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Rammed earth schools – in partnership with the David Rattray Foundation
In partnership with the David Rattray Foundation, the Aveng Group invested R4,9 million in an innovative pilot that, developed through the use of indigenous design and green building concepts, a model for construction which makes maximum use of unskilled labour and provides a quality and aesthetically pleasing space for learners and teachers.
Unemployed volunteers from the local commun ity were engaged to participate in a project that will provide accredited training and skills transfer. While trainees constructed the administration block for Mablomong Primary School using the “rammed earth construction” green building technique, the learners and teachers gained additional learning space and used the building to apply the lessons in the curriculum. Not without its challenges and risks, the project proved successful and has demonstrate d scaleability and a cost effective method of construction. The benefit is broad and sustainable, although the primary objective was skills transfer. The project has been extended with further development of the model to ensure sustainability.
Ways in which to use the skills of those trained, either through employment or further training, were investigated. To this end, a second phase of the initiative is in progress with trainees from the pilot forming part of the core building group which is constructing a media centre, library and aftercare centre at Mablomong school. With many of the learner s living in shack dwellings, homework is a challenge due to insufficient space or lighting at home. In this case, an aftercare facility will go a long way to improving learner performance.
This phase also includes construction of classrooms for Buhlebamanagwe School in KwaZulu-Natal. This will include individuals from the core building group who are now embarking on additional training modules through Primeserve. New trainees from the communities have also been employed. The project presents exciting possibilities for enhancing pride in African architecture, creating a conducive learning space for learners and teachers and addressing despera te skills shortages through the use of the environmentally friendly building techniques. Its success will ideally lead to a national roll-out of the model.