Thursday, September 25, 2008

Classroom Construction

This fall Project Kesho is facilitating the construction of two new classrooms. We are working with the local communities to construct these classrooms. A deal was struck between the respective communities and Project Kesho detailing how the classrooms would be funded. The respective communities were (and will be for future classrooms) responsible for securing bricks for building (either by making them or purchasing them), gathering large stones that are used for the foundation, and responsible for digging the foundation. Project Kesho is responsible for the rest of the supplies and paying labor for the construction. The local communities are responsible for roughly 15-20% of the construction costs and Project Kesho is responsible for the rest. Community support, either in terms of money or volunteered labor is important because it creates community ownership over the project. The community is able to take pride in its accomplishments and will be more likely in the future to support repairs or upgrades to existing projects. Also, by providing money or volunteering time, the community shows Project Kesho and our donors that they think the project is important to them and they do not view the project as just a handout, but rather a partnership. One classroom is at the Ulonge Primary School, and one is at the Lundamatwe Primary School. The classroom at the Ulonge Primary School also incorporates an attached office for teachers. This gives teachers space to plan lessons and grade papers. This classroom will house the students who are currently in Standard 5 and who will be moving up to Standard 6 in January at the start of the new school year. The construction of the classroom at Ulonge is almost complete. Currently at the Lundamatwe Primary School, students in Standards 1 and 2 share a classroom with one grade coming for a morning session and the other coming in the afternoon. Once this new classroom is completed they can both attend school for a full day. The residents of the Lundamatwe community are currently collecting money and gathering supplies to support their end of the bargain. We anticipate that this classroom will also be completed before the beginning of the new school year in January. The bags of cement needed at the Ulonge Primary School are pictured below. The price of cement has risen almost 25% since this time last year. As the global price of oil has increased it has had a trickle down effect on many parts of the local economy. Transportation costs to bring supplies from Iringa to the construction sites have more than doubled, and the price of lumber has increased because it costs more to bring the lumber to the mills. This pictures shows the trenches that the local community dug for the foundation of the school. The classroom after just a week of construction work. In this picture the office for the teachers is on the left and the classroom is on the right. The rest of the school is on the opposite side of the rooms.

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