Thursday, February 25, 2010

1 Chron 12:32 Report, 59: Schools of Hope, responding to the Haiti Macedonian call

In response to the Macedonian call discussed in a previous post of Feb 9, 2010, below is the main framework of the Schools of Haiti discussion draft project concept paper. (PDF version here.)


Schools of Hope, Haiti

TKI Feb 2010

SYNOPSIS: A proposal for creating a network of 25 digitally integrated community-transforming Schools of Hope in Haiti. These schools, from primary to Associate Degree level Community Colleges, would help create a digital age education system connected to business incubation, agriculture development, balanced rural-urban development, and sustainability initiatives, starting with demonstration of low-cost sustainable construction technologies.

[ . . . . ]

INTRODUCTION: After a devastating earthquake that shattered Port- au- Prince and surrounding areas, Haiti lost 230,000+ people and a large slice of its national infrastructure. As sister Caribbean nations, as people descended from slaves whose liberation was hastened by the sacrifices of the Haitian nation from 1791 on, and in response to the recent petition of request for assistance with education and business development placed before Caricom by the leaders of Haiti’s youth, we now propose a Schools of Hope Initiative for the capital city [5 schools] and for the towns and villages of Haiti [20 schools], as a long-term commitment to help in the reconstruction and transformation of Haiti; understood as a regional and global moral imperative and a down-payment on our debt of honour.

It is intended that the schools — at primary and secondary level as appropriate — should target the urban and rural poor, and that they should serve as centres of community upliftment and transformation, through partnering with or incorporating affiliated initiatives and components such as:

  • attached agriculture extension/ urban allotment gardening projects,
  • micro- financing and micro- business incubation projects,
  • a programme for provision of annual scholarships to regional colleges and universities
  • health clinics,
  • trade evening schools,
  • demonstration of key renewable energy technologies,
  • demonstration of sustainable construction technologies,
  • participation as pilots for the global One Laptop Per Child initiative,
  • community upliftment micro-power radio,
  • networking as an access points for secondary and tertiary level any distance education,
  • etc. as further needs, challenges and opportunities are identified by our Haitian partners, and/or by other partners from across the world

We also invite participation of partners from across the world in this initiative.

1. Background and Rationale:

From even before 1791, our Caricom sister-state Haiti has had a turbulent, unstable and painful, complex history; with much blame that could be allocated to both external and internal actors. However, in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake – one that may have cost three hundred thousands their lives, and devastated perhaps half the buildings in Port au Prince; including an estimated up to seventy five percent of school buildings -- this is not the time for finger-pointing, but for rebuilding.
We the peoples of the Caribbean also have a historic debt of honour to the nation whose courageous uprising from 1791 helped to accelerate the abolition of slavery in our region by perhaps a generation. We are also ideally positioned to be bridging partners with our sister Caricom country as it sets about a rebuilding and redevelopment process; one where it will have to find a way to work with Great Powers that have historically exploited and abused the people of Haiti.

Moreover, as Haiti’s youth ambassadors made plain in a petition to the February Caricom heads of government meeting, Haiti is requesting our assistance with education and with support for economic empowerment through business formation. Thus, a Schools of Hope initiative – designed to provide education services and support for successful business formation, for a transition to sustainable construction, for sustainable agriculture, and for reforestation -- are key areas in which we can make a valuable contribution, and would be an appropriate down- payment on our debt of honour to Haiti.

The key to the proposed strategy would be to establish clustered schools in which a Community College core unit has associated High School(s) and primary school(s), with the teachers being the key links in the network. So, the Community College helps build education and technical capacity, supporting and researching on the work in the affiliated schools. All, backed up by an internet technology based network using key technologies such as Moodle educational content management system, wikis [good for writing learning resources], and blogs. EPUB format e-books and the like would provide online references constituting a reference library. OLPC family XO-1 PC’s — open hardware, open software, ruggedised, low power — would then serve as a common low cost adequate bang for the buck computing platform. (NB: Opening up hard and software is perfect for building technical skills for the C21 digital age. It is also suggested that we should approach OLPC to create a student/teacher version of the XO-1 and derivatives; for use in higher levels of education. Similarly, a Single Board Computer version set up for the CAN bus would be helpful for developing industrial and agricultural controllers.)

