In a village 30km far from the first paved road, where the water arrives from a well, and not the whole year, the realization of a community school is a mean for a change. The school of N'tyeani represents a pilot project of a series of community schools in the savannah. It is realized in the municipality of Yelekebougou thanks to the cooperation of the people participating in this project and to the organization Africa Bougou, which financed this and other projects in East Africa.
The people and their hands and the local earth are the primary resource for the success of this construction process. The aim of the building is not the mere construction, but it is a matter of process which wants to adopt construction techniques which local population can learn and reuse on their own and for the maintenance of this same building. In this way local construction techniques are valorized and implemented, creating new opportunities for the population to work.
The project realization holds on to a traditional building technique done with raw bricks. Time, materials and labor techniques have been decided in meetings with the inhabitants, in accordance with the work in the millet fields and also the availability of materials at the market.
Talking about construction methods, the strategy followed here seeks for ways to build a long lasting building yet at the same time using simple and local technologies and avoiding as much as possible to import technologies unknown by the local population. Important factor is also to use materials that are easily available on the local market.
The structure is done with this iron columns of 80 mm, the cheapest solution on the market in Mali. The roof has been designed in accordance with the sizes if the metal sheets available. This material is often used as a roof on the local shelters and also other schools in the region.
The bricks realized with raw earth, have been dried under the sun for 60 days. Afterwards the walls have been assembled with the bricks by using a mortar simply made with sand, earth and water.
Landlocked Mali, one of the world’s poorest nations, is lush and bustling along its southerly river borders. Further north, the country is dominated by the Sahara, which bestows a lethargic haze and the threat of drought on a population dependent on farming. Livelihoods are fragile, and resources must be carefully watched. N’tyeani is a small village near the town of Yelekeboubou, and its community Primary School had to accommodate these challenges, and its design turned the harsh economic and environmental constraints into a virtue. (Source: Phaidon Atlas)