Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

Casa Congo

What is the name of your solution?

Kuna: House of Nature

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Kuna, in Mayan Yucatec "House of Nature”, is a bamboo social housing program with a mission to create a bamboo-based economy that empowers the community to design and build their own homes using local, regenerative, and high performing materials.

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?

The Kuna project helps communities affected by climate change and natural disasters to access a new building technology for homes developed by a locally trained workforce that is utilizing state-of-the-art building physics and off-site construction principles, which are founded on circular value chains in regions where demand is surging. Groups of qualified local community leaders deploy housing units with speed, affordability and zero carbon engineering design.

Our project tackles 3 core problems presented by the Challenge: (1) reduce embodied and operational carbon emissions in homes located in countries with low cumulative emissions by using timber bamboo; (2) it deploys resilient, safe, and affordable housing in informal communities built by unskilled labour that uses a prefabricated framing system, and (3) it restores degraded land by establishing certified bamboo plantations that support a local supply chain and unlock carbon sequestration revenue generation.

Nicaragua's housing deficit is over 1 million homes, we have built 21 Kuna homes in 2022. Globally, more than 1.6 billion people live in inadequate housing. Our Kuna operating model can be deployed globally.

What is your solution?

The Kuna project restores degraded land with bamboo, deploys new material manufacturing technology to build prefabricated bamboo homes, and builds zero-carbon single and multi-family units equipped with self-sustaining systems.

At the forest level, we establish bamboo plantations on deforested land and degraded mine sites. From these efforts, we sell verified carbon credits in the voluntary carbon market and procure sustainably grown bamboo for the construction of our homes.

At the manufacturing level, we deploy bamboo processing technology and advanced off-site manufacturing principles to mass-produce high-quality single-family homes from bamboo. We research, test and develop new bamboo processing technology to increase bamboo's durability, workability, and value-add supply chain logistics. Our innovative bamboo treatment technology uses ocean water as the primary treatment solution to enhance bamboo durability against rot and Formosan termite attacks. Our proprietary Kuna bamboo framing system is designed for the local context and disregards unapplicable technocratic solutions. A Kuna bamboo house has been engineered to withstand 7.0 magnitude earthquakes and 250km/hr winds. 

Our off-site manufacturing layout has been optimized to produce standardized components or "kit of parts," which are shipped to the site and erected to construct a Kuna home. We create green job opportunities for unskilled men and women and teach them how to work with bamboo, power tools, and prefabricated building systems. The team fabricates the home components following a proprietary system of jigs empowering local communities to build their own homes. 

At the zero-carbon building level, our project master plans and builds residential communities for low-income families in developing nations. We can assemble a prefabricated bamboo home in 3 days. Every home is equipped with rainwater collection systems, biodigester, composting systems, and agroecological gardens to grow fruits and vegetables.  

See videos about our project below: 

Why bamboo, why Casa Congo

Bamboo Home Construction Timelapse

How Our Agroecological Garden Program Works

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

The Kuna projects serves communities in tropical areas where bamboo grows best. It serves communities that depend heavily on imported concrete and steel to meet their housing demands. It serves communities that lack skilled construction labour force and communities that exclude women in construction and material supply chains. In our case, the Kuna pilot project served the families of El Astillero, Nicaragua, by providing zero carbon homes and it also served the community of Chontales, Nicaragua, by establishing a new bamboo forest based economy.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

The Kuna team is composed of a multi-disciplinary group from different backgrounds, ethnicity, and education level. Our Team Lead is a Nicaraguan, but Canadian-trained engineer. Our general manager is a Nigerian, but Australian-trained architect. Our construction manager is a local community leader, as well as our plantation manager. At our organization, we deploy placemaking and community brainstorming workshops for every program we develop. Kuna was born out of the need to create a local social business and solve the housing affordability crisis in El Astillero. We hosted an extensive socio-economic survey to understand community needs and involved selected families in the participatory architectural design process. The team conducts stakeholder consultations and puts local community leaders in a position with decision-making power.


Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Support informal communities in upgrading to more resilient housing, including financing, design, and low-carbon materials or energy sources.

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

El Astillero

In what country is your solution team headquartered?

  • Nicaragua

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model that is rolled out in one or more communities

How many people does your solution currently serve?

The Kuna project delivered 20 homes to families of four or more (2 parents, 2 plus children). Additionally, it created full-time employment for a group of ten off-site construction workers of which 40% are women and ten on-site assemblers. Downstream, at the forestry level, the project employs two teams of 12 harvesters led by our operations manager who is a woman and a strong local leader. At our bamboo treatment and drying facilities, we created part-time work for three groups of five local families. In total, the project created over 60 green jobs and benefited more than 80 persons with zero-carbon homes.

Below photo of the family Chavez's lot prior to the construction of the new Kuna home.


Below photo of the project's off-site manufacturing team in front of a Kuna bamboo home. 


Why are you applying to Solve?

Our team is looking for a network that will allow us to scale the Kuna social business model globally to decarbonize the construction industry with bamboo. We are looking for direct funding for a new prefab workshop and treatment facility, as well as technical expertise, to continue deploying our housing solutions. Our 3 main specific needs in Nicaragua are:

-       Expertise in carbon standards to help us develop the PDD for our bamboo forests, achieve VSC / GS certification, and unlock carbon credit revenue to support the working capital required to establish and operate a full-scale bamboo plantation

-       Expertise in lean manufacturing to support the fine-tuning of our social housing design and achieve efficiencies in cost and building methodology

-       Expertise in Nature Based Solutions / Climate Finance to structure the business model and connect us with impact investors to kick off a 100 hectare Guadua bamboo plantation in Chontales, Nicaragua, which will lead the program to financial sustainability


Once the model is fully developed in Nicaragua and is financially sustainable, thus no longer relying purely on donations, our aim to scale KuNa across Latin America and then globally.

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Financial (e.g. accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Product / Service Distribution (e.g. delivery, logistics, expanding client base)
  • Public Relations (e.g. branding/marketing strategy, social and global media)
  • Technology (e.g. software or hardware, web development/design)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Sol Rodriguez

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

We must change the way and materials we build with to achieve carbon neutrality. Kuna introduces giant bamboo as zero-carbon construction material for the 21st century and incorporates principles of lean manufacturing to change the way homes are built. We are well positioned to disrupt the construction industry both locally and globally.

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

  • Creation of a 100 hectare bamboo plantation with a bamboo nursery

  • Deployment of robotic fleet to automate monitoring of carbon capture + forestry performance

  • Development of proprietary bamboo treatment technology to supercharge material processing

  • Achievement of certifications (VSC, GS, CCBA) to secure income from carbon credits.

  • Investment in capability building for community led reforestation business model 

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  • 17. Partnerships for the Goals

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?


Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

The core technology we use to deploy Kuna homes is virtual construction, drones, and material science to improve durability and ease of construction using natural and irregular bamboo as a building material. 

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new technology

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Ancestral Technology & Practices
  • Manufacturing Technology
  • Materials Science
  • Robotics and Drones
  • Software and Mobile Applications

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Nicaragua

In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?


Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Organizations (B2B)

Solution Team

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