Design Build Summer School at RheinMain University of Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden.
“As part of the elective course “Climate-friendly building | DESIGN BUILD”, 44 students from the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering took part in a design-build week centered around sustainable building materials such as clay and bamboo.”
Final submission and presentations of the students, this time in presence at the RhineMain University of Applied Sciences. The students present convincing plans and designs for the construction project “Accommodation for the Bamboo Training Center in Ghana”. We are very impressed.
First contact with Ghana promoter Nicolai Roerkohl.
Our association becomes a member of the Ghana-Forum NRW e.V. The Ghana-Forum offers meeting space and platform for mutual exchange of experiences, information and for joint activities.
First contact with Emil Fischer, CEO of Bamboo for Integrated Development (BIDG). After our first acquaintance, possibilities and potentials of a cooperation are discussed.
The first three bamboo project hoodies are printed! With these fairly and sustainably produced sweaters, we can make a uniform and chic appearance in the future.
“Kick-off” at RheinMain University of Applied Sciences: The introductory event for the elective subject “Climate-Friendly Construction” takes place online. The students are introduced to the topics of sustainable building with clay and bamboo by Professor Sascha Luippold, clay building expert Jan Glasmeier and Christoph Diekhans. Christoph and Rabea introduce the organisation GCG, the project and the country Ghana in more detail.
“Engagement Global” approves funding for the sub-project “Construction of the bamboo treatment facilities for the training center”.
Our 2021 annual report is ready.
Our general board meeting is held on April 30 at 4 p.m. in Clarholz, Germany.
Rabea participates in an event of the INBAR E-Learning program:
GCG participates in “Aktion Saubere Landschaft” (action clean environment), an initiative of our home municipality Herzebrock-Clarholz, where the headquarters of GROW Colourful Ghana e.V. is also located. We are assigned the “Große und Kleine Putz” as area of operation, where Christoph and Rabea collect garbage lying around with joyful commitment.
We visit the Woraso community to learn more about the local situation and to stimulate participatory communication. Local people are given the opportunity to share their opinions and ideas about the project and actively participate in decision-making. We also interview some local people about their experiences with bamboo.
Via Christoph Diekhans, who is currently writing his master’s thesis with reference to our project, we get in touch with the clay building expert Dipl. Ing. Arch. Jan Glasmeier and Prof. Dipl. Arch. ETH Sascha Luippold. Hence, great opportunities for cooperation appear, and the first planning for the sub-project “Accommodation for the Bamboo Training Center” begins.
Bamboo is also offered on the local timber market. The bamboo canes available there are untreated, on average four meters long, and the diameters vary greatly. Many culms are harvested too young, are bent, damaged and sometimes already infested with borers. The day of harvest is too long ago to be able to still treat the bamboo canes with boric salts. Even though the quality is rather unsatisfactory, we buy some canes for our experimental purposes. We also procure the basic tools and materials needed for building with bamboo.
When cleaning, measuring, sawing, drilling, etc., many peculiarities of bamboo become apparent. We realize there is a lot to consider when handling it correctly. Even though we have already gathered a lot of knowledge from experts, textbooks and courses, the “hands-on experience” presents us with some challenges. Even though bamboo offers an alternative to wood, the building materials are very different in terms of properties and handling.
First preparations of the plot in Woraso: clearing and surveying. In this phase, Myles, who has come all the way from the capital, provides us with advice and support. He works for an architecture firm in Accra and already has some experience with bamboo construction projects.
Rabea takes part in the two-day workshop “Building in the Global South”, which is organized by we-building e.V. and offered free of charge. The workshop comes in handy during the current “hot” planning and preparation phase of our building project in Ghana. The topics like time and cost planning or challenges during construction are very relevant for us. Rabea was able to take away a lot of new knowledge, helpful experiences and tools from those two days. The close practical relevance based on some example projects in Ghana is particularly gratifying. The follow-up consultation of we-building e.V. made it possible to go into more detail about some concrete challenges in our project and to exchange respective experiences. https://we-building.org/de/projekte-globalen-sued/
Two more milestones in January:
We finally submit the project proposal for the construction of the bamboo treatment facilities to Engagement Global.
Federico sends us his final elaboration and presentation for the workshop area of the Bamboo Training Center.
We explore the local bamboo resources and visit a bamboo farm near Chira, about two hours’ drive from the project site.
We meet the head of the “International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation” (INBAR) in Ghana and sign an agreement on further cooperation.
After a long search for a suitable plot of land for the bamboo training centre, we were able to acquire two plots at the end of November. The new project site is located in the small rural village of Wuraso and is ideally suited for the construction project.
