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2012: Floating school project gains momentum

Children outside their school in Malabo
© UNICEF Zambia/2012/Maseko
Children ready to take a canoe ride home after school

The UNICEF Zambia Country Office has made progress towards realising the dream of children in Mongu to have a floating school built in Malabo area where flooding impacts on school attendance every year.

UNICEF recently engaged a consultant to conduct a feasibility study for the construction of the school. The feasibility study is ongoing and the consultant has since held meetings with different stakeholders in Mongu as well as the community around the proposed site. The consultant is expected to submit designs of the school. UNICEF has also received designs from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom whose architecture students offered to help.

Tambudzai Mutale, 18, was one of five child climate ambassadors who three years ago approached UNICEF Zambia to help meet school needs of more than 200 children on the Zambezi flood plain who miss school for up to six months when perennial floods hit the area. UNICEF in turn approached the Danish National Committee for UNICEF, who have agreed to fund both the feasibility study and construction of the floating school.

“My hope is that the children in Malabo will soon see their school. As one of those who were here from the beginning, I am also eagerly waiting to see what comes out of our efforts,” said Tambudzai during a recent visit to the school.

Tambudzai was speaking when she accompanied UNICEF Denmark Ambassador Rune Klan Larsen on a recent visit to Malabo as part of his mission to produce educational materials for Danish children through interviews with their Zambian counterparts. Rune was accompanied by his wife and personal assistant, Christel Elisabeth Stjernebjerg, UNICEF Denmark Head of Education for Development, Anne-Mette Friis and photographer Tai Klan.

floating school update
© UNICEF Zambia/2012Maseko
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Rune Klan with climate ambassadors in Malabo

Another climate ambassador who was part of the five childen that initiated the floating school idea is 14 year-old Wamunyima Muya, a Grade 11 pupil at St Johns Secondary School in Mongu.

“The floating school will help to reduce the number of children who drop out of school. Some girls even end up getting married when they are not fortunate to go to the upper land to continue their school during floods,” she said.

Wamunyima also sees the school directly contributing to the development of the area. “Malabo is underdeveloped. When children get educated they will get jobs in future and help in developing the area. It will benefit the community very much,” she added.



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