Updated Apr 04, 2018

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Mud to Mortar - Cleanable, durable floors for improved sanitation

ARCHIVE Global isbuilding low-cost, low-tech, cleanable and easily maintained concrete floors to replace existing dirt floors in Bangladesh which host parasites and bacteria causing diarrheal disease, particularly for vulnerable children.

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Sarah Ruel-bergeron

Stage 4: Transition to Scale

In 2014 we built a proof of concept pilot of 10 homes. This year we adjusted the floor to be more cost-effective and installed 57 homes. Next, we will build 150 more and then roll the project out as a self-sustainable microfinance solution.

Focus Areas:

Infectious & Vector Diseases, Architecture, Design, Construction and Sanitation

Infectious & Vector Diseases, Architecture, Design, Construction and SanitationSEE LESS

Implemented In:


BangladeshSEE LESS

Country Implemented In
Funds Raised to Date


ARCHIVE Global aims to overcome the burden of unhygienic and unsanitary housing conditions among the most vulnerable to infectious diseases. Our innovation - to replace dirt floors with concrete floors in Bangladeshi homes - has been developed with our local partner, ADESH, to target a major transmission pathway for gastrointestinal and parasitic pathogens. From our baseline survey report, significant levels of infestation of E.Coli and Ascaris have been identified in the floors.



Our solution includes installing a concrete floor atop locally sourced bricks, designed in collaboration with Grimshaw to be durable, cost-effectiveand replicable. This is combined with an extensiveadvocacy campaign to ensure beneficiaries, and community members understand the link between dirt floors, sanitation, hygiene, and health - the message will also be broadcast nationally. Local tradesmen are trained in building the flooring assembly for ongoing demand.

Target Beneficiaries

Mud to Mortar has been developed to serve children under the age of five who are especially vulnerable to disease due to their extended exposure to the ground for play, feeding and mobility, and their families in developing countries like Bangladesh. By providing a new cleanable and maintainable flooring system in the homes of these families we are reducing the risk of exposure to diarrhea-related diseases that are easily spread through parasites and bacteria hosted by the mud floors.

Mission and Vision

The change we aim for through Mud to Mortar is to significantly reduce the prevalence and incidence rates of diarrhea-related diseases which will, in turn, reduce the mortality rates of children under the age of five. We are targetting SDG’s 1, 3, 6 and 11 with our durable concrete flooring and advocacy project to reduce poverty, improve health and wellbeing of the beneficiaries, improve sanitation at the household level and ultimately contribute in creating sustainable cities and communities.

Innovation Description

In many households worldwide dirt floors are a breeding ground for parasitic disease. To fight this, ARCHIVE worked with Grimshaw to create an efficient, durable, cost-effective, replicable floor design by pouring a concrete waffle slab atop a compact assembly which includes locally sourced bricks. Using an 8 step process, the existing dirt floors and foundations are excavated, then provided a layer of waterproofing, surrounded by a brick wall foundation. For the floor,a sand layer and a brick sublayer are laid before the concrete slab is poured. The assembly is then finished with a brick perimeter. With a budget set at $500USD per floor, each floor was implemented under budget. By replacing dirt floors with concrete the rate of diarrheal infection in children under the age of 5 has been drastically reduced, and community demands for health and hygiene upgrades have increased.
Beginning in the spring/summer of 2018, ARCHIVE will expand the project to 150 more floors in Savar’s communities, keeping each home’s flooring cost under $300USD. In the fall we hope to launch a sustainable micro-financing option for families to request the flooring solution themselves.

Competitive Advantage

ARCHIVE Global strives to provide our beneficiaries with efficient, durable, cost-effective, sustainable, and replicable floors that can be used for well over 10 years with minimum maintenance - which will provide positive long-term health outcome. We believe that no other organizations providing flooring solutions are combing all of these qualities with this specific outcome as the primary goal. Based on a research study being completed alongside the current project by BRAC University we believe that at the conclusion of the study we will be able to provide scientific evidence that cement floors significantly reduce the risk of exposure to diarrhea-related diseases based on theanalysis and comparison of floor swabs pre and post interventiontesting for E.Coli and Ascaris infestations.


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