What We Do

We Train the Unemployed to Create Ecosettlements

Ecosettlements integrate green technologies, materials and methods which have a low impact on the environment. These require little energy in their construction, produce no harmful emissions, catch and store energy, manage water and waste, and reduce running costs:

– Natural building

– Renewable energy 

– Water Management

– Recycling waste

– Permaculture and Biodynamics

These help to reduce the impact on climate change by lowering the carbon footprint of the settlement.

What is Natural Building?

Natural Building primarily uses natural materials such as earth and timber and stone, as opposed to industrial materials.

Why Use Earth?

Earth is used in Natural Building because it allows a building to breathe, absorbing and giving off moisture, naturally regulating levels of humidity.

Earth absorbs smoke, fumes and odours, creating a healthy environment.

Clay is used in eight natural building methodologies:

Adobe /earth bricks


Wattle and daub

Rammed earth

Leichtlem/ light clay

Sandbags and earth bags

Straw Bale

Plasters of clay, sand and dung and lime


Why Renewable Energy?  

We use energy systems that are designed to utilise natural resources in a sustainable way.

Examples are solar panels and wind turbines to provide electricity and heat.

How is Water Managed?

Recycling wastewater

  • Storage tanks for rainwater collection

How is Waste Recycled?

kitchen and garden waste for compost

plastic and tins for plant containers

  • ecobricks and glass bottles for building

Permaculture and Biodynamics

Community supported agriculture improves access to healthy organic food, strengthens the local economy and improves community relationships

integrate landscaping, organic farming, housing and facilities in a sustainable way

  • minimise waste and maximise recycling

  • conserve natural resources

  • vertical vegetable gardens


The Whole Earth Building Foundation is a public benefit organisation (PBO) which trains and builds with communities in South Africa in sustainability, natural building and food security methodologies.

We work towards self-reliance, creating linkages that sustain environmental and economic improvement. We conduct our programmes ensuring that the majority of investment goes into the local economy.

Economic sustainability plays a large role in natural building and food security and investing in green design has been proven to be extremely viable financially. Yearly savings result in more than double the investment.

We transfer skills that can provide incomes and be used to better our lives, such as the ability to provide superior housing, social spaces and food gardens. This results in less reliance on outside services that are costly and in many cases unsustainable and for some communities non-existent. 

The economic quality of earth and natural building materials in a training environment is perfect for affordable settlements.

People from rural areas have experience in natural building. We will promote this knowledge in building settlements, working towards the ideal of zero waste and off the grid living with the least reliance on public utilities.

We encourage people to value the wealth of indigenous knowledge about ecologically friendly methods of building and food gardening and use them for modern living. Builders in industrialised countries are now turning to these very cultures for solutions to building challenges.

Earth building is becoming more sophisticated and has reached high scientific and technological levels and holds its own against mainstream technological values.

All this inspiring information is readily accessible in libraries, on the internet and increasingly on building sites and settlements around the world. 

“Using indigenous knowledge to create human settlements helps us to define our cultural identity, affirm our diverse cultures and promote new and previously neglected research into our rich oral traditions, customs and building technologies.”  Luli Callinicos, Historian