June 2003

Guillermo, a voice we should listen to

Martín Meléndez   

I met Guillermo (William) Chavarría in the mid nineties on a visit to Salama, Guatemala, to observe adobe houses. My first impression was that I was before a man of firm judgement, a man who knew what he wanted for him, for his family and for his its town.

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Metal structures for Micro Concrete Roofs

Kurt Rhyner   


Many people decide to build their houses with metal structures because of timber shortages. While the art of carpentry has evolved over the centuries and been passed from one generation to another, metal structures are a new phenomena. Their practical application is often accompanied by errors because the metalworkers do not necessarily understand the concept of roof structures. The present article seeks to help clear up these difficulties.

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An ecomaterials workshop

Kurt Rhyner   

It is a small factory for construction materials in Diriamba, Nicaragua, producing Micro Concrete Roofing (MCR) tiles as well as hollow blocks and paving bricks. Micro Concrete Roofing tiles are by now a standard product in many countries of Latin America and the workshop actually has been producing since 1985 in one form or another. It probably was the first commercial MCR producer in Latin America, and maybe the oldest active one in the world.

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Cooking stoves and brick production – a burning problem

Fernando Martirena, Tom Miles, Kurt Rhyner   

Many rural dwellers around the world use firewood to cook their food, as well as for semi-industrial production like clay bricks and lime. Deforestation and growing urbanization result in high costs that affect them directly and immediately and we know that this problem is growing worse.

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News - June 2003

Aids program in CHP Namibia
The CHP bought 3000 condoms to supply their workers. They are offered free at the office and the store room at the building site. Two local health specialists came to the building site and told some 60 workers basic facts about HIV/ AIDS and explained how to use condoms for women and men. There were many questions and at the end of the session the CHP gave out small boxes with 6 condoms each. Each month the CHP provides around 3,000 condoms to its workers and self-builders.

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Alfredo in Ecuador
ECOSur caricaturist, Alfredo Martirena, applied his artistic talents to illustrate a technical manual for SEDAL en Ecuador for the schools of capacitation for the breeding of Cuyes (Cavia porcellus), known in the English-speaking world as the Andean rabbit. This task brought him close to the villages and people involved in order to understand the breeding and care of the Cuy, an important source of protein for the people of the region.

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Pedals for Progress extends in Nicaragua
Long-time bicycle “experts”, Carla Bello and Wilfredo Santana, will be opening new branches of the popular Pedals for Progress bicycle recycling program in Nicaragua. P4P gathers used bicycles in the U.S. and through southern partners makes the bicycles available to the public at affordable prices. After initiating Pedals for Progress activities with ADC-Rivas and EcoTec S.A., they will be breathing new life into bicycle recycling in Rivas and starting up activities in Granada.

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Wilfredo Santana
Business Administrator
Project management, operational setup of projects, control mechanisms (financial and administration)


Molino mezclador de lodo para ladrillos
Earth mill for fired clay bricks - electric motor
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