Earthworks Construction

Every effort was made to build Sandele in a highly environmentally friendly way. We looked world-wide for the best practices in sustainable design using local materials and labour and visited Auroville in India where we also sent two Gambians to learn the technology and construction methods.

Based on what was learnt in Auroville, we constructed the buildings with compressed, stabilized earth blocks (CSEB’s), using lime as the stabilizing agent for the internal walls. Almost all the construction materials were sourced, with the exception of cement which is used minimally, from within a five-kilometre radius of the site. A team of workers make the blocks using a manually operated machine.

The lime is made from oyster shells that have been harvested by the local fisherwomen. In order to show that it is possible to avoid the use of wood (in a country where deforestation is a massive concern), the roofs at Sandele are made in the form of vaults and domes using the CSEBs.

These design and construction learnings have been so successful that others have asked for our expertise. Hence we created EarthWorks Construction, a sustainable construction company, led and managed by our Gambian Construction Manager. Examples of projects that Earthworks Construction have completed so far are the new theatre in Fajara, an eco-tourism camp for the National Environment Agency, extension of a Medical Research Centre Clinic, five water towers in rural villages, five houses and a major school construction project for the Muslim Development Institute.