Adventures in REDD+,  Biodiversity,  Conservation,  Forest Communities

Traditional Roofing in Kenya

By: Scolastica Fundi – Eco-factory assistant – 18th October 2011

Our pilot REDD project area at Rukinga, Kenya, Wildlife Works’ growth has been tremendous within this last year.  We are erecting seven new building all using traditional materials and techniques.

Here we show traditional roofing called Makuti in the building of our new dining room.  Makuti are bunches weaved leaves from a coconut plant caked Mnazi in Swahili.  They are mostly found in coastal region of Kenya.  Kenyan coastal people like the Mijikenda tribe mostly do Makuti production.


STEP 1: The coconut plant leaves are harvested when they turn brown

STEP 2: The leaves are soaked in water to facilitate easy folding.

STEP 3: Sticks are cut according to the appropriate size for building.

For example, 30cm sticks are used for folding over the makuti.

STEP 4: The leaves are stitched over the sticks using back stitching method.

STEP 5: The makuti are carefully packed in bundles and stored safely.

STEP 6: When roofing, the makuti are first tied to the roofing structure from the bottom going upwards, to the topline of the roof using a sisal fiber. The makuti are laid down in a way that they overlap at a distance of 4 inches to avoid water dripping inside the house.

The advantages of using makuti are that they have efficient cooling effect than other roofs and are the cheapest way of roofing in Kenyan coast.

Stay tuned for more eco building techniques from the Kenyan bush.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *