Eburru Primary School is the most remote and inaccessible of the schools we have worked with. It is situated on top of an extinct volcano, with remarkable views but no sources of employment. The community is extremely deprived and has a commensurately inadequate school to serve nearly 1000 pupils. Should the farmers be able to grow any surplus, they cannot get it to market. It is an area trapped in a cycle of deprivation because of poor infrastructure. The roads are impassable to all vehicles except 4x4s, and the only water supply comes from condensing steam from hydrothermal volcanic fissures.
Pupil numbers have increased rapidly over recent years, mainly because of free education; previously many parents could not afford to pay school fees. There are several primary schools in the Eburru area and we are actively seeking a site central to all of them where we might consider building an affordable day secondary school. At the moment fewer than 1% of children from this area go on to secondary education.
The lack of nearby water, poor roads and shortage of suitable building stone in the area has made building new classrooms at Eburru very difficult. We considered putting up less durable buildings made of alternative materials, but rejected this option since it would not help long-term sustainable development in the area. The parents were particularly excited to become involved with the development here and readily agreed to supply all water necessary. This is a really considerable sacrifice, since each family is allocated a small amount of water each day, for which they pay. Instead we have now built five new classrooms with unusually large windows, so as to minimize the cost of transporting stone; this has had the beneficial side-effect of making the classrooms extremely light.
Our immediate priority is the construction of a large rainwater harvesting tank. We are then planning to renovate some of the existing classrooms, including one for use as a staffroom. Others of the existing classrooms, which are less than five years old, are so poorly constructed that they are potentially dangerous; these will be knocked down and replaced further down the line.
|Six new classrooms||early 2011||£60,000|
|Rainwater collection tank||mid 2011||£6,000|
|Upgrade existing classrooms||late 2011||£8,000|
|Toilets and kitchen||early 2012||£6,000|
|Staff accommodation||mid 2012||£10,000|