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School infrastructure and environmental protection

making compressed earth bricks
© UNICEF Madagascar/2009
Making compressed earth bricks to build a school in Madagascar. The bricks are being used to replace clay-fired bricks and so reduce the impact of classroom construction on the environment.

In 2008, the government estimated that 2-3,000 new classrooms need to be built each year until 2015, if Madagascar is to fulfill its Education for All goals. Such a large construction challenge is not only expensive, but also carries with it substantial risks for the environment.

A major problem is the prevalent use of clay-fired bricks, which rely on burning massive quantities of wood in the firing process, and are one of Madagascar’s most commonly used building materials.

In order to address this issue, UNICEF has been developing and successfully using new environmentally-sound materials and methods in school construction. These innovative, child-friendly schools are proving to be an effective way of combining efforts to improve the quality of education, with pioneering efforts to reduce the environmental impact of construction - in a country famous for its unique, yet critically endangered, wildlife.

Locally available materials, compressed earth bricks and appropriate construction technologies have been incorporated into building designs that adapt to, and work with local climates to improve conditions inside the classrooms - and improve the learning envirnoment for children.





Climate Change in Africa

Why are environmentally sound building initiatives important?

Find answers in this report on the impact of climate change in Africa.


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