Investing in rural Africa – Over the next decade, the African Wildlife Foundation is building 15 conservation-themed primary schools in some of Africa's most remote regions.
Saving the bonobo – In partnership with architectural firm MASS Design Group, the AWF are building the first school in Ilima, in the Congo Basin Forest. The rainforest is home to much wildlife, including the endangered bonobo.
Protector of peacocks – The forest is also home to the Congo peacock. In exchange for AWF building the school, the local community agreed to set aside a patch of land for conservation purposes -- a stretch that will be free form hunting, logging and unplanned agriculture.
Locally sourced – Ilima is incredibly remote, and getting materials in and out of the country can prove challenging. As a result, MASS Design built the school with locally-sourced materials.
Yesterday's school – The primary school that previously existed in the area was in poor condition.
Competing with the cities – Often, kids going to school in Africa's rural communities don't get access to the resources provided those educated in cities and towns.
Luring the teachers – By comparison, the new school is designed to lure the region's best teachers and keep up retention rates. Comfortable faculty housing is one of the main draws for educational professionals.
Sustainable schooling – The school is built primarily from mud bricks and local hardwood. MASS Design tested different soils and palm oils in the region to find which combination of ingredients would yield the most durable bricks.
A conservation curriculum – Though the school will follow the national curriculum, conservation will be integrated into the lesson plan.
Tomorrow's students – AWF's CEO envisions the schools will produce a generation of environmentally-aware leaders and professionals.
A schooling revolution – As demand increases throughout Africa for low-cost, rural schools, MASS Design and AWF hope their model will be followed.
Local craftsmen – MASS Design worked with carpenters and masons in Ilima to pick up local knowledge of how to build with the region's climate in mind
Protecting the school – By working with locals, and showing them their own techniques, they're hoping to ensure future maintenance of the school.
Factoring in the climate – Factoring in the rainforest climate, which is prone to heavy rains and high heat, the school walls only go up two-thirds of the way to allow for cross breeze.
Reusing rain – Rain catchments will store water for agricultural uses.