The “Build Our Schools” contest

A contest to build classrooms

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TD Chad
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Concept

About the project Edit

Inadequate school infrastructure is one of the main weaknesses of the Chadian educational system. Fifty percentage of school infrastructures are built with straw and must be redone every year by the students’ parents.

The great demand for classrooms is an alarming development by the Mayo Kebbi region’s population. However, it started in the Germany cooperation to think about adopting possible solutions to the precarious teaching conditions due to the difficulty to implement infrastructures with modern materials in the decentralized program zone of the departments of Mayo Dallah, Lac Léré du Mont d’Illi and Kabbia (Prodalka, Republic of Chad).

With this in mind, a contest called “Build Our Schools” was launched in January 2009. It addressed the Associations des Parents d’Elèves (APE) which are associations for the students’ parents) of public and community schools. The contest theme was building classrooms from local materials with the goal of inciting the populations to design and build a sustainable (economic, ecologic and social) building themselves.

One hundred and seventy-nine parent associations of schools in the program’s intervention zone participated in the contest which resulted in 203 classrooms being built by the local populations.

Themes

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

The principle of the contest is that each participant submits his/her own idea in competition with the others. This brings out everyone’s creativity and stimulates their ability to find a solution to the given problem. In the case of the “Build Our Schools” contest, the challenge was the inadequacy and extreme deplorable conditions of the schools.

In fact, at the beginning of the school year in Chad, the school calendar could not be respected because of the construction of straw hangars. The school year started late and the beginning of the winter in April-May also marked the anticipated end of classes. All of this contributes to the decrease of students.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

Building classrooms helps make the populations’ community aware of improving the children’s school conditions.

The populations’ participation translates into a strong social mobilization that manifests itself through fundraising and participating in construction work which highlights their willingness to take real ownership of the project.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

The approach developed can be reproduced on a large scale, but requires a good awareness campaign that addresses the populations and explains the reasons for the approach. Financial contributions and human investment are common for most of the projects. It is enough to channel the various energies towards a common goal.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

Despite the efforts provided by the Chad-German cooperation to implement school infrastructures in this zone, it must be noted that the needs remain great. To deal with the situation and in order to offset the shortened school year, careful consideration has led to the realization of classrooms built with local materials that last much longer than straw such as adobe, improved adobe and laterite.

What is the business model of this project? Edit

The business model that was developed for this project is interesting in the sense that it reduces the costs of building a classroom considerably by using local materials.


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