Dignified Rural Home Design in Rwanda Using Adobe Block

Rural houses in Rwanda are typically constructed out of adobe blocks, a material freely available because of the abundant clay in the soil. Rural households have low incomes and construct very basic dwellings that often have flaws that cause problems for the health and general comfort of the occupants. EarthEnable has been actively working in Rwanda to install earthen floors in rural houses that is one element that greatly improves interior conditions, and they are interested in expanding and exploring implementing the design of adobe houses to further their impact. 

The team conducted 25 household surveys in two districts to discover what were the greatest challenges that households face with their houses. The results showed that overheating, dampness, and poor ventilation were key challenges among others. In response to these specific needs, the team designed a prototype sample house and a catalogue of design details to address many of the challenges, with the hope that they can be implemented in a future initiative for improving the construction of rural houses. 

EarthEnable will be able to use the catalog to construct a sample home and also make it available to households who may decide to implement the full design or particular details depending on their budget. 


E4C 2021 PROGRAM MANAGEMENT TEAM: Mariela Machado, Senior Program Manager; Grace Burleson, Research Manager; Marilynn Holguín Clover, Program Coordinator; Jonathan Kemp, Program Associate 

ADVISORS AND COLLABORATORS: Athanase Nzayisenga, Global R&D Manager; Sylvere Nsengimana, Rwanda R&D Manager; Mizero Jeanne D’Arc Akayezu, R&D Officer


This research was completed as part of the 2021 E4C Fellowship program. Learn more about the Fellows who worked on this research collaboration by connecting with them on LinkedIn: Elisabeth Vitswamba, and Simeon Bunani.

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