The Earthbag building method is a do-it-yourself approach which will enable rural families to come together and produce stronger sturdier wall masses that continue to keep them cooler and better protected.
The technique incorporates a variation of the rammed earth process known as flexible-formed rammed earth and allows walls systems to be erected without the excessive wooden formworks necessary for ordinary rammed earth walls.
With the Earthbag building method, large polypropylene bags (the same type used for rice sacks) are filled with the common laterite (clay soil) used for traditional mud buildings. The bags are then arranged in well laid out wall courses and compacted through a manual ramming process with large mallets. Each additional row of sacks is staggered to allow overlapping, and lines of barbed wire are used to create a scratch bond in between each course that helps prevent slippage as the walls rise. At the lintel level, the wall system is structurally reinforced with a continuous concrete bond beam, and columns are used where necessary. The completed wall system is then rendered smooth with a final cement-based plaster, creating a conventional wall finish.
This process of sustainable, eco building is being promoted both as an advancement of the traditional methods of Atakpamé construction and as an alternative to standard practices of solid, sand-crete block construction done in rural communities.