Free Earthbag Training for NGOs

This earthbag shelter can be built for around $200 -$300 in a few days by a few workers.
This earthbag shelter can be built for around $200 -$300 in a few days by a few workers.

Due to the amazing success of earthbag buildings surviving the recent earthquake, I’m receiving requests to train the trainers who will help rebuild Nepal. I just started the Take it to Zero project and so it seems fitting to offer this training for free. The training will be condensed to two days so it can be done over a weekend.

That’s enough time to cover the basics. In fact, you may not need to come at all if you: 1. Read this introductory article on Step-by-Step Earthbag Building, 2. Watch my free earthbag YouTube videos that show every step; 3. Read my Earthbag Building Guide 4. Practice building a test wall with 10-15 earthbags at home. You’ll soon see how simple it is. It’s basically filling bags with moist soil and then tamping them solid. You can show an unskilled worker how to do each step in about 30 seconds even if they don’t speak English.

Email me at naturalhouses [at] if you’re seriously interested in attending. Times and dates for the training will be set based on the needs of the participants. Let me know what dates are best for you and what organization you are representing. Keep in mind this training is for NGOs, architects and builders who will help train other builders to rebuild Nepal. We’ll cover each step of construction just like in previous workshops except this time the emphasis will be on earthquake resistant building techniques. My earthbag building DVD was made by compiling footage from other workshops, so you’ll know exactly what is covered if you get the earthbag DVD. This is a limited time offer. We’ll do one or two free workshops and see how it goes.

38 thoughts on “Free Earthbag Training for NGOs”

    • Keep reading our sites. We have lots of free information that can help. You can email me directly with specific question

  1. Dear Owen

    This is great and Im so happy to see Helter Shelter are attending. I think there will be a great demand for this type of workshop in the coming weeks as I know three other groups who are interested in this technology but who have not written here.

    Keep us updated on forthcoming developments and workshops.



    • It’s chaotic. The first group on the 23/24 cancelled when they got a free offer in Nepal. The workshop was pushed back to the 30/31. Then a second group cancelled because they thought the training was in Nepal. The next workshop will be whenever we get a sufficiently large group together.

  2. Hey Owen. Great work. Your help is greatly appreciated. I’m representing Helter Shelter a group of people trying to coordinate and forward the rebuilding process. We’ve successfully build lots and lots of community toilets (pit latriens) through a volunteer model, and we want to do the same with earth-bag hoses. The volunteers are thought. Then they run there own teams, that again and again split up to reach further. Our forces is networking, funding and determination.

    We will attend the workshop/meeting today at OR2K

    Please connect us with people you see relevant, so we can help.

    WIP budget for any-sized earth-bag house:

  3. Hello,
    I was wondering what sort of bags you are using and if they are/can be made in Nepal? also please let me know about the training as well.

    Thank you.


    • Join our Meetup group or First Step Himalayas facebook page so it’s easy to get answers like this.

      This is from Fionna: We bought our tubing from a shop in Chahabill…other places have it too. Try places that sell packaging for carpet industry. We bought a roll of 1500m – enough for one school. Gravel bags: use rice sacks.

  4. Hi, ive just emailed you also regarding requests from communities in nepal and my need to catch up on the best prooven techniques to resist sismic action with earthbag construction

    Above on this thread, someone offers to film and that allows anyone anywhere to be able to capture the concepts without having to be present

    • I haven’t received the email yet. We’re developing a list of earthquake resistant earthbag building recommendations that should be finished next week. Watch this blog for info.

      I hope to film the workshop later after things settle down. Things are real chaotic right now. Lots of emails, trying to get supplies ready, rainy season coming…

  5. hello Owen have friends in far east Nepal village maybe very interested in this building method to re build school and houses, also another that runs a farm that trains local women in organic farming in Nepal. is the training in Nepal and dates then I can send on info to them to contact you…great work your team are doing,.

    • Organic garden: That’s what I’m doing in Thailand. Similar except ours is a forest garden. I’m working hard to finish it before we get too much rain.

      Now I’m thinking about going to Nepal in Sept. after the rainy season. The need is so huge. Very few people may come to Thailand. See what happens. What do you think? Find a training site near Kathmandu? Seems too difficult traveling to villages.

