Earthbag Building:

Earthbag building is an innovative and sustainable building technique that addresses the ‘triple bottom line’, because it is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. By its essence, Earthbag building is low impact, low cost and creates jobs.

The Earthbag building system uses Earthbags- polypropylene bags filled with soil- that are then stacked one on top of the other to build stable walls.  

After trialling Earthbag building with huge success at The Mlambe School, one of our key aims is to replicate the technique across other sites in Malawi in order to obtain a perfect building model. We also aim to make the Malawian side of the charity a successful and profitable social enterprise in its own right, allowing our team of Earthbag Experts to be financially sustainable and rely on their building skills. 

We recently had our first external building contract, which saw some of the team go to Lilongwe and use the Earthbag technique to build a school. You can read all about it here.

Earthbag Benefits:

What We Have Achieved:

When we first visited The Mlambe School in 2012, there was just one school block and most lessons were taught outside under a tree.

The Mlambe School now has:

  • 3 school blocks (each with two classrooms) and a 4th school block being built.
  • 4 earthbag teachers’ houses
  • 1 earthbag computer room
  • 2 earthbag store room
  • Pit latrines
  • Compost toilets

Bird’s-Eye Plan:

Our Building Programme’s Director on Earthbags:

The benefits of Earthbag construction are many. Its a highly sustainable method, as your main building resource is the very earth on which you’re building. This also keeps costs low, and as its a low-tech method needing little specialist kit, your main costs are your local workforce – keeping the money in the local economy. Its also an easy technique to learn, allowing you to train anyone who’s keen! Earthbag walls are thick, keeping the interior nice and cool, and with a little care they last for a long long time! There are still earth structures standing from centuries ago!
Steve Lovejoy, The Mlambe Project