Brazzaville: School rehabilitation successfully completed

08.03.2023 - 15:07 - Kongo-Brazzaville
With the help of funding from the Saxon Youth Foundation, arche noVa has partially renovated a secondary school for over 2,300 pupils in Dresden's partner city Congo-Brazzaville. Besides the renovation of the water supply and toilets, a wall of about 600 metres was built around the school, which is now used as a popular outdoor school board thanks to blackboard paint.

ecurity, water and functioning toilets: What seems self-evident to us was denied for a long time to the more than 2,300 pupils of the Jacques Opangault School in Dresden's twin city Brazzaville. The inadequate infrastructure also had a direct impact on the future of the young people. "If pupils do not have access to safe drinking water, their learning success is severely limited. And if there are no gender-separated toilets, many girls don't go to school at all after their period starts," says Sarah Kendziorra, international programmes officer at arche noVa. "Therefore, it is a central concern for us to guarantee a safe water and sanitation supply with projects in schools."

Better learning conditions thanks to water, toilets and outdoor blackboard

Together with the "GenialSozial" initiative of the Saxon Youth Foundation, we have now been able to significantly improve the learning conditions at the Jacques Opangault School. In addition to the construction of a new water tower and connected tapping points as well as the renovation of the toilets, the construction of a wall around the school was also a central part of the project. "When we asked the school management on our first visit what the greatest need was, they asked us to build a wall," recalls Sarah Kendziorra. What may seem strange at first glance has a thoroughly serious background. Due to the lack of boundaries to the neighbouring district, outsiders used to enter the school grounds unhindered. Litter and a lack of security were a constant problem. 

During the project, it soon became clear that a wall can also be used for other purposes: Using blackboard paint, we made sure that the wall could be used as a blackboard on the inside for outdoor lessons, thus relieving the overcrowded classrooms. Clearly visible drawings on the wall also remind the pupils of good hygiene behaviour. In general, hygiene is an important part of the project: with a newly founded hygiene club, pupils will in future take care of order and cleanliness on the school grounds themselves. This self-responsibility also ensures that the renovated WASH facilities remain in a hygienic condition in the long term.

Project made possible by young people from Saxony

The project was only possible thanks to the commitment of young people from Saxony. As part of the action day "GenialSozial - Deine Arbeit gegen Armut" (GenialSocial - Your work against poverty), pupils had voluntarily donated the wages of an entire working day. With the proceeds of 100,000 euros, we then took care of the project implementation in cooperation with the local partner organisation "Forum pour la promotion des groupes ruraux" (FPGR) - and at a remarkable pace: within only eight months, all construction measures were completed. And it is already evident that the new school toilets and water dispensing points are being actively used, as is the outdoor school board.

Local residents also benefit

With their commitment, the young people of "GenialSozial" have not only improved the learning conditions at the school, but also the living conditions in the neighbouring neighbourhood at the same time. In order to increase the acceptance of the construction measures, arche noVa has also built a water tapping point for the surrounding community on the outside of the school wall. This is fed by the well on the school grounds and ensures that the residents also benefit from the project in the long term.

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Das Projekt wurde ermöglicht durch die Förderung der Sächsischen Jugendstiftung im Programm „genialsozial – Deine Arbeit gegen Armut“ 2021.
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