A new design for rural schools could revolutionize Kenya’s education system. British architects Jane Harrison and David Turnbill worked with Atopia Research to design the WATERBANK school in Nigare Nyiro, which harvests rainwater and stores it in a reservoir on the school property. In addition to providing up to five liters a day per student, this ingenious system enables girls normally responsible for collecting water outside of the home to attend classes and receive an education.
Built with locally-sourced materials and by the local community, the modest school for 200 students is encircled by a garden wall designed to keep out thirsty elephants. There are four classrooms designed to hold up to 60 students along with a theater, teacher’s rooms and a community workshop space. Most of the construction was facilitated from afar and on Skype, WAN reports.
The reservoir located in the center of the school courtyard stores water harvested from a catchment system installed on the school’s 600 square meter roof. An integrated filtration system ensures that the water is clean and the design team predict that – weather depending – the reservoir could provide up to 350,000 liters of clean water each year. The initiative is produced by PITCHAfrica founded in part by Harrison and Turnbull, who have similar projects in the works in the same region.