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Organization - Solid Earth Africa
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Meeting in Addis Ebaba

Solid Earth Africa (SEA) works in Norway and in Ethiopia to promote the adobe house as a hub for resilient household-based development and environmental protection. SEA in Norway is an association that initiated the idea of re-introducing and further developing adobe.  SEA in Ethiopia is working to market adobe effectively. Each organization has different responsibilities in achieving this goal.


SEA Norway is working to establish a new organization in Ethiopia. A national coordinator is in place. Slowly, this organization will expand to include 5-6 persons: national coordinator, financial manager, secretary, adobe technical and building coordinator and community conversation coordinator. We think it’s important to keep the organization slim. Our goal is to make our partners strong and independent, not grow our self.

In addition to establishing a local organization, SEA Norway works to support the new organization financially. This financial support will be reduced over a period of 3-5 years. During this time, the organization in Ethiopia will work to become financially self-sustaining.


 Planning & Policy

  1. Strategic planning and policy development together with the organization in Ethiopia
  2. Linking with knowledge organizations, study tours and conferences. Regular following up and visits to the Ethiopian office
  3. Assist the Ethiopia office in encouraging progressive, environmentally-friendly public policy linked housing in the private and public sectors


  1. Secure funding for the Ethiopian office for the next 3 years
  2. Assist the Ethiopian office in finding a strategy for further growth by selling consultant services


  1. Develop promotional tools like web-site, audio-visuals, printed materials, newsletter etc. for Norwegian and European target groups
  2. Recruit new local partners in Ethiopia interested in promoting the adobe building technique
  3. Raise awareness around the relationship (in Ethiopia) between deforestation, erosion, house-building and economic development for Norwegians and Europeans


  1. Network to link international and Ethiopian experience and know-how to organizations that want to help Ethiopians build adobe houses
  2. Teach partner organizations the SEA methodology on how to successfully promote adobe
  3. Ensure that SEA’s partners have access to professional training in the adobe building technique


SEA in Ethiopia is working to adapt the adobe concept to Ethiopia and to develop effective marketing strategies in relation to Ethiopian target groups. These include women, farmers, businesses, tradesmen, community groups, organizations, churches, government agencies etc.

A major task is to ensure that partners seeing the advantages in adobe, both for the local communities and for organizational building. Based on experience, SEA in Ethiopia assist partner organizations and community groups in writing funding applications. This will enable them to scale-out adobe to neighboring communities.




  1. History of adobe in Ethiopia and best practices linked to technical adobe improvement
  2. What has worked best to promote adobe so far
  3. Current drivers for house-building: financing, design, gender issues, population growth, local building-related businesses, government plans and priorities
  4. Statistics related to deforestation: erosion, food production threat of termites etc.


  1. Recruit and mentor new local partners interested in promoting and scale out the adobe building technique
  2. Initiate projects and support partners in organization building
  3. Teach the SEA project methodology
  4. Support partners in the process of starting up projects including training
  5. Initiate contact with potential knowledge institutions interested in WSH programs in the private and public sectors


  1. Ensure professional training capacity using best practices
  2. Provide technical advice, help in planning the building process and limited supervision for first adobe houses in any given area
  3. Make available do-it-yourself building manuals for self-builders
  4. Follow-up and help evaluate pilot projects, and assist current partners in scaling out in their communities


  1. Ensure long-term business strategy to support SEA’s consultancy and marketing role in Ethiopia
  2. The goal is for SEA in Ethiopia to become self-sustaining by 2022








About 60-70% of the Ethiopia’s population lives in traditional wood chika houses. This means that about 70 million people are potential “beneficiaries” if they were to choose to build their new house using adobe. As potential adobe self-builders, these are the people who are the real implementers of SEA’s household-based vision for economic growth combined with forest protection. SEA’s link with these people is through a variety of Ethiopian partner organizations and community groups. That’s why we have grass roots communities and the organizations that they are linked to, at the top of our organizational chart.



In introducing a new tradition, it is important not to use methods that are foreign to the community. For this reason, SEA has chosen to work through existing Ethiopian organizations within both the private and the public sectors.


Private sector:

  • Community-based groups (e.g. local farmers’ association), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), faith-based organization
  • Contractors, manufacturers and wholesale/retail businesses that service the housing sector
  • Professional associations (engineering, architecture)


Public sector:

  • Local and regional government agencies and administrations
  • National government ministries and agencies
  • Educational institutions—technical and trades schools, universities & vocational schools)

SEA in Norway has formalized partnerships with 3 organizations: Kembatta Menti Gezimma (KMG) in the southern Kembatta region, Challia Building and Trades School (BTS), a vocational school in Western Ethiopia, and the Ambo Area Green Development Program (AAGDP) in Ambo. For the past two years SEA in Norway has been supporting two pilot projects with local coordinators in Kembatta and Ambo. Though we support small pilot projects, we never own them. This approach takes a lot more time. But we believe that the outcome is more sustainable. From day one there are no large budgets that simply make things happen. Without the hope of receiving significant funding from SEA, Ethiopian partner organizations and the people they work with develop ownership themselves. Why? Because they believe enough in the benefits of adobe to seek funding themselves (organizations), and to build and pay for their own houses (individual Ethiopian householders).

Together, SEA in Norway and Ethiopia provide the ”tools” for introducing a new building tradition to Ethiopia — one that combines economic growth and environmental protection at the household level.


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