Our third board member, Christoph Brummelte, is also heading to Ghana for a three-week visit. In the south of the country, we visit the Hadwua Arts and Culture Institute in Apam together. The impressive bamboo structure was built in 2015 by an interdisciplinary group of students from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, in collaboration with performing arts students at the University of Ghana.
The first inspection of the project site in Fiaso unfortunately brings the realisation that the land is much smaller than assumed. There has been confusion here in the past between the units of measurement feet and metres. In addition, the land is difficult to access and has a steep slope, which is unfavourable for the planned development. However, the Fiaso land is perfectly suited for bamboo cultivation courses! We will have to look for a new site for the construction of the training centre.
Feet: 171.1 x 91.6 x 169.0 x 91.2
Metre: 52,13 x 27,92 x 51,51 x 27,80
Rabea Schürmann and Johanna Liekmeyer travel to Ghana at their own expense for their foreign assignment of several months. In their home there, they conduct their first experiments with bamboo. In the process, they quickly encounter the dreaded “powder post beetle”, which likes to turn untreated bamboo into dust.
February – July 2021
Rabea Schürmann takes part in “The Bamboo U Online Immersion”, a comprehensive course on bamboo. As part of the course, she begins working with Federico Antonelli, a young, ambitious architect (MArch) from Italy who has made sustainability the guiding principle of his professional career. In the module “Bamboo Model Making”, ideas and designs are created for the workshop and seminar area, as well as the treatment facilities for the bamboo training centre in Ghana.
Our Project coordinator Wilfred Dery participated in the Inter-Africa Ghana Bamboo Study Tour (26th – 30th April, 2021).
November – December 2020
The wall pillars are ready. The next step is to insert bamboo poles as intermediate elements, but they must be treated beforehand. Because bamboo is on the menu of some small crawling animals that love it for its sugar content. This can be remedied by treatment with boron salts, which are not really toxic, but make the bamboo inedible for the animals. In this way, bamboo can be preserved in an environmentally friendly way. We were finally able to procure the borax and boric acid components required for this (last picture). Now it is time to prepare for the treatment of the first bamboo culms … an important milestone!
September – October 2020
The start after the Corona construction stop is delayed due to continuous and heavy rainfall. There are no paved roads leading to our project site yet, therfore accessing it is very difficult at the moment. Unfortunetely the truck with a delivery of wall stones got stuck… Fortunately, there were many hard-working helpers who picked the stones from the truck which could then be pulled out of the mud. The wall stones were finally transported to the project area with a smaller vehicle. They will be used to finish the masonry part of the wall. Very soon we can start with the bamboo elements!
June – July 2020
The corn grows and ripens! It’s a win-win situation: A local family uses the project site for corn and cassava cultivation during the construction stop. The harvest gives them food and income. While farming, they care for the land and keep it clean of weeds. This saves us expenses for clearing the land again.
The family is already looking forward to the first harvests and thanks our project coordinator with real treats: grilled corn on the cob – yummy, you’d love to be there yourself!
Rainy season and Covid-19 force a construction stop: In the meantime, we release the project site temporary to the “locals” for corn cultivation.
Stone on stone: The property wall is built.
The wildly overgrown land is cleared and prepared, building materials are organised and transported to the project site. Blocks are moulded and trenches for the wall foundation along the property boundaries are dug. All by muscle power and manual labour of the local workers!
It is time! Two adjoining plots of land in Fiaso are bought, or more precisely, leased. In Ghana the land always remains in the possession of the government, one can only acquire it through a lease contract up to 99 years with the Ghana Land Commission. This lease period can be extended upon expiry.
With a stream adjacent to the land, the site offers optimal conditions for the cultivation of bamboo and thus enables training in bamboo cultivation, care and harvesting on the project site.
Wilfred Dery and representatives of the Bamboo Farmers Association visit various local communities and meet the community leaders to recruit them as project partners. The location for the project has been chosen: Fiaso, a rural community in Bono East Region.
Project coordinator Wilfred Dery organises on behalf of GROW Colourful Ghana e.V. a meeting of the Bamboo Farmers Association to further organise the network of bamboo plantation farmers and to inform about the developments and progress since the last meeting in January 2019. The meeting was led by Mr. Awudu Yakubu and Secretary Yahaya Adam, the leaders of the Bamboo Farmers Association. A total of eleven people from five communities close to the project took part.
A pilot study on the bamboo project in Ghana: local bamboo stocks and their owners are identified and included in the project planning. There is great interest and enthusiasm for the project!
The “Bamboo Farmers Association” is founded, which offers bamboo farmers and other project participants a platform for exchange and networking.
In order to expand the network in the local bamboo sector, we meet with the head of the Ghana office of the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR), Mr. Michael Kwaku. With his wealth of knowledge and experience in the bamboo sector, he provides further valuable input for the project.
Thanks to all who have been involved in the successes so far!
Keep going, keep growing!