A new classroom made of recycled plastic bricks for Ange Emmanuel

1,300 children like Ange Emanuel now have access to better learning spaces in an environment-friendly school

Fanta Kone, Digital strategist.
Ange Emmanuel montre fièrement sa nouvelle classe faite en briques de plastique
UNICEF/Frank Dejongh
17 December 2019

Ange Emmanuel, 10 years old, lives in Sangouine, in the West of Côte d’Ivoire. He is happy with his new classroom built with recycled plastic bricks.  

“Before there was a lot of dust in the class and the blackboard was so grey, we could hardly read what was written on it. When it rained, we all got wet. Animals came at night to sleep in our class. Now, with the new classrooms, everything is so clean. We have a nice big blackboard and there’s even electricity and light! It feels very comfortable now and I like coming to school.” - Ange says.

un enfant montre son ancienne classe
UNICEF/Frank Dejongh

26 classrooms have so far been built by UNICEF with the support of its partners. The classrooms do not only provide a safer learning environment for children but also have an impact on the quality of education. 

“The classrooms are bigger, brighter and are built to enhance natural airflow, making them more comfortable for children to learn and reach their full potential. Teachers as well instantly feel more at ease to teach.” - Patricia Safia Lombo, Chief of Education, UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire. 

In Côte d’Ivoire, 1.6 million children do not go to school, a lot of them simply because there are not enough classrooms and when they do go to school, classrooms are often overcrowded, which makes it difficult for them to learn and reach their full potential. 

And these classrooms are not only learning-friendly, they are also environment-friendly. One classroom contributes to getting five tons of plastic out of the environment. It is five tons of plastic that is not in communities, in the ocean or in children’s playgrounds. 

L'école en briques de plastique
UNICEF/Frank Dejongh

“This innovative way of building better and faster has been made possible through a partnership between UNICEF and Colombian social business Conceptos Plásticos through a model that aims at creating a women-led recycling market that will transform Côte d'Ivoire’s plastic waste into safe and sustainable building materials at low cost, starting with schools, this innovative construction method will help solve one of the biggest barriers to education – lack of classrooms,” explains Sophie Chavanel, Chief of Communications, UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire.

With the support of the Ministry of Education, the objective is to build 528 classrooms to provide access to education to 25,000 children in the next two years. But this is just the beginning. There is a need for more than 30,000 classrooms in Côte d’Ivoire for all children to go to school. 

For every child, quality education and a chance to reach its full potential.