With Trees Disappearing, Malawi Turns to 'Earth Bag' Houses
By Joel Chirwa
MZUZU, Malawi (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - At the local brick kiln, a truck laden with logs pulls up and unloads. Soon smoke is billowing, as a new set of bricks bakes inside.
Malawi’s construction industry relies heavily on bricks – and the wood needed to make them is a major reason the country’s indigenous forests are fast disappearing.
But an unusual home construction technique – using dirt or sand packed into plastic sacks and stacked – is now being tried out in Rumphi, in the north of the country, as a way to cut back on bricks and save what’s left of the region’s forests.
As part of the project, carried out by the Roscher Youth Development Centre with German backing, young people are being given technical and financial help to construct the environmentally friendly houses.