The Mwabwindo School

Mwabwindo, Zambia

The Mwabwindo School serves primary students in southern Zambia, located in a rural area where travel distance to school is one of the biggest impediments to quality education. This is the second school in the region developed by the 14+ Foundation, a non-profit committed to increasing education accessibility for rural African communities.

The building’s design is inspired by the tall, singular trees on the surrounding savanna that serve as gathering spaces shaded from the sun of the Central African Plateau. A large, corrugated metal roof canopy covers a village of compressed earth brick classrooms arranged around courtyards and an internal street. In addition to the school for 200 students, the program includes a building that provides housing for eight teachers, a community vegetable garden and playing fields.

A covered assembly space is left open to the local road, marking the entrance and welcoming students. In addition to serving as the school lunch hall it is a resource for local civic gatherings.

The steel structure and roof were assembled on site by skilled labor and were constructed first, allowing the building process to continue during the three-month rainy system. Compressed earth brick classrooms are comprised of handmade bricks which were fabricated on site and constructed by local masons to provide employment and training opportunity in the area. Throughout this net-zero project, rainwater is collected for use in the community gardens, solar panels provide energy for the school and teachers’ housing, and a windmill pumps well water to the facilities.

The Mwabwindo School provides an inspired place for learning, promotes sustainable resource use, and acts as an economic engine in southern Zambia.