The possibilities of building with Ecobricks.
One of the pillars of Khuthaza foundation is community engagement. We advocate for the community to not only manage their waste more effectively but to also use that waste that already exists in the communities towards building beneficial structures. We also believe that due to the high poverty and food insecurity in South Africa, communities need to be equipped with skills and infrastructure to feed themselves instead of depending on outside intervention which sometimes is not sustainable.
With that being said, we were determined to adopt a community where we could find an institution that is deep-rooted in the community to collaborate with. We wanted to showcase how waste could be used to build beneficial structures and also wanted to fuse that with a food insecurity project where we could help establish a food garden. We were lucky enough to have met Mandy who is the found of Boitshepho Creche and the creche also has a garden and this was the perfect candidate.
Above you will see what the food garden looked like before and what might not be too evident is that the garden had a few challenges.
Before we could get the project up an running we needed to not only identify our challenges but we needed to find solutions as well. To develop these solutions, we worked with organizations such as Roots and Shoots, ADVA, Food and Trees for Africa, Evergrow, Fresh.NGO and Plant Nation. Collectively, we decided that the solutions would be to build seedbeds from convention and ecobricks that will be easily managed, build partitions in strategic areas of the garden to help prevent soil erosion and the washing away of nutrients and lastly to get a compost heap that could be used during planting.
The Second phase of the project was to use ecobricks to build circular and rectangular seedbeds that could be managed more efficiently by the creche manager. On the 15th of March 2019 we started with that project and due to the magnitude of the build as well as the limited number of volunteers, this process would require a number of event days to complete.
The first build was really challenging for us. We had no funding , there were limited volunteers and lastly we had never built anything using ecobricks before. Fortunately we had an experienced volunteer Alison from an organization called ADVA who educated and assisted us the entire way.
Did you know that your entire structure can fall apart if you don’t have the correct soil consistency? Here Alison demonstrates how to feel the texture of the mixture of cement and sand.
At the end of the day we were able to build 2 circular shaped seedbeds at the Boitshepho creche. This was an awesome achievement because we had not only built some of the seedbeds, but we had also built new friendships and networks that would come in handy in our next builds.