Networked, community based education and associated upliftment and agricultural and business formation would help to reverse urban drift, and create balanced urban and rural development In particular, given the growing digital age, there are many possibilities for using networked Internet and computer based digital resources and existing or restored or new physical infrastructure to help transform Haiti’s educational system and integrate it into widely distributed community upliftment and business and agricultural development.

Modular, rapid build low cost, sustainability oriented construction technologies also offer a capacity to put in required community based infrastructure at affordable rates. in addition, use of modular, rapid-build sustainable, quake and hurricane resistant construction technologies would demonstrate and build capacity for the urgently needed post-quake rebuilding.

Multiply such prospects by strategic cash crops, agricultural co-ops and competent marketing systems that turn small plots into mini cash cows. For, with “ethical” organic crops such as coffee, in an Internet age a farming coop can market straight to global ethical, fair trade and organic markets. (So, we ask: what if such a co-op hosts a node in a regional Internet marketing system for artistic handicrafts and for strategic cash crops?)

Blend in well managed credit unions and development banking. Take village churches, schools and community centres, and augment them to include micro-campus centres, supports for business formation and development, clinics and community micro-power radio. Add to these the proved power of the business incubator. Back all of this up by a long term, university research based programme of capacity development and transformation through education and renewal .

Nothing is going to be perfect, and nobody or nothing will have no detractors and critics, but we need to ask: what works? how can we build on strengths, address challenges and compensate for weaknesses or defects?

2. Goals and Objectives:

GOAL: Through a Caricom partnership with the Government and people of Haiti, to initially implement and support a network of community-transforming Schools of Hope in Haiti.

This may be achieved across a sixty-month period through:
a] Agreement across Caricom to initiate such an effort [D + 3 mos]

b] Agreement with Gov Haiti — a Caricom member — and selected target communities across Haiti [D + 6 months]

c] Contacts with partner development agencies and supportive governments [D + 6 months]

d] Contacts with OLPC and Sugar, etc towards production and distribution of XO-1’s for schools [D + 6 months]

e] Contact & agreement with OLPC etc on creation of a student and educator version of the OLPC XO-1 etc [D + 12 months]

f] Design, construction of pilot wave of schools at 10 – 20% of selected sites [including at least one primary, one secondary, one community college/ Associate degree level], using innovative sustainable, rapid build, relatively low cost construction technologies (e.g. Moladi would be a candidate for technology) [D + 18 months]

g] Implementation of integrated, associated community uplifting efforts in collaboration with communities and partners. [D + 30 months]

h] Initial evaluations [D + 9 - D + 33 months]

i] Wave 2: next 20 – 40 % [D + 36 months]

j] Wave 3: up to 90 % [D + 48 months]

k] Wave 4: final set of schools [D + 54 months]

l] Evaluation, scaling up and dissemination in concert with partners [D + 60 months on]

3. Proposed Implementation:

The key stakeholders and partners would be Caricom, UWI (and other regional universities . . . perhaps the ACTI group), the Government of Haiti, Haitian community leaders and members, and international partners that have already been involved in education transformation in Haiti.

An awareness and activation forum can be used to mobilise a provisional executive team and partnership based board of governors, with attached experts and partners forming a matrix type project team structure. This working group should report to Caricom, and the council of PMs, as a major regional project, indeed a Nehemiah project. In addition, the forum should meet regularly to discuss progress, and to communicate with the Haitan, regional and international publics.

The project will also require agreement with the Haitian Government on innovations in education at all three levels: primary, secondary, community college.

