The Dish


building schools for sub-saharan Africa

SCALEAfrica is a non-profit organization dedicated to the design and construction of vital school infrastructure projects in rural sub-Saharan Africa. Through culturally-responsive, sustainable architecture and an active community participation model, SCALEAfrica seeks to increase educational access and effectiveness, as a means of alleviating poverty and diminishing the impact of the major public health threats that plague rural African communities.

With too few teachers and lack of classroom space in Zambia, the lucky student that can pay the school fees and squeeze into the overcrowded session only attends half days, or about 4 hours a day. Combine that with a long drawn out rainy season that washes out your makeshift classroom or scorching heat that makes it difficult to concentrate and it goes without saying that students and teachers need more well-designed physical space to learn effectively.

Real change occurs when the people affected are the primary players in making it happen and sustaining the effects. SCALEAfrica introduces sustainable designs and building techniques to the community with the expectation that everyone who benefits from these improvements participates in making it come to life. Whether it’s making bricks by hand, carting water for the concrete mixture or painting walls, the whole community has a part in building their collective future.

Currently under construction and nearing completion is a new four classroom building at Chitempha Basic School. With 450 students and growing, Chitempha desperately needs well-designed classrooms to relieve overcrowding and provide learning facilities. Pictures of all the projects can be seen on the Our Projects page.

Their latest project is the Chitempha Basic School in Chamatwa Village, Mfuwe, Zambia, for circa 450 students. They are employing several sustainable practices like passive daylighting and ventilation, as well as a rainwater collection system for the roof, to bring simple, affordable, sustainable solutions to the school environment.

Learn more about SCALEAfrica in a video from Founder Erinn McGurn here.


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