Wednesday 30 November 2022
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Media Release

School building project funding by Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission wins prestigious international environmental award


MEDIA RELEASE: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not Bailiwick Express, and the text is reproduced exactly as supplied to us

The Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission has been advised that a project it funded in 2012 - the construction of the Uaso Nyiro Primary School in the Laikipia East district of Kenya - has was won international distinction as the recipient of 'The Greenest School on Earth 2013' award.

The Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission has been advised that a project it funded in 2012 - the construction of the Uaso Nyiro Primary School in the Laikipia East district of Kenya - has was won international distinction as the recipient of 'The Greenest School on Earth 2013' award.

This annual award is made by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council and seeks to give special recognition to schools that exemplify how sustainability can be integrated into what and where students learn.

The Uaso Nyiro Primary School was constructed by Zeitz Foundation, conceived and designed by PITCHAfrica, using the "Waterbank School" building design and the funding - £30,209 - was awarded by the Commission through its annual Grant Aid scheme.

The 'Waterbank School' building, which opened its doors to the students on 24th November 2012, is the first of its kind in Kenya and indeed in Africa. Located in a region with an annual rainfall of 600mm, the 'Waterbank School' building's unique 600m roof catchment area can harvest, store and filter more than 350,000 litres of rain water annually. The school was built from local materials with local labour for the same cost as a conventional linear school.

The school has facilities to educate 700 children and this includes four classrooms, teachers' rooms, vegetable gardens, a courtyard theatre, workshop and community space, which will be used for health projects and other local initiatives that strengthen the school and local community.

Patrick Mwaura, Headmaster Uaso Nyiro Primary School said,

It is a great honour for the Uaso Nyiro Primary school to receive this prestigious award. The staff, pupils, parents and surrounding community are delighted that our hard work and efforts to transform our school from an arid semi-desert into the oasis of greenery with water to spare have been recognised. This transformation was enabled by the construction of the Waterbank buildings, which have ensured that the attitudes of our staff and pupils are positive and conducive to learning and discipline, attendance has dramatically increased and our students are taking home the lessons that they are absorbing about health, water and nutrition and strengthening the whole community.

Dr. Liz Rihoy, Executive Director of the Zeitz Foundation said,

Access to clean water means a reduction in illness and malnutrition, fewer school absence and improved study results. It also ensures that the school achieves greater gender equality as the girls in the community who typically spend hours collecting water will be able to attend school and do homework instead. Every child learns about economically and environmentally sustainable rainwater harvesting, water filtration, sanitation and agricultural practices while at school. The "Waterbank School" building embodies the very knowledge the children need in order for them to survive and improve their circumstances.

Deputy Mike O'Hara, Chairman of the Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission said,

The Commissioners are delighted that this innovative design for the school has received international recognition. In selecting the project for funding, the Commissioners recognised that the design would not only offer educational facilities but would also provide clean water and so reduce the risk of ill-health from water-borne diseases and give much needed community facilities for a very modest cost. We hope that this building design will be used widely in areas where the annual volume of rain can support the community if it can be harvested and stored.

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