Working with SHUMAS to build schools and health centres
It is gradually becoming more widely recognised that simply giving Aid to communities in developing countries can, ironically, be counter-productive and disabling.
Many of the schools that we help to rebuild are located in very poor villages in isolated rural locations and, in order to ensure sustainable development in its own country, SHUMAS follows a model of Participatory Development in all its programmes: in fact, they help communities to help themselves. SHUMAS motivates the villagers to contribute as much as they can towards the rebuilding of their local schools: without this commitment to participation, they will not be accepted onto the school building programme.
The communities are required to mould 3,000 sun-dried mud bricks per classroom (if the local soil is suitable for this purpose), provide all the stone and sand required for the foundations, all the timber for the roof, doors and window shutters and all the unskilled labour needed to complete the project. They also have to provide accommodation and food for SHUMAS’ expert workers for the duration of the project.
Their investment in the school building project is significant because it ensures that the community takes real ownership of the project, whilst keeping the cost of construction low.
Building resilient communities
Although three classrooms does not provide all the required accommodation for a village school, it gives the community sufficient boost to enable them to develop the school further themselves. In some cases we have also been able to provide additional funds to help with the refurbishment of some of the more substantial of the old classrooms, thus providing even more accommodation.
The new classrooms attract even more children to the school and the increased income, from the PTA levy paid for each child who attends, helps to provide more teachers which, in turn, ensures greater academic success for the pupils. The life expectancy of these schools is at least 50 years – a real investment in the community.