This initiative should be viewed as a launch project, with an onward sustained commitment from Caricom and other partners to keep the network of schools going and growing as a viable -- and in the end essentially Haitian -- concern.

4. Milestones and Deliverables:

The timelined objectives above indicate the envisioned milestones and deliverables in sufficient detail for a discussion draft concept note.

5. Inputs:

The key decision-maker, technical and financial inputs are implied in the above. Drawing them out slightly, a top level working group of educators, development specialists and other key technical people will need to put in a considerable effort to get the programme going, starting from an activation conference. This group should work in partnership with key stakeholders and especially the Haitian Government and Caricom, which should help resolve permit and regulatory obstacles.

The proposed OLPC and shift to sustainable construction technologies will require appropriate technical inputs.

Beyond that, on the initial crude budget estimate below, the envisioned launch phase project would reasonably require a financial and in-kind commitment of some US$ 4/ Caricom national across five years, other than those from disaster-struck Haiti.

The project is therefore feasible per required input resources, and onward sustained efforts should also be feasible on Caricom’s general resource base.

6. Estimated Budget

For a discussion draft like this, we will make a very simple estimate: on an average of US$ 1 mn/school to build and equip it, with primary schools expected to cost on the low side, and starter Community College mini campuses on the high side:

US$ 1 mn/school x 25 US$ 25 mn

For central and network expenses US$ 5 mn

TOTAL US$ 30 mn

Some can be in kind, but US$ 30 mn / 7.5 mn non-Haitian Caricomers is ~ US$ 4/ person, across five years.

7. Key Assumptions:

The project depends on political will and public support to make a major long term Caricom commitment to Haiti, and to its redevelopment and transformation. This will probably only be viable if the Haitian programme is a pilot for a regional transformation through education initiative. (Which is not a bad thing at all!)

Failing such a regional government level commitment, since the project is inherently modular and scalable, in a context where there is a long term commitment from churches, charitable organisations etc, a scaled down form would be viable through such agencies.

Thus, though regional political will is plainly a risky premise, the project concept is sufficiently viable that it will probably be adopted in some form by a cluster of partners.

8. Outcomes, Benefits and Impacts:

As the schools get in on the ground the direct beneficiaries would be students, families and communities, with long term beneficial outcomes for Haiti and the wider region. The associated agriculture, construction, business incubation and community health and radio outreaches would multiply community-level benefits. Modularity, the emergence of a growing network of centres of renewal and transformation, and associated digitalisation would enhance prospects for expansion that builds on success.

Beyond such direct benefits, the rise of an educated digitally productive generation in Haiti would have long term transformative effects on the Haitian economy and society. The participative partnership based approach will also help create a sounder governance culture for Haiti, fostering stability and sustainability. Also, as Haiti provides a demonstration and testbed, Caricom as a whole (and wider regions beyond) would also begin to benefit).

At secondary levels, a shift to sustainable construction would tend to reduce adverse environmental impacts of development, and the associated reforestation and sustainable farming initiatives would move us to an improved bio-physical environment in Haiti.

Finally, the stream of obvious benefits will begin rapidly, from the construction phase on. So, quick wins are built in, which will help silence critics and will build up support.

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS: A Schools of Hope initiative is both credibly feasible and potentially decisively beneficial for Haiti and Caricom, a credible big win all around. Such an initiative is therefore highly desirable and urgently needed. As such, the participation of Caricom, individual Governments across the region, other key Caribbean organisations, charitable groups and institutions, as well as friendly external Governments and institutions, is respectfully invited.


And so, we are at an Esther 4:12, Mordecai moment:

If not now, then when?

If not Haiti, then where?

If not us, then who?
So, again: why not now, why not here, why not us? END

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Macedonian call for help from the Youth of Haiti

Immediately below is the text of a petition from the Haitian Caricom Youth Ambassadors at a recent Caricom Heads of Government Special Summit on Youth, Paramaribo 2010. It is reproduced here by the permission of the Barbados Youth Development Council to circulate it. (HT: "David," Blog Owner Barbados Underground, Haiti reconstruction thread, February 4, 2010 at 5:48 PM.)







