Bamboo has a long history as a building material in many parts of the world. It is light, strong and easy to grow. Despite these advantages, it is widely perceived as a temporary, ‘poor man’s timber’.
In Ghana in the early 2000s, the shortage of affordable housing was becoming an acute social problem. In 2003, the housing backlog had reached 420,000 units, and was increasing annually by 120,000 units. In rural areas, shortages extended to basic public infrastructure, with many communities lacking school facilities nearby. Bamboo construction offers significant potential for Ghana, as a simple technology able to provide permanent solutions to building shortages nationwide.
INBAR, through its housing extension activities, sought to increase awareness of these possibilities in Ghana. Working closely with the Timber Research and Development Association, a plan for South-South transfer of bamboo building technology was drawn up with the support of the British High Commission in Ghana. The initiative consisted of two parts: (i) constructing a bamboo housing workshop and (ii) hosting a bamboo construction workshop in Kumasi, Ghana.
(Pictured: A bamboo house in Makerere University, Uganda)