GW 15.06


This project was located in Mikocheni, a dry, semi-arid area in the South of Moshi. Several members of the involved family live here close together in 4 different mud-huts around an open communal area. All four huts, build out of a wooden structure filled in with mud and covered with a papyrus-roof, were facing the same problems:

  • The mud, with which the wood structure is filled up with, dries quickly due to the sun, shrinks then heavily, and crumbles down as a result. Because of this the huts become very dusty and are not safe to live in anymore. The family’s solution for this problem was using more (scarce) wood for making the structure.
  • The papyrus-roofs are seriously affected by insects and outside (sun) and inside (cooking) challenges.
  • The ground in Mikocheni contains salts which, in combination with water, eat away all kinds of building materials going from wood to steel, bricks and cement.

GW 15.06

Design, Built and Spread the word

Mikocheni Chini

Renovation - Innovation - Community Development

8 weeks

July - August 2015

Ft Kilimanjaro


Marie Heyvaert & Carmen Martens


We decided to break down the worst mud-hut of the four, recycling the wood, and making a new mud-hut with new innovative techniques based on the local way of building. We chose the house to be partially private and partially commercial (shop/restaurant) so that the whole family could benefit from it. We started the design with doing some research concerning the mud-mixture. By adding additives as sand and fibers (sawdust) to the clayey soil of Mikocheni we managed to make a mixture that shrinks less and is stronger. Because of the different characteristics of this new mixture we needed to apply a different technique to put the mud in to the wood structure. By pressing the mud into the structure instead of throwing it in we accomplished to make new strong walls for the house. Because of a stronger mud-mixture and the use of ropes (like a net) we could also reduce the wood for the structure quiet a lot. As to the roof we used the corrugated roof instead of papyrus. Although this was not the most ecological chose, it limited the problems concerning insects and dust a lot. Finally we made sure that the wooden structure couldn’t touch the ground by using a plastic sheet to separate the building from the soil. This way we could avoid the salts to affect the building.


With this project we hope not only to have supported and inspire this family, but a lot of families in Mikocheni who live in similar mud huts that face the same problem.