A group of concerned mothers started the Anwa primary school in Kibera, Kenya, where extremely disadvantaged children previously lacked access to education. Over time, the school has grown in attendance and needed a new facility that would replace the original 2-story ramshackle building. Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) designed the new main building in close collaboration with the school community as a model for sustainable, context-based design.


Anwa Junior Academy, Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), Kenya, sustainable school, green school, locally sourced wood, bamboo, local building materials, green building materials, green architecture

The architects used sustainably-sourced and certified timber framing, wattle and daub mud-walls on the ground floor and mabati (steel) sheeting on the first floor. This references traditional Kibera construction techniques while reflecting a connection with the local identity.

Related: Mobile school “walking classrooms” are helping change lives in Kenya

Anwa Junior Academy, Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), Kenya, sustainable school, green school, locally sourced wood, bamboo, local building materials, green building materials, green architecture

KDI carpentry trainees built the doors and windows using bamboo and timber. All materials used were locally-sourced, while the techniques and building methods were transferable to the local community. The next phase in the project will focus on creating a suitable access to the upper storey and a sustainable landscape for the school grounds.

The design firm issued a statement: “At KDI, we co-design and build what we call Productive Public Spaces (PPS) – formerly underutilized, unsafe or polluted sites that are transformed into active, attractive community hubs.”

+ Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI)

Anwa Junior Academy, Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), Kenya, sustainable school, green school, locally sourced wood, bamboo, local building materials, green building materials, green architecture

Anwa Junior Academy, Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), Kenya, sustainable school, green school, locally sourced wood, bamboo, local building materials, green building materials, green architecture