Stone arch bridges

Connecting communities using local construction materials

Image courtesy of Enabel.
Buildings: Construction method
Buildings: Material
Food: Distribution
Mobility: Freight

Enabel, the Belgian development organization, wanted to improve agriculture in Uganda and Tanzania. They found that by building bridges, access to urban markets could be improved and earning potential could be increased for rural communities, while making the supply network more resilient for urban dwellers.


The bridges are built from locally available stone instead of concrete and steel, and use ancient construction methods and standardised designs. This allows for more local jobs to be created whilst reducing both costs and emissions by 75%.

Social Impact

By making it easy and safe to cross rivers, rural communities are better connected to urban markets for their products. Bridges also facilitate other connections such as travel for work and healthcare, improving quality of life in outlying areas. The construction of the bridges creates local jobs and develops stone masonry skills that can be used in other construction projects.

Environmental Impact

By using locally available stone, the emissions associated with transportation of heavy materials is significantly reduced. The construction of the bridges requires less cement than would normally have been the case, further reducing the emissions associated with construction.

Success Factors

An online manual has been developed, allowing other communities to adopt this approach.


The project has built over 100 bridges and trained about 50 masons in the construction technique.

Founded in


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Development agency
Founding Organisation Two

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Founding Organisation Three

Development agency
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Households reached
UN Sustainable Development Goal(s)
Last edited on:
May 2, 2023
Shared on:
May 2, 2023

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