Good afternoon,

I wish to speak on the behalf of my brothers and sisters in Haiti who are desperate for almost 3 weeks. Those youths that woke up the morning of January 12 with a bunch of energy, vibes that were sharing with others, and had hopes that tomorrow will have been better! Those same youths, the one who survived obviously, were standing in the middle of a street at 5PM without any hope!

This is an appeal that the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors of Haiti; current and former are making on behalf of our peers.

Dear Heads

The January 12 earthquake left thousands of students without schools, universities, and teachers in Port-au-Prince and around Haiti. Current efforts are focusing on providing food, water, and shelter; but in the coming months and years, the most pressing issue will become the lack of qualified human resources to rebuild Haitian society, which will result from the generations of displaced students unable to access quality education during and following the crisis. The demand for quality education is, and will continue to be, very critical. In this time of crisis, HAITI needs the support of its partners, including members of the CARICOM community, to continue providing education to its current students to avoid creating a potentially detrimental gap in qualified human resources.

Haiti has little capacity and few facilities to offer tertiary education, and this disaster has further weakened the tertiary education system. The State University of Haiti has around 23,000 students; each year 18,000 youth seek attendance at an undergraduate school, but only 3000 are admitted. For example, the School for Nursing and the School of Human Sciences collapsed, and the other buildings are cracked. Most likely, the rescued students will lose the academic year, and the country will suffer from a lack of qualified personnel during the recovery and reconstruction periods following the immediate response.

As acting CARICOM Youth Ambassadors and with the support of the former ones, we appeal to the CARICOM Community to urge the Heads of Government to offer education support to Haiti in this humanitarian crisis.

First, we request that CARICOM dedicate money for 20 scholarships per year for the next five years (starting in Fall 2010) for Haitian students to attend the University of West Indies (UWI). In addition, we hope that UWI will be more flexible in enrolling Haitian students during this special disaster relief effort.

Second, we urge CARICOM to develop a mechanism that will help youth in Haiti access funding to develop businesses, for instance, through the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), while receiving support and mentoring from the State University of Haiti and the private sector.

Thank you for your attention.



1. Isnel PIERREVAL / former CYA for HAITI /

2. Frantz SEIDE / former CYA for HAITI/

3. Gyliane Anne-Leticia CADET/ CYA for HAITI/


This petition rightly first and foremost underscores the central importance of education to rebuilding Haiti, and also calls for assistance with business formation and development. And while twenty scholarships per year to the UWI -- and a similar number to the other national, church based and independent universities, institutes, seminaries and colleges -- would be helpful, the scope of the need and want of functional campus facilities points strongly to the need for a regional open university campus movement.

Similarly, supportive efforts will be needed at secondary and primary levels.

This leads back to the earlier suggestions on education initiatives made on January 12, in response to the crisis, from point 25:

25 --> . . . the issue in hand is not merely one of grants and technical assistance towards capacity-building, important as these are.

26 --> Gospel-based liberation and transformation through discipleship and renewal of hearts, minds, lives and institutions are also necessary if Haiti is to find a truly sustainable breakthrough. (Just as is true for the rest of the world.)

27 --> I also believe that the harnessing of modern information and communication technologies is also a key component of such a transformation, as the bridging of the digital divide powerfully enables all of the above.

28 --> For this, I am especially impressed by the significance of the One Laptop Per Child pioneered by Nicholas Negroponte and others, and the now spun-off Sugar User Interface system. (As well, the Tutorius interactive tutoring system based on Sugar is worth monitoring.) [OLPC] initiative.

