Promoting off-farm employment and income in the Great Lakes region through climate responsive building material production

Project completed

The program aims at triggering local economic development and increasing employment and income in the rural areas of the Great Lakes region through promoting climate responsive building material technologies. The program will work on 3 different axes: support the efforts of the Government of Rwanda and Burundi to protect the natural resources; promote innovative technologies and offer corresponding vocational training; develop economically viable solutions for professional and climate responsive building material production.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
The Great Lakes Region
Climate change and environment
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Biosphere protection
Vocational training
SME development
Employment creation
Non agricultural value-chain development (till 2016)
01.03.2012 - 30.06.2016
CHF  9’145’000

Due to the high population growth and the trend towards increased urbanization and in the light of the high economic dominance of subsistence agriculture, there is a high pressure on arable land in Rwanda and Burundi. The young rural generation is forced to seek for alternative off-farm employment in order to secure their livelihood. Brick making is one of the common side activities for this young generation. In addition, the high population growth challenges the sustainable use of natural resources. Fuel wood continues to be widely used in traditional brick making in order to respond to the growing housing demand. The government of Rwanda and Burundi have taken several measures to protect the environment, manage natural resources and develop economically viable solutions for professional and climate responsive building material production. However, many of these governmental efforts only have limited impact. SDC’s support at regional level to promote viable climate responsive technologies and off-farm employment is therefore needed.


Promoting off-farm employment and income generation through climate responsive building material production

Target groups

Building material workers, entrepreneurs, raw material suppliers and business service providers, vocational training centres and research institutes, rural families, district officers and local decision makers, national authorities in charge of environment and housing

Medium-term outcomes


  • Information relevant for selecting new sites and fuels for building material production is inventoried.
  • Participatory natural resource use planning methods and tools for local authorities are developed/complemented for sustainable local soil and fuel use management.
  • Labour and environment friendly technologies producing affordable building material are tested and adapted to the local context.
  • Gender-sensitive working conditions and task divisions in the building material production are developed for improving occupational health and income especially for women
  • Training packages for rural building material trades are available in Vocational Training Centers.
  • Successful role models for labour friendly employment and climate responsive raw material supply and production are available for new building material entrepreneurs.
  • Service providers relevant for rural small and medium enterprises (SMEs) development have access to reliable information required for financing labour friendly and climate responsive rural building material ventures.

    Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
    Credit area Development cooperation
    Project partners Contract partner
    Swiss Non-profit Organisation
    • SDC Field Office
    • SKAT Foundation
    • Swisscontact

    Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    9’145’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    8’594’927
    Project phases Phase 3 01.01.2021 - 31.12.2024   (Current phase) Phase 2 01.07.2016 - 28.02.2021   (Completed)

    Phase 1 01.03.2012 - 30.06.2016   (Completed)