Sudan - UN-Habitat Community Development Program Employs Soil Block Technology


Over the years, the UN-Habitat has established significant experience in the Eastern region of Sudan through the implementation of multiple projects related to housing. These projects are focused on building materials and techniques, training local capacities, and community rehabilitation. 

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  • Rehabilitation of local communities affected by the refugee crisis
  • Promote and train local capacities for good governance, community development, and infrastructure management
  • Introduce environmentally friendly building materials


The first of the projects was known as the Sustainable Options for Livelihood Security in Easter Sudan (SOLSES). SOLSES is a rehabilitation program for refugee-impacted areas and communities aimed to increase safety and well-being for people living in or near refugee camps. The main activities include formulating a work plan through consulting with local authorities and communities, training local authorities on urban governance, promoting economic development and infrastructure maintenance, all while valuing environmental protection and management.

In Khartoum, the UN-Habitat implemented various projects with the support of the European Commission and Italian Cooperation to eradicate urban poverty through effective urban planning. The program was intended to support poor populations and energize them to build their own homes.

In 2007 in Darfur, a Preparatory Program was aimed at building community infrastructure and recovering land tenure to enable local residents to build their own homes using woodless building techniques. The technique consists of mixing at least 5% cement (or lime stabilizer with soil and a minimal amount of water, and possibly waterproofing agents). The blocks are compressed using steel hand press machines or mechanical presses machines to produce good quality blocks. Benefits of the technology are a greater energy efficiency, savings on money and on firewood as well as flexible sizing. The ability for local production and labor intensiveness can create jobs. The program includes the preparation of urban profiles and training sessions in the production and use of stabilized soil block.


The SOLSES program anticipated reaching a budget of $11.6 million USD to be used to rehabilitate the regions of Kassala and Gedaref in Eastern Sudan.  Additionally, the building of public latrines, classrooms, a clinic and a community center as well as 50 housing units have been realized with community participation. Urban profiles were published in 2009 including detailed assessments of land and security of tenure, access to adequate shelter, local economic development, and the impacts of migration among returnees and resettled people. Besides skills training in the soil blocks technology and awareness buildings measures have been implemented.