29 --> For, this system creates an educational learning system based on a rugged, low cost, low power consumption, low ecological footprint computer using an open source interface built on Red Hat's Fedora Linux, and is a system that is completely open source on both hardware and software, demonstrated here:

(Think, instead of a cut-down PC, of a rugged modification to the Blackberry or iPhone; but set up as a child's "instant-on" educational computer based on completely open source software, and with built in networking capability so that it can interact with the Internet and a neighbourhood of other users across the world. A world in which already over 1.6 million e-books books that will work with the XO series of computers are available online. The underlying hardware uses an extended X86 instruction set as well, so it is capable of working with Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, and with a suitably adapted Windows. [Indeed, through an arrangement with Microsoft, for a small additional fee [it seems ~US$3/unit] countries ordering large numbers of XO's may have XP installed.])

30 --> As just one illustration of potential beyond just education, one of the most distressing experiences of Haitians abroad has been inability to communicate with their loved ones back home, in the midst of the horrendous news reports. But, if OLPC XO-1's were on the ground, so soon as a wireless network could have been set up, families would have been able to be in instant contact through text, and if there were enough bandwidth, speech and video.

31 --> Since the OLPC Foundation is relatively small, as well, and is strongly technologically innovative, the extension of the concept from primary age children to a generally available educational device that not only is set up for primary education and as an eBook reader, but is capable of supporting education through secondary and tertiary levels. [Cf. concepts for the XO-3 "card computer" here, which the foundation is targetting for US$ 75/unit, though of course they have as yet been unable to bring the original XO below US$100/unit on truly large scale production.]

32 --> For instance, a classroom with a U-shaped set of Workstation plug-in points, and a central modular table system can fit into a 15' x 30 ' room. Put in some broadband access, multimedia, and wireless keyboard tech, mix in mentoring people as facilitators, and you have a viable micro-campus centre that could for instance be based in a church or a community centre etc.

33 --> The Moodle open source education content management software system, Wiki technologies (similar to the Wikipedia encyclopedia), blog technologies, video conferencing and other open source digital techniques can then facilitate hosting a rich educational resource that can be partly localised to on-site servers, partly accessible through the web.

34 --> A network of such microcampuses can tackle the keystone bridging Secondary-to-post secondary and Associate to first degree levels, with key short courses and targetted strategic technical areas. This would serve as he backbone to support the transformation of primary and secondary education, and would provide a steady stream of people with required capacity for the redevelopment effort.

35 --> At more advanced levels, a cluster of targetted MBAs, MPAs [Masters in Public Admin], M.Eds and the like would help greatly on building strategic level governance and managerial capacity side.

36 --> A good Associate Degree level Theology, Bible, Discipleship and technical empowerment programme designed to work with the general education system could be taken up by CETA or other groups. This last would help energise the spiritual reformation and renewal side.

37 --> Similarly, porting one or more of the open source Bible software initiatives -- Xiphos is already a Linux based system that has been ported to other environments, but eSWORD has now gone generic with version 9 [as with office version 2007 the original Access database format has been abandoned by Microsoft] -- to the platform would create a widely accessible Bible resource that could be used for supporting the work of the church and general "equipping of God's people for works of service." [This would help foster godly reformation.]

On the just as vital business (and agriculture) development side, an update to the same post, of January 24th, suggested:

1 –> One of the key blights of Haiti (and Kingston, Ja etc) is the problem of urban migration of rural people, as the countryside has been long starved of opportunity and attractions.

2 –> This, due to the problem of subsidising the town at the expense of the country that Adam Smith long ago analysed. For, urban concentrations draw the eye and the effort, while rural people, being dispersed, are easily overlooked; to the predictable detriment of both -- rural stagnation, loss of ability of a nation to feed itself from its own resources, and urban blight with high unemployment, poverty and crime.

3 –> But in our time of networked multimedia communications, there is no good reason why villages should not grow into small townships with quite good enough facilities and resources; creating a nation-wide network of distributed centres that avert the denudation, idling and depopulation of the countryside and the creation of overpopulated, overstressed, explosive and unsustainable urban concentrations. (I think here of SE St Elizabeth, Ja, and the astonishing development of the township of Junction as an informal model to study and learn from.)

