Clay bricks with neutral carbon emissions


The fifth Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln (VSBK) in Chambo, Ecuador was tested the last November 22 and was a success as planed. The efficiency in the temperature control and speed of burning predicts a promising future for the sustainability of the artisanal clay brick making.

Read more: Clay bricks with neutral carbon emissions

Micro-Concrete Roofing tiles: a School for Life.

La Teja de MicroConcreto: Una Escuela para la vida

In Cali, the third largest city in Colombia, the School for Life Foundation started the production of MicroConcrete Roofing tiles (MCR) in a project that includes workshops on bamboo and wood building, masonry, gastronomy and marketing & sales.

Read more: Micro-Concrete Roofing tiles: a School for Life.

School renovations in the north of Nicaragua.

Through a partnership between the city of Saarlouis, southwest Germany, and Matiguás, north of Nicaragua, a school located in San Carlos, Pancasán, was remodeled as the first part of a project funded through DESWOS.

Escuelas en el norte de Nicaragua

Read more: School renovations in the north of Nicaragua.

Rebuilding schools in Haiti

After the earthquake in Haiti, the village of Liancourt, 100 km north of Port au Prince, has received thousands of people returning from the capital to his hometown. The homes that were occupied only by an elderly couple now have 8 or 10 people because the children with their wives, husbands and grandchildren have returned from the big cities devastated by the earthquake.
This sudden increase in population has put great pressure on the public service systems, including education.

Reconstruyendo casas en Haití

Read more: Rebuilding schools in Haiti

Dry Toilets in rural area of Ecuador

Thanks to the Santa Marianita neighborhood organization in Guano-Ecuador, and the persistence of their leaders, the construction of 15 dry toilets were delivered to the Mayor of the Municipality of Guano and the Prefecture of the province of Chimborazo to improve hygiene, privacy and quality of life in general of its inhabitants.

Inodoros Secos en zona rural de Ecuador

Read more: Dry Toilets in rural area of Ecuador

Dry Toilets in El Salvador

inodoro_seco_salvadorThrough a South-Souht technology and information exchange, the first Dry Toilet was built in El Salvador (and the first in all Central America), in a housing project built by the Cooperative Asociation in Savings and Credit Solidary Women, ACAMS, in the town of Tejutepeque.

Estuardo Quispillo, head of the Constructions Departament from Red EcoSur Ecuador, flew to El Salvador for a week, from august 16th to 20th, 2010, to give an assesment in Dry Toilets and build the first one in a new settlement, 10 km away from Tejutepeque.

Read more: Dry Toilets in El Salvador

Knowledge in the hands of the people

Knowledge in the hands of the people In a meeting for the 30 years of Grupo Sofonías, a draft about the philosophy of the EcoSur Newtork was made, based in the principles of the open source code:
  • Knowledge must be available in a free manner
  • The tools to develop and apply that knowledge must be available in the local language
  • People must be able to modify and inprove that knowledge as they needed
  • Any modification or improvement to that knowledge must be returned to the community

Read more: Knowledge in the hands of the people

Strenght test to the FerroCement Panels

Panels of  Ferro Cement  (PFC) have been used by EcoTec in Nicaragua since 1991, when the Cuban EcoSur partner CECAT intorduced them.  The system had been developped by Dr. Hugo Wainsthok who in earlier years had built large fisherboats in ferrocement and in 1984  built a series of two-storey houses with panels in Cuba.

Los Paneles de FerroCemento se han usa

Read more: Strenght test to the FerroCement Panels

From mule trails to the electronic highway

A revolutionary decade for south-south knowledge sharing

Sharing implies having something to share and not being afraid to share it, a give and take.
Often the word “sharing” is substituted by “management”, becoming knowledge management and which implies a power relationship. This relationship is usually just another step on the continuum of north-south power.

By Kathryn Pozak

De caminos de mulas a la autopista de la información

Read more: From mule trails to the electronic highway

SwissContact meets the Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln in Ecuador

Sandra Gavilanez, from SwissContact Ecuador, Gina Galvez, from SwissContact Peru, co-director of the Clean Air Regional Program and Eduardo Idrovo, Environmental Quality Techinician from the Environmental Commision of the Municipality of Cuenca, Azuay Province, were very impressed by the energy saving possibilities of the brick kilns built by the EcoSur Network in Chambo through the project "Sustainable Ecological and Economical Production of Bricks"

In Peru, the Clean Air Regional Program (PRAL) seeks that the organizations in charge of the air quality management, in Arequipa and Cusco, implement, through sustainable and replicable models, the objectives of the "To Clean the Air" program in the Peruvian national, regional and local environmental management framework.

The Municipality of Cuenca carries out an improvement in the traditional brick kilns and soon, the traditional artisans and brick makers will be visiting Chambo to look at the eficiency and operation of the Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln (VSBK)

SwissContact meets the Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln in Ecuador

You are here: Home Edition 37


Bernardo RhynerBernardo Rhyner
Swiss - Canadian
Spanish, English, German and some French.
Construction with ecomaterials, implementation of housing projects


In 2005, SofoNic has started a dual education program for masons in Nicaragua, using its house-building programs as a base. Teaming up with the local technical school in Jinotepe they are graduating about ten masons every year since. Most f them have found jobs in construction or have started a business on their own. SofoNic has contracted several of them as master masons in the reconstruction programs in Haiti.