Bricks, Bees and Community Development in Tanzania

Kennedy Mahili with UB students.

Build on the work of UB study abroad students and engage with CLAO through Community Technologies in Tanzania

Project context

Kennedy Mahili is the Executive Director of CLAO, an NGO that supports sustainable construction and vulnerable populations around Mwanza, Tanzania. Since 2010, CLAO has been leading construction projects that use soil-stabilized bricks which they produce on site using a hand-powered brick press and local soil. The bricks are used to construct water tanks and eco-latrines, structures that address critical needs related to clean water and sanitation.

In January 2023, CLAO hosted a group of undergraduate and graduate students from the University at Buffalo, led by Chris Romano, UB Architecture professor, and Dr Dan Nyaronga, professor from SUNY Empire College.  The students collaborated on the construction of a water tank, learning about local design and construction methods, and building capacity for future collaboration. The students have access to a similar press at UB with plans to engage in design innovation together with CLAO while also continuing to study brick production.

In addition to bricks and water tanks, Kennedy also leads other community projects including beekeeping, eco-flush latrines, tailoring and poultry raising. These initiatives support marginalized communities while leveraging local technologies and developing local talent. 

placing a bee hive in a tree.

Kennedy invites SUNY students to document current community technologies and build opportunities for scaling initiatives to empower marginalized groups with a focus on People with Albinism (PWA), rural women, and youth.

He welcomes ideas for expanding engagement beyond UB Study Abroad and welcoming students, faculty, and community partners to collaborate and engage through Experiential Learning.

Project oportunities

Students are invited to engage in all CLAO projects including:

  • Beekeeping
  • Soil-stabilized bricks
  • Water tanks
  • Eco-flush latrines
  • Tailoring
  • Education

Projects can be customized based on student or faculty interest. 

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Semester-long engagement
Start time Spring or Summer
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration Small group
Benefits Academic Credit, Volunteer, Work Study
Who is eligible Junior or senior level students

Core partners

Project mentor

Mara Huber

Senior Director Instructional Innovation and Transformation

5 Norton Hall

Phone: (716) 829-2834


SUNY SDG Project Challenge

This project is for students interested in the SUNY SDG Project Challenge.

Express Interest

  1. Email ELN with letter of interest at to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to send this email)
  2. After you send your email expressing your interest, click the button to schedule a meeting to discuss the project. (Please be sure to include your letter of interest when scheduling the event)


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