4 –> A key step is the de-bureaucratisation of business formation and taxing systems. For, as De Soto showed convincingly for Peru [cf Institute for Liberty and Democracy here], a lingering mercantilist pattern of regulation, monopoly and cartel easily emerges that locks out the innovative small or micro entrepreneur through creating a bureaucratic maze backed up by blocking access to capital save by the already established.

5 –> The rise of capital starved informal micro enterprises, squatting on/"capture" of lands, inability to acquire lands, etc etc are all characteristic features of such, and are already depressingly familiar from a simple glance at Haiti (and of course Jamaica etc).

6 –> Instead, regulatory and taxing systems need to be greatly simplified, more comprehensible to the uninitiated, helping-oriented and less punitive. On this De Soto’s comparison that similar businesses took an afternoon to set up in Miami [no bribes] and a year or so in Peru [with bribes], is telling.

7 –> Similarly, his contrast of two neighbouring communites in Peru, one ghetto-like, the other showing obvious pride of ownership, is telling. When people can own their own land and homes, they have ownership and access to a capital base that can give collateral for prudent business investments [and if designed right, can often house the relevant cottage industry -- think of the old fashioned tailor shop fronting the house, or shop below, residence above etc].

8 –> Multiply by strategic cash crops [including the ever-growing list of nutraceuticals, especially superfruit tree crops -- reforestation!], agricultural co-ops and competent marketing systems that turn small plots into mini cash cows.

9 –> Blend in well managed credit unions and development banking. (And, CDB is a world class effort along these lines. The Basic Needs Trust Fund should get injections from all sorts of people, as a way to energise a known centre of excellence.)

10 –> Take village churches, schools and community centres, and augment them to include micro-campus centres, supports for business formation and development, clinics and community micro-power radio.

11 –> Add to these the proved power of the business incubator.

12 –> Back all up by a long term programme of capacity development and transformation through education and renewal . . .

Thus, there is a good match between these earlier proposals and what the youth of Haiti are asking for.

The challenge -- including the implicit spiritual dimension -- is therefore now in our hands, even as once before at the hinge of our Civilisation's history, we may read:

Acts 16:9 A vision appeared to Paul during the night: A Macedonian man was standing there urging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 16:10 After Paul saw the vision, we attempted immediately to go over to Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

So, again, let us ask: why not now, why not here, why not us? END

Monday, February 08, 2010

1 Chron 12:32 Report, no 58: On the possibilities of Bahareque construction technologies for Haitian reconstruction and for the wider region

An old optimist's saying is that every cloud has a silver lining, and it is now a commonplace that the Chinese character for "crisis" is built up from the components: danger PLUS opportunity. (Never mind the usual hair-splitting academic debate . . . !)

So it is no surprise that the horror of the recent Haiti Earthquake disaster opens up opportunities for a new and more sustainable approach to construction, especially for housing, agricultural buildings, and light commercial, industrial and institutional buildings in the Caribbean (and beyond).

To some extent, this blog has already remarked on this, in an earlier post of Jan 18 [at point no 40] wherein we may see that, first and foremost, we need to change the way buildings are being built. Thus, the first step is to look seriously at the breakthrough Moladi cast foamed concrete plastic former house building system, which is capable of delivering one hurricane and earthquake resistant house per day per mould, with the moulds rated at fifty house- castings apiece:

Going beyond that, I noted:

