Bethel Secondary School
Gourcy, Burkina Faso
Written by:
follow
share on:mail linkcopy link to clipboardShare via LinkedInShare via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via Facebook
A school in Burkina Faso

image: Grant Smith | © all rights reserved
i
Category:
education
Phase:
in use
Updated:
16 February 2015
introduction

I choose to come to Bethel School because it is a school unlike any other,’ says Safieta, a pupil at the school. ‘They offer excellent counselling as well as a moral and civic education.’ Despite cycling 10 kilometres each way over unpaved roads to get there Safieta is overjoyed to have a place. As a girl attending secondary school, Safieta is unusual in Burkina Faso.

Classroom blocks, Burkina Faso

image: Grant Smith | © all rights reserved
i
read more >
< read less
cultural and social context

Before Article 25 came to Gourcy, over 650 students were taught in just eight classrooms. These were poorly constructed; the classrooms were very dark and the concrete building acted like an oven so that at midday it was hotter inside than it was outside. The school was oversubscribed and forced to turn away students, leaving 74.1% of secondary school aged children in Gourcy out of education.

There were only four badly maintained, unhygienic toilets for the entire school. During participation workshops it became clear girls like Safieta were embarrassed to use them, sometimes even staying at home to avoid them. None the less the school’s considerable academic achievements and the benefits of its emphasis on participatory teaching methods were obvious. These persuaded Article 25 to get involved in the project, just as they attracted Safieta to the school.

Appropriate design.

Article 25’s approach involves running community participation workshops and ensuring marginalised members of the community have a voice planning the new building. We continue to work closely with the people who will use the buildings throughout the design process and while adapting plans during construction.

During the community participation process it became clear improving sanitation facilities and introducing gender segregated latrines would not only make attending school more pleasant and improve hygiene, it would also encourage girls to come to school during their periods. This is particularly important as educated women are better able to assert their rights, narrowing gender inequality, and because the children of educated women rate higher than average across a large range of human development indices. The latrine blocks are clean and airy and the users are extremely pleased with them.

AEAD, Giving Africa and the community made changes to the school’s curriculum in order to serve pupils better. From Article 25’s perspective the biggest challenge was the construction of eight additional cooler, better ventilated classrooms, creating capacity for 300 more students. The design also included cooking space, which Giving Africa uses to feed over 200 of the most vulnerable students, who would not necessarily eat otherwise. This allows the students to focus better in lessons and is a powerful incentive to go to school. Development the community considers less urgent, such as a new library, form a phase two that will be implemented if the funding charity, Giving Africa, can raise enough money.

During the community participation sessions children said riding their old bicycles several kilometres over badly maintained roads took a long time, and that the time they spend at home is in the dark. As many children’s homes don’t have electricity they struggled with homework. The school design incorporates open air work stations with blackboards on the gables which, like the cooler classrooms, allow children to study at lunch and after school hours.

All these design features improve the students’ ability to learn, particularly the most vulnerable children. A high quality education not only allows students to rise out of poverty, but helps develop their country.

materials and building techniques

As with all Article 25 projects the construction work was carried out by local contractors. This means builders in Gourcy gain employment, learn new skills and techniques that can potentially be used on other buildings. Designing the project around local materials and skills contributes to growth of the local economy.

The school is constructed out of laterite stone blocks, a building material which is normally only used for cow sheds. Concrete, on the other hand, is seen as a signifier of development, but there is no concrete industry in Burkina Faso, which makes it very expensive to import. Through community participation workshops, Article 25 worked with the community discussed the benefits of using the laterite stone in a new context. The financial impact of using laterite quarried two kilometres away, instead of concrete imported from two countries away, made room in the budget for a large raised roof design. The local builders’ familiarity with laterite, meant they were able to use their unique skills to improve the building project. It was agreed that using laterite was preferable.

To combat the heat of this region raised roofs provide shade for the classrooms throughout the day. Louvered windows cross ventilate the new buildings. Paul Ouedraogo, a teacher at the school, says ‘the children are very proud of themselves and they enjoy the lessons more; the temperature is also much more controlled – not too hot or too cold.”

image gallery
Girl at Burkina Faso school

image: Grant Smith | © all rights reserved
i
Burkina Faso classroom interiors

image: Grant Smith | © all rights reserved
i
Burkina Faso Latrines

image: Grant Smith | © all rights reserved
i
Girl studying Burkina Faso

image: Grant Smith | © all rights reserved
i
Model showing layout of Burkina Faso school

