Using layers of sand, gravel, and drying oil, EarthEnable have positively affected the lives over 800 Rwandans so far. The company’s mission is to provide low-cost earthen floors to the thousands of Rwandan homes in which dirt floors bring about illnesses like childhood asthma, diarrhea, malnutrition, and parasitic infestations.
Rwanda is Africa’s most densely populated country and over 80 per cent of its population are forced to survive on dirt floors - an impossible-to-clean breeding ground for parasites and diseases.
While traveling to Rwanda with a Stanford MBA class, the team that would become EarthEnable sought understand the physical and emotional complications resulting from sub-optimal homes. The risk they found led to the development of their initiative to floor Rwanda.
"Puddles on a dirt floor become a breeding ground for mosquitos, and malarial mosquitos are the leading cause of death in Rwanda today. Children living in homes with dirt floors are more prone to diarrhea, the second leading cause of child death,” wrote the company.
“Healthy floors have been shown to reduce the incidence of childhood diarrhea by 49 per cent and to reduce parasitic infections by 78 per cent.”
The company found a solution in a trend sweeping the West Coast of the United States. Homeowners began to crave stylish, modern earthen floors in their homes.
EarthEnable recognised the potential of earthen floors as they are easy to clean, abrasion-resistant, and beautiful. All that was left was to address the challenges.
EarthEnable set out to do this by bridging this gap in training and providing local masons with the necessary expertise, business skills, and professional tools.
The team also developed a new oil made of Rwandan materials that could be used to seal and dry the floors for a fraction of the cost of linseed oil, the oil typically used in the US.