Sustainable social housing in EI Rama, Nicaragua

  • In Nicaragua, houses are often made of concrete and corrugated steel, materials not really suitable for the hot and humid climate. At the same time, bamboo is abundant and could serve as a local and renewable building material. Therefore, a group of students created Bambú Social to support local communities with the opportunity to use bamboo as a construction material. 
  • In addition, the local population is dependent on unreliable systems for building, electricity, clean drinking water and food. In El Rama, BAMBÚ SOCIAL set up a ‘Sustainable Construction’ course, together with the local university and the municipality, to create a sustainable and dignified alternative to social housing. This building method can be practiced in a completely local manner, with the integration of a decentralised, low-tech, natural water purification and storage system in order to provide clean drinking water for the inhabitants of the house. The constructed model house is the base for the design of an affordable social home and the manual ‘Un manual de construcción sostenible’, which explains the entire process with step by step drawings. The model house has been donated to the local university and currently functions as a library.

Local social support for the project was created by means of the following activities:

  1. Clean up campaigns for a desolated communal building in the middle of the city to meet the locals in an informal manner.
  2. A kick off meeting where the goals of the projects were explained and where more than 100 people from El Rama could discuss with us what they wanted the project to tackle.
  3. Open interviews with low income families to acquire enough information about the wishes the design of a social house.
  4. Free workshops about, water filters, basics and possibilities of bamboo construction. All the steps regarding the preparation and execution of the house were made with the students from the sustainable construction course and locals from the communities of Esperanza and El Recreo.
  5. The approach of local and national media to highlight the importance of the challenges and the possible solutions.