Ivorian students can’t wait to go to school again in their new plastic bricks school

"We visit the school everyday! We are so excited. We can’t wait to study in our new classroom!"

Fanta Kone, Digital strategist.
Diomande Miamo, (in yellow shirt) a 14 years old boy together with his friends, in front of their new school, made out of recycled plastic bricks, in the village of Gouekolo, in the West of Côte d'Ivoire.
UNICEF/Frank Dejongh
27 April 2020

We met Diomandé (in yellow shirt), 14 year-old, playing with his friends in front of their new school made of recycled plastic bricks, in the village of Guekolo, West of Côte d'Ivoire.

Diomandé and his friends come almost every day to see how the new classrooms are taking shape. The new classrooms are built next to their old ones, made of bamboo.  

"The schools are currently closed due to the coronavirus but we come here everyday to look at the workers built the new classrooms. It's so beautiful, big and clean." - Diomandé, 14 year-old.

 
Diomande Miamo, (in yellow shirt) a 14 years old boy together with his friends, in front of their new school, made out of recycled plastic bricks, in the village of Gouekolo, in the West of Côte d'Ivoire.
UNICEF/Frank Dejongh
Diomande Miamo, (in yellow shirt) a 14 years old boy together with his friends, in front of their new school, made out of recycled plastic bricks, in the village of Gouekolo, in the West of Côte d'Ivoire.

When school are open, an estimated 1.6 million children are not in school in Côte d'Ivoire and one of the main reasons is the lack of classrooms where children live. Diomandé’s new classroom is part of an innovative project that consists of transforming plastic waste into construction material to build classrooms.

These new classrooms, built with recycled plastic bricks, allow for natural air conditioning, making the environment more comfortable and conducive to learning. 

"It is cool inside our new classroom and no dust or rain can get in. In our old classrooms, we always felt hot especially in the afternoons and we were always getting sick from dust, the bamboo did not protect us enough." - Diomandé reveals. 

 

I hope school will start soon because I really like my new class.

 

Diomandé, 14 years old.
The 3 boys live close to the school and come almost every day to see the progress of the construction of the new classes, next to the old classes made out of bamboo.
UNICEF/Frank Dejongh
The 3 boys live close to the school and come almost every day to see the progress of the construction of the new classes, next to the old classes made out of bamboo.

To initiate this project and test the materials in Côte d'Ivoire, UNICEF imported bricks from Colombia to build prototype classrooms and latrines. But the long term objective is to produce bricks here in Côte d’Ivoire and help communities in Africa to get rid of their plastic wastes.  

 

UNICEF/Frank Dejongh
Testing continues at the factory while we are still waiting to be connected to the electricity grid. This month, our partner Conceptos Plasticos has started shredding plastic wastes. This is the first transformation in the process to make plastic bricks out of plastic waste. Seven men and women have been trained to operate the machines and work at the factory.

In March 2020, despite several challenges including the coronavirus pandemic, UNICEF’s partner Conceptos Plasticos started testing the machines and produced the first brick made of plastic waste of its kind, on African soil. 

UNICEF is committed to build 528 classrooms by the end of 2021.

For every child, a safe place to learn and thrive.

 

Construction of school made out of plastic bricks in Gouékolo, in the west of Côte d'Ivoire.
UNICEF/Frank Dejongh
School built with plastic bricks in Gouékolo, in the west of Côte d'Ivoire.