The lack of school buildings, whether it be classrooms, libraries or toilet blocks is one of the biggest challenges facing schools in Ethiopia. The small number of classrooms means that schools have to operate a shift system, where certain students attend in the morning, and others in the evening, and even then class sizes can still be as large as 50 to 60.
We want to build 20 new classrooms, and at the same time we are looking to improve the way in which we do so. We are exploring innovative new ways to make classroom building as sustainable and inexpensive as possible.
Link Ethiopia will continue to expand the number of classrooms constructed, with a focus on rural schools. All classrooms built will have regular visits to get updates on the building maintenance and to conduct evaluations interviewing new students who will use the classrooms. Schools will be also able to apply for small grants from a maintenance fund.
We also want to pilot a new classroom construction technique to Ethiopia called ‘interlocking stabilised soil blocks’ (ISSB) from other parts of Ethiopia and neighbouring countries to the schools we work with. It has been hugely successful in other parts of Ethiopia and its environmentally friendly because it uses very little cement and its easily manufactured by the local community.
What stage are we at?
Link Ethiopia has 20 years of expertise on classroom building projects and we have already seen the difference it has made to the schools that we work with. We construct classrooms using both traditional materials (mud and wood) as well as concrete, depending on the needs of the school involved.
As we expand our construction projects we will use the new building projects to continue improving the building standards that we use, by employing a local full-time architect to identify changes which can reduce cost and increase quality.
Help us bring ISSB technology to Link Ethiopia schools. There are initial costs involved in bringing the project such as machine purchase and training, but one set up will allow us to build many more high quality buildings at much lower costs. This revolutionary technology could transform school construction in Ethiopia.
We want to improve our construction projects by developing a set of best practices and designs to be applied across our buildings. To do this we want to hire a local architect to work specifically on this work. This will allow us to build higher quality classrooms at lower costs, meaning more classrooms for Ethiopia.
Rural students are underserved by local schools. Often rural schools only provide one or two grades and then they have to walk several miles to the near school; many will stop going to school all together. This project would provide two concrete plastered wood classrooms to extend a rural school.