GW 15.02

GW 15.02

Architecture as Social ambassador

Shimbwe Juu

Social Development - Male Hygiene

6 - 8 weeks

August 2015

Minjeni Womensgroup


Camille Van De Putte

They were in obvious need of improved shelter and, if possible, a way to generate a more stable income. While talking to the family it was clear they had a a liking for taking care of animals. This was above all illustrated by their oldest son Franky, who had recently used the little money he made to buy a buck rabbit. Which he intended to use for breeding rabbits. A lot of people in the area live in a traditional mud house similar to the one the family owns. The dwellings are considered as a temporary home, although most of them will never be able to afford a brick house. Observation of these mud houses learned us that the main reasons of deterioration could be prevented by adapting the design. With this project we want to show the community it is possible to build a strong and durable house on a limited budget while still using local building materials and techniques.



The new building is constructed as a rigid structure of wooden columns and rafters. This wooden framework gave us the freedom to fill in the walls as wanted and eliminates the unfavorable influence of the wet mud on the construction. The nine load-bearing columns are supported by concrete footing in stead of trenches, reducing the amount of concrete needed. The inclined roof covers an area twice the size of the house, and thereby giving the family the possibility to easily expand their home in the future. The overhang of the roof is big enough to keep the walls dry during the rain season. In addition to the traditional branches, chicken wire is used as reinforcement in the mud walls. A brick base and steel feet are integrated into the design acting as physical termite barriers, separating the walls and wooden columns from the soil. Window size was limited for safety and economical reasons, window frames are made out of casting wood and the shutters are closed with branches. Ventilation was provided by leaving the upper part open, without having the risk of cold air flow cooling down the family at night. In a future stage, when the walls are completely dry, the mud walls will sprayed with white lime to fill op the cracks and cover the walls. Four rabbit hutches were constructed in a similar way with leftover materials. The wooden framework was closed carefully with wire mesh to avoid rusty edges at the inside of the cages. With this side project we hope to give Franky the support he needs to start his rabbit business in a positive way.


This project was realized in Shimbwe Juu, a Chagga village located in the tropical forest on the Southern slope of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The family of Didas and Angela was introduced to C-re-a.i.d. by partner organization Minjeni Womensgroup. The main goal of this project was to strengthen the family of five and help them to climb out of their vulnerable situation. Because of the small size of their plot of land and little job opportunity in the area the family has no money to spend on restoration of the house. Due to termites and erosion this resulted into a fast deterioration of their home. The single bedroom mud house they had been living in for six years was already falling into a state of disrepair causing wind and rain to enter. The priorities and needs of the family were discussed and taken into account during the design.