How much does it cost to build a school?
A primary school project (three furnished classrooms, an office/store, a Ventilated Pit Latrine with handwashing facilities, investment in a school garden etc.) would cost approximately £25,000.
A secondary school project with the same, or similar, facilities but larger classrooms would cost approximately £33,000
A nursery school project (two classrooms with tables and chairs, an office, a latrine with handwashing facilities would cost approximately £18,600
Why doesn’t the government pay for the schools to be built?
Cameroon is a very large country with a long history of having been colonialised by various European countries – Portugal, Germany, France and England. It became independent in the 1960s, with eight of the ten regions being Francophone and the remaining two being Anglophone. The transition to independence has not been easy and investment in infrastructure like roads and schools has suffered. The population has increased significantly and there is now a much greater expectation that every child should have access to education. The Govenment does not have sufficient money to build all the schools required, so communities try to build their own.
Quite often we have found that, in communities where we have built three classrooms at a school, the Government will add another two or three classrooms later on.
How do you ensure all the funds go directly to the building of the school project?
Our charity is run by a group of volunteer trustees who take no salary, who work from home and who meet all their own expenses. No charges are made for the administration of Building Schools for Africa.
Each project is costed in detail by our partner in Cameroon. These budgets are sent to our supporters/funders and, as soon as the funds are received into our account, every penny is forwarded to our partner NGO in Cameroon – and work on the project commences.
Who provides the teachers?
The Cameroon government provides some of the teachers – including the head teacher – and the Parent Teacher Association at each school employs additional teachers using the money accrued from the PTA levy that every child at the school is required to pay. At primary school level, the PTA teachers are often untrained and quite often they do not receive regular payment for months on end. Occasionally they will receive food, grown on the school farm, in lieu of payment. At secondary school level, the number of trained teachers provided by the government is much higher.
Who provides the teaching materials?
Government provides very few teaching materials. The PTA often buys necessary books and parents are expected to buy books too. Teachers often share textbooks and lessons are written out in longhand on the blackboards.
Do you build schools in other African countries?
No. We only work in Cameroon because we are a very small charity and we have the advantage of a trusted in-country partner NGO that has a proven track record of working with transparency and total honesty and providing excellent value for money.