The loca School has already built the structure for a fourth school block that includes three new classrooms and two offices. While originally meant to be funded by the community, the drought this year has left families without earnings and therefore the inability to pay the school fees that would fund this project. This grant would provide three new classrooms for cramped classes (usually upward of 50 pupils) and would provide the chance to expand grade levels, eliminating the need to travel at least 18km to the nearest secondary school. Because the offices are moving, the largest current office would be made into a library. The grant would fund materials for building bench-type school desks built by the community, which are expensive and falling apart in class due to too many students sitting at a desk, as well as shelves for the library and seeds and materials for our school garden, which help sustainable income-generating activities. This grant would also fund some materials for a tire-based playground that would provide an adequate and safe place for pupils in Zambia’s Early Education Program to play, since the current playground we have is run-down and very small (only a swing and a small see-saw for over 100 pupils in Early Education alone). The community is very involved and would provide some transport as well as labor costs.
As mentioned previously, the community has already built the main building of this school block with community-based bricks and labor. Because the school originally wanted to finish building the block themselves, they have an itemized and thoroughly detailed budget they have passed along with all pieces left to complete in the block, down to window handles and padlocks for doors. I have held two meetings within the last two weeks with community members and members of the PTC and school board, and one previous to that with my Deputy Head and teachers. In the last meeting, 16 people from the community attended (including myself) to discuss the questions listed here to determine community involvement. My community has also determined a schedule and list of who should be involved if/when we receive the money to determine who will be accountable for what and when, and how labor and transport will be distributed throughout the community. The community has also been incredibly receptive to my desensitization of the fact that next volunteer may not apply for a grant and that that is okay and that they should be treated the same regardless of project. Overall, the planning and design for the project has been lead, almost fully, by the community. I have only made some suggestions here and there and taken notes at meetings to help apply for this grant.
Because the main structure of the building has already been built by the community, the community has already structured how they will use school fees in the future to help maintain the building. Other than building maintenance, the main point of this project is to provide classrooms and offices for pupils that they do not currently have. We have included materials for our school garden maintenance, such as shovels, watering cans, wheelbarrows, seeds, etc. so that our school can continue its entrepreneurial efforts and help generate income to sustain school maintenance. In addition, community members will be taught how to build desks, which they will be able to repair should desks need repairing or replacement in the future.