Possibilities -- in addition to the Moladi-type approach [cast, reinforced foamed concrete housing using prefabricated plastic moulds that can cast one house per day per mould, the mould having a working life of fifty castings] -- include:

a] The Classic CINVA Ram-type compressed earth brick or block presses (including the soil-cement block or brick variation, for which cement stabilises the blocks against moisture), with The Liberator being a faster production development. [The original is rather labour intensive, producing 50 bricks per hour per machine, with several thousand bricks being a typical requirement for a small house. But, we are dealing with a low labour cost environment in looking at Haiti's rural villages.]
b] The Auram modern development that can make a considerable variety of bricks and blocks, including Lego-style interlocking blocks
c] Modern clay, sand, and straw asphalted bricks (going all the way back to the Babylonians!)
d] Use of bamboo canes as a reinforcement medium for adobe type construction (as in "grow your own rebars").
e] The online World Housing Encyclopedia (and other sources) has many more ideas and even training manuals, e.g. this one on proper use of reinforced concrete.
But also, an updated form of the traditional Bamboo Hollow Bahareque construction technology from Columbia and Ecuador and related techniques (e.g. here and here) also offer significant potential, especially for situations where lower capital costs and use of indigenous materials and techniques accessible to ordinary relatively unskilled labour are important factors:

1 --> Traditional Bahareque construction took advantage of the fast-growing [ = "sustainable timber"], strong bamboo Guadua angustifolia (also known as "vegetable steel") and a development of wattle and daub construction, using bamboo strips as the wattles and a mud-horse dung [second use straw!] mortar as the daub.

2 --> Such buildings have proved to be surprisingly durable (lasting upwards of a century) and have also proved resilient in earthquakes; providing the structural bamboo is in good condition.

3 --> In recent years, Jorge Gutierrez, Engineer Professor and Chair, Structural Engineering Department, School of Civil Engineering, University of Costa Rica, has led an effort to develop this technology through application of engineering analysis, experiment and design techniques.

4 --> While aiming to do an ultimately all-bamboo timber design, initial housing was built using an interim timber framed version of the technique. These were at the epicentre of a Mag. 7.5 quake in Costa Rica, and survived without significant damage.

5 --> Similarly, as the modified technique creates an outer wall thickness of 5 cm [~ 2 inches] of bamboo strip reinforced concrete, it is credible that the walls will also be resistant to hurricane winds and most hurricane-carried projectiles.

6 --> Durability of bamboo is an issue in the tropics, with insect and fungus attack as significant challenges. The traditional treatment is to use borax solution to coat laths and creosote oil to coat bamboo columns and beams. Also, more modern treatment techniques now exist, for a prospective commercial trade in plantation-grown sustainable bamboo timber.

7 --> Such sustainable bamboo timber can also be made into bamboo composites
such as a bamboo matting version of the traditional corrugated steel roofing sheet, into plywoods and laminated woods [which can in some cases be harder than oak].

8 --> Bamboo trusses can then support the roof, which can be of various types. (We should look at the use of stabilised compressed earth tiles, and at foamed cement tiles.)

9 --> A similar technique as tested in India is to use bamboo framing, and a network of laths, with attached chicken wire used as a basis for ferrocement construction of the same 2 inch thickness. Inthsi case, a timber ring beam was used to support the roof, and attachments were based on concrete infilling of up to 18" of the bamboo columns, then casting in rebars [to tie into a reinforced concrete foundation] or bolts that were passed through the timber ring beam serving as the base for the roof.

10 --> Plainly, the blending of bamboo lath and/or chicken wire concrete wattle and daub -- this last being a version of thin shell ferrocement construction used for sculptures, boats and buildings -- with bamboo, timber or steel framing holds many possibilities for creating an alternative, more sustainable, more affordable and yet disaster resistant construction technology for both Haiti and the wider region.
(Similarly, compressed earth bricks, blocks and tiles and adobe with bamboo cane reinforcement can be blended in.)

11 --> However, resistance to novel and often perceived "inferior" technologies and materials is a challenge.

12 --> This is where churches, church-based aid and development groups, other non-government and/or community-based organisations and the like can step up to the plate and demonstrate through key pilot demonstration projects, the utility, aesthetics, sustainability, affordability and potential acceptable quality of such new approaches.


So, again, let us ask: why not now, why not here, why not us? END