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close this book Self - Help construction of 1-story buildings
View the document About this manual
Open this folder and view contents Introduction
Open this folder and view contents Basic planning and design
Open this folder and view contents Detailed planning for construction
Open this folder and view contents Directions for construction
Open this folder and view contents Construction with bamboo
Open this folder and view contents Latrines
Open this folder and view contents Construction in earthquake areas
Open this folder and view contents Appendices

About this manual

Self-Help Construction of 1-Story Buildings is the sixth in a series of publications being prepared by the United States Peace Corps. These publications combine the practical field experience and technical expertise of Peace Corps volunteers in areas in which development workers have special difficulties finding useful resource materials.


Since 1961 Peace Corps Volunteers have worked at the grass roots level in countries around the world in program areas such as agriculture, public health, and education. Before beginning their two-year assignments, Volunteers are given training in cross-cultural, technical, and language skills. This training helps them to live and work closely with the people of their host countries. It helps them, too, to approach development problems with new ideas that make use of locally available resources and are appropriate to the local cultures.

Recently Peace Corps established an Information Collection & Exchange so that these ideas developed during service in the field could be made available to the wide range of development workers who might find them useful. Materials from the field are now being collected, reviewed, and classified in the Information Collection & Exchange system. The most useful materials will be shared. The Information Collection & Exchange provides an important source of field-based research materials for the production of how-to manuals such as Self - Help Construction of Story Buildings.


Pete Gallant served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia for three years. During that time he worked on and supervised a variety of projects involving the construction of 1-story schools, roads, and bridges in rural areas. Mr. Gallant holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from St. Joseph College; he is now working with the U.S. Department of State.

Peter Hunt worked for several years in the audio-visual and training departments of Save the Children Federation where he worked on materials to help field workers promote community directed construction projects. He is now a free-lance video producer and develops video- and print-based training materials for national and international organizations.

Jim Seaton is Co-Director of Communications Development Service (CDS), an independent organization that provides field training for development workers. He specializes in designing materials and informal educational experiences that help community members focus on their own knowledge, experience, and human resources as the basis for self-development. Mr. Seaton is currently developing training workshops in nutrition planning for several countries to help government staff respond effectively to community initiatives in integrated rural development.

Nancy Bergau, the graphic artist for this manual, served with the Peace Corps as a graphic design consultant to the National Broadcast Training Centre and TV Pendidikan (Educational TV), both in Malaysia. Before joining Communications Development Service to work on this manual, she also worked as art director for a multimedia public health education program. Ms. Bergau has extensive professional experience with the full range of graphics and audiovisual production. Her illustrations proved invaluable in shaping the manual's text and in making the more complex technical details easier to explain.


Many thanks are due here to a number of people who aided the preparation of this manual:

Henry Baker, Director, Santa Cruz City Department of Parks and Recreation, Santa Cruz, California.

Steve Bender, Consultant. Program Director, Rice University Center for Community Design and Research, Houston, Texas.

Tom Callaway, Director, Division of Technology and Documentation, Office of International Affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C.

Earl Kessler, Self-Help Construction Advisor, Foundation for Cooperative Housing.

Special notes of thanks are due to:

Brenda Gates, for her continued support as Project Director of the Peace Corps Program and Training Journal Manual Series.

Karen Seaton, Communications Development Service, for her lay-out work end production assistance with this manual.