image: Article 25 | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
i
Location
show earth plate boundarieshide earth plate boundaries
Explore more inspirations
Keyword:
education (69)
cli­mate (27)
development cooperation (41)
empowerment (50)
stone (9)
prev
  • play
     education
    "Vuelta del Paraguayo" School for adults.
    Santa Fe, Argentina
  •  health & sanitation
    Hygiene Station for Cattlefield Village School
    Yunnan, China
  •  education
    Primary School Gangouroubouro
    Gangouroubouro, Mali
  •  education
    Preparatory Academy Energy Lab
    Kamuela, Hawaii, U.S.A.
  •  education
    Obispo Anaya School
    Cochabamba, Bolivia
  •  education
    FAVA School for Individuals with Autism
    Caracas, Venezuela
  •  urban planning
    A Corridor for People
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  •  education
    Plug+Play School
    Izmir + Torbali, Turkey
  •  education
    Primary school Al Jabal
    Al Jabal, Palestinian Territories
  •  education
    School by the Lagoon
    Maligakadu, Sri Lanka
  •  education
    Luzira School
    Kampala, Uganda
  •  housing
    Home Modification for Urban Slums in Hong Kong
    Hong Kong
  •  education
    Training Center for Mae Tao Clinic
    Mae Sot, Thailand
  • play
     education
    Tent Classroom
    kharameh, Iran
  •  education
    School Ghama
    Ghama, Mali
  •  education
    Zero Energy School
    Saint-Ouen, France
  • finalist 2021
     education
    A School Built By the People, For The People
    Jorhat, India
  •  meeting place
    Iche_Food for thought: a hub for glocal innovation
    San Vicente, Ecuador
  •  meeting place
    Kariakoo Market
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  •  work & business
    Beehive Technology and Enterprise Park
    Chilomoni, Blantyre, Malawi
  •  education
    Muping Village School
    Guizhou, China
  •  education
    A school for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon, once was a pavilion in an International expo in Italy.
    Al-Marj, Bekaa, Lebanon
  •  education
    Deyalkotha
    Dhaka, Bangladesh
  •  education
    Primary school in Ramadin Al Janub
    Ramadin Al Janub, Palestinian Territories
  •  meeting place
    Socio-Cultural Center
    Bobodioulasso , Burkina Faso
  •  meeting place
    Palomino Border
    Palomino, Guajira, Colombia
  •  education
    Bamboo Panyaden School
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
  •  education
    Thnouh School
    Takeo, Cambodia
  •  education
    Majuli School / GENERATING RESILIENCE
    majuli, India
  •  education
    Kwel Ka Baung school- phase II
    Mae Sot, Thailand
  •  education
    Wadi Abu Hindi Playground
    Wadi Abu Hindi Bedouin camp, Palestinian Territories
  •  education
    Playgrounds for Refugees as emergency response
    Bar Elias, Lebanon
  •  education
    Qinmo Village Project
    Huaiji, Guangdong Province, China
  •  education
    MOVING school 003
    Mae Sot, Thailand
  •  education
    Hwange Technical College
    Hwange, Zimbabwe
  •  education
    Colegio de las Aguas Montebello
    Cali - Montebello, Colombia
  •  education
    Quarter Library in Katì Cokò
    Bamako, Mali
  •  education
    Safe Haven Library
    Ban Tha Song Yang, Thailand
  •  education
    Primary School Balaguina
    Balaguina, Mali
  • play
     meeting place
    StadtGoesFuture-Culthäusle
    Filderstadt-Plattenhardt, Germany
  •  education
    technical school Mopti Sevare
    Mopti Sevarre, Mali
  •  education
    SAL Exhibition Pavilion/Learning by Making
    Ahmedabad, India
  •  education
    Silindokulhe Community Hall
    Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  •  education
    Primary School Tanouan Ibi
    Tanouan Ibi, Mali
  •  education
    Bamboo Manta Ray
    Koh Kood, Thailand
  •  housing
    Colón 36
    Castuera, Spain
  •  education
    Siddhartha Primary School
    Bimire village, Nepal
  •  meeting place
    Centro de Acçao Social por Música
    São Paulo, Brazil
  •  education
    Senior Citizen’s Library
    Bhatpore Village Surat, India
  •  education
    LA VIEJA
    Montebello, Cali, Colombia
  •  education
    Wadi Abu Hindi Primary School
    Wadi Abu Hindi Bedouin camp, Palestinian Territories
  •  education
    Bamboo Kindergarten
    Tasikmalaya, Indonesia
  • play
     education
    SSPD Slum School
    Lahore , Pakistan
  •  meeting place
    “Sorbole” - Urban garden’s equipment
    Seville, Spain
  •  meeting place
    Meeting space for urban pedagogy
    La Habana, Cuba
  •  education
    Initiative Rising Star - school buildings for Hopley, Zimbabwe
    Harare, Zimbabwe
  •  education
    PLAYSCAPE
    Koh Rong Island, Cambodia
  •  housing
    Casalata
    Mindelo, Cape Verde
  •  education
    MOVING school 002
    Mae Ramat, Thailand
  •  education
    Ithuba Community College
    Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, South Africa
  •  education
    Gen Educational Farm
    Antofagasta, Chile
  •  education
    P.S. 216 Edible Schoolyard
    New York , U.S.A.
  •  education
    Play-doh : Early years education in rural India
    Bhiwandi, India
  •  meeting place
    Custody House Of Memory
    Pereira, Risaralda, Colombia
  •  health & sanitation
    Konokono Vaccination Center
    Turkana, Kenya
  •  education
    New Classrooms at Al Khan Al Ahmar Primary School
    Al Khan Al Ahmar Bedouin Camp, Palestinian Territories
  •  education
    Transforming Learning Spaces in Rwanda
    Muhanga, Rwanda
  •  education
    EDAYA indigenous crafts and design school
    Baguio, Philippines
  •  education
    Motherwell Community and Enviro Hub
    Gqeberha, South Africa
next