Promoting Sustainable Construction Materials through a Skilled Team

Over the years, there has been a significant increase in the popularity of earthen materials. This trend has led to the development of eco-friendly building materials, such as compressed earth blocks (CEB), compressed stabilized earth blocks (CSEB), and interlocking stabilized soil blocks (ISSB). Habitat for Humanity Malawi, under its project “Promoting Use of Sustainable Construction Materials in Malawi,” aims to provide affordable housing solutions to vulnerable Malawians in need of quality homes recently organized a three-week training program on the production of Stabilized Soil Blocks (SSB) and concrete blocks for its production and construction teams.

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According to Project Manager Siphiwe Chilumanga, the training was essential in enhancing the skills and knowledge of the production and construction teams. Chilumanga explained,

“We believed it was necessary to conduct a three-week training program for our team before starting the production phase of the project. This training served as a crucial foundation for the successful execution of the project in Malawi.”

Chilumanga expressed confidence that the training has equipped her team with the technical expertise required for concrete block and interlocking SSB production techniques, quality control, and best practices. She believes that this knowledge will significantly improve efficiency and productivity.

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Carlos Sigauque, a Senior Technical Trainer at Hydraform, emphasized the importance of training the production team before commencing their actual work. He believes that the success of the project and the achievement of its goals depend on highly skilled personnel who can produce high-quality SSBs, which are essential components in constructing durable and environmentally friendly homes.

Sigauque stated, “I have full confidence in this team, and I am pleased because they will ensure the success of the Promoting Use of Sustainable Construction Materials in Malawi project. They have undergone three weeks of training, acquiring both practical and theoretical skills in the production of Stabilized Soil Blocks (SSB).”

Sigauque further highlighted that the team members were introduced to principles of soil stabilization, gained an understanding of different soil properties, and learned the importance of proper mixing ratios to ensure block strength and durability.

He emphasized that the project would serve as a valuable reference for both Hydraform and Malawi in promoting eco-friendly construction materials that play a crucial role in preventing climate shocks and subsequent disasters.

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One of the trainees, Langson George, works as a Maintenance Technician for the project. He shared that through the training, he has acquired new skills in machine operation, fixing, maintenance, and servicing.

George also mentioned that he learned efficient and effective operation of block-making machines, soil preparation, proper proportions of stabilizing agents such as cement and sand, and thorough mixing to achieve a homogeneous mixture.

George expressed his gratitude for the training, particularly the hands-on demonstrations of block production techniques.

He testified, “Through the training, I have understood the importance of quality control measures, such as proper curing techniques and regular testing of block samples to ensure compliance with standards.”

Habitat for Humanity Malawi is implementing the “Promoting Use of Sustainable Construction Materials in Malawi” project with financial support from Habitat for Humanity Great Britain and an individual philanthropist.