we were working in Zimbabwe, a country with a very
interesting standards organisation which is both non government and
not for profit. At our suggestion and with the backing of
rammed earth standard was taken up with enthusiasm in 1997. In
2001 the Zimbabwean National Standard Code of Practice for Rammed
Earth Structures was published.
For a few years this was a Zimbabwe only project, with
projects built in Zimbabwe using the code including a school at Mtoko
by the Minister of Education. But in 2007 we were invited to address
SADCSTAN, the standards arm of the Southern African Development
Community, and propose the harmonisation of the standard across the 15
country bloc. And this work item was accepted.
The process of gaining agreement to harmonise a
standard across borders is technocratic and arduous. Stakeholders in
each country have to by mobilised to support the process in their own
home country, and this supports the process happening at international
After working through this program for
5 years the standard was finally voted into being in 2012 by an easy
majority of countries. So whether your project is in Angola, Botswana,
DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia,
Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia or Zimbabwe you
are supported by a national standard.
Zambia this has enabled the building of a school by a community which
can pass inspection by the Ministry of Education. This means the
Ministry is able to send government teachers to the school and so the
children can sit national exams. That means they can move on to
secondary education. No standard, no school, no teachers, no exams, no
education. So standards are more than dry documents, they allow things
to happen, people to achieve...
harmonisation of the standard across the SADC region we pursued a
similar process in EAC under the
Tri Partite Agreement where one regional economic community (REC)
can harmonise a standards on a fast track basis following a successful
process in another REC.
However this process
was overtaken when it became apparent that