Project's Summary

COF Outreach Village Primary Schools Project: Bringing Education to Southern Uganda

The Cotton On Foundation, a non-governmental organization from Australia, is committed to creating 20,000 new educational places for primary and secondary school children in Southern Uganda by 2020. To achieve this target, the COF Outreach Village School program is constructing primary schools in remote villages around the districts of Rakai and Lwengo. The program aims to build 500-student capacity schools with ten teachers residing on site, upgrading existing buildings and adding new ones where required. Currently, three schools are completed, five are under construction, and 20 more are to follow in the next three years.

Designing Adaptable Buildings for the Ugandan Landscape

The Cotton On Foundation approached Studio FH Architects to develop a set of typical primary school building designs that could be constructed on various sites with differing environmental conditions. The requirement of buildings adaptable to different locations called for designs that are largely independent of their orientation towards the sun. The result is a classroom block module with covered walkways on all four sides that is largely independent of its orientation towards the sun. The design also includes a multipurpose space with lowered circular seating, located between two classrooms. The classrooms have full-width pivoting and sliding panel doors that create an enlarged assembly space for the school community when opened.

Selecting Low-Maintenance Materials for Long-Lasting Schools

The schools are to be handed over to the Government of Uganda and, as such, their operation would fall under the responsibility of the districts. Given the precarious financial situation of many districts, schools were to be built of solid, long-lasting, low-maintenance materials. Cement screed floors, fair-faced clay brick, and glass-less window shutters were selected for their outstanding behavior over time, particularly the yellowish multi-colored clay bricks manufactured by Butende Brickworks near Masaka. The schools incorporate passive design principles such as reflective roofing material, shading of all windows, good cross-ventilation due to shallow building depths, and upwards movement of air owing to elevated vent roofs. Daylight provision is enhanced by roof sheet perforations in selected areas of the vent roofs, allowing for a well-lit learning environment even in stormy conditions.

Deploying Appropriate Technologies for Sustainability

Other appropriate technologies deployed in the schools include centralised rainwater harvesting systems, biogas digester toilets, and hybrid fuel-efficient cooking stoves. The COF Outreach Village School program is committed to creating a sustainable ecosystem that supports and uplifts the local communities of Southern Uganda.

The COF Outreach Village Primary Schools project is a testament to the commitment of the Cotton On Foundation to provide quality education to underprivileged children in Southern Uganda. The program has successfully created 3 schools to date, with 5 more under construction and 20 more to follow in the next three years. The design of the schools is sustainable, adaptable, and long-lasting, incorporating passive design principles and appropriate technologies. The Cotton On Foundation is setting an example for NGOs around the world to follow, making a positive impact on the lives of children and communities in need.

Project's associated companies