      • has purchased land just outside Kathmandu and the plan is to build a village for orphaned children, and more. They are an amazing association and it might be worth contacting them re. Venue for building. Marigot as well make it a useful exercise! Happy to contact them if you want me to. Cheers, brigitte.
        Ps my village in Solu has a lot of destroyed houses, so I d love to send a couple of people to the workshop. The monsoon is on in Nepal til usually end of September. Supposed to be early this year.
        Thanks for sharing your amazing knowledge with people who need it! :-)

        • Yes, please contact them and point them toward some earthbag articles. Thanks. Would love to have some your people come here for training. See today’s blog post.

  6. Owen, I am interested in taking the training course in building the cost effective housing for needy families whose houses have been destroyed from the earthquake. We are a group of friends volunteering and collecting funds helping in relief effort in villages in Gorkha & Dhading. I am also a hobbist videographer. I can help you make videos of the bulding process. Awating your reply. Sincerely, Sushil

  7. Owen
    Sounds like just the thing. WE have 100-200 homes we need to rebuild….this is a good start. Our college students need a project and it would be great to train them and then send them out en masse to rebuild each others’ family homes.

    We are in Kathmandu (Minbhawan)… we would like to train a core of students, can you line something up for us ASAP. Thank you. earle canfield, exec dir. ANSWER

    Our country director is Bal Krishna Khatry “Bal”, very nice, very friendly, very dedicated. Please cc him as well. thank you.

  8. Dear Owen
    WE are Marxian Gurukul a ngo in Kathmandu City.on our premises we are planning to build meditation halls offices dormitories other buildings.We want to go for ecofriendly construction.
    I am swanaam its present chairperson.we like to join the training.Please kindly include us.
    With regards

  9. Hello Owen,
    Where are those workshops happening? I am involved in a small village in Eastern Nepal and I would love to get the right training to my community there.. How can this happen? Is there any training happening in Nepal?
    Thank you so much for your generosity!
    Warm regards,


    • My workshops are in Thailand. See today’s blog post about First Steps Himalaya. They’re going to offer workshops in September. We’re also working on a Meetups group where people can network online. Watch for the announcement.

  10. I am an Architect, currently working in CE construction. I would like to attend training.I will be available in any coming dates.

  11. My parents is doing permaculture and sustainable farming since 1995. Our farm is at sitapaila, kathmandu called Sunrise Farm and we are also connected with Himalayan Permaculture Center. I think its good option for all Nepali so, I would like to participate in training. I will availaible in all coming days. Please inform me about cost and place of training.

  12. I highly recommend any training that Owen does.
    A critical issue for earthbag builders in Nepal is getting the best and latest reinforcement information, and Owen has been at the forefront of encouraging this.
    Thanks so much, Owen for your encouragement to me (and I know to others also) over the years. Also, I know these training sessions will cost you in time, money and heavy labor. I hope that they will allow better, quicker rebuilding in Nepal
    Patti S

  13. I am keenly interested in attending this seminar but i don’t belong to any NGO’s or organization can i take part in this training..?

    • Yes if you’re going to help rebuild Nepal or another country that’s struggling with poverty, hurricane damage, etc.

  14. We would like to have training this Saturday and Sunday if possible. We will have at least 10 people from 3-4 different NGO’s. Action for Child Rights, Nepal Art for Education, Eutai Mala Nepal and Givingasha. We may also have an architrave or 2.

    Thank you

    • Will the following weekend work? That will give me more time to prepare. I need to have a truckload of soil delivered, etc. But I also realize the rainy season is fast approaching and millions of people are homeless. Maybe we can fast track things. Email me at naturalhouses [at] as soon as possible.

  15. Everyone is asking me when the training is.

    ***Please email me your names, the name of your organization and your preferred dates for training. I’m very flexible. I need to know when you are available.

  16. I would like to attend this training. Just tell me where and when. I would also like to bring local partners Nepal Art for Education and Action for Child rights. Do they need to apply themselves or can they be included in this application?

    Thank you,
    Beth Brewster
    Executive DIrector

  17. Will you be able to record any videos (for YouTube) during this training showing the earthquake resistant practices being implemented? I’ve been reading about confined masonry and similar ideas that were mentioned in your other replies, but seeing the different steps for earthquake resistant practices carried out would help many of us visual learners understand much better than looking at a sketch or reading a description. I really don’t have the funds to attend an event in another country, but as you know from my previous comments I’m reading up on this issue from another place with many earthquakes and poverty. (Mexico)

    • That’s a real good idea. Our videographer son has a different job now and is unavailable. I’d have to find someone else. See what happens.


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