Community Buildings

Community Centres

The Challenge - Lack of Community Infrastructure

Nursery schools, without buildings and usually run by volunteers, are often held outside under a tree, but lessons are frequently disrupted by bad weather.

So we were asked if we could build a classroom...

We assessed, and decided that actually, in remote areas without any public buildings, a purpose-built Community Centre would be preferable, used by the school during the morning, but available for health, education and civic events at all other times.

We’ve built 5 in different areas, and they’re the central hub of each village, the heart of the community, valued by all.

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The Challenge - bridges destroyed by water surges, inconvenient in the dry, but life-threatening during the torrents of the rainy season

Crossing in the dry season

Dedication of the finished bridge

One example: Namalamba Bridge served 15 villages (about 7500 people) and had been the main route linking remote villages near the Mozambique border to tarmac roads and services.

It had gradually collapsed as tributaries upstream fed in during each rainy season, swelling the river up to 30m across with fierce currents, so many couldn’t cross to the Government Health Clinic, maternity facilities, school (1,235 students), and local town for business, food and other basics. In the past, 5 villagers had lost their lives here.

So we partnered with the community to build a bridge...

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The Challenge - so many houses are destroyed by extreme weather

Catherine and the ruins of her old house

Catherine and her secure new home

Over the years we’ve built dozens of homes for the vulnerable at risk. Each house is simple, individual, and appropriate to need and environment. Sometimes it’s for an AIDS-affected family, or those disabled by leprosy, or weakened by age, but it’s always life changing when a safe new home replaces ruins or a building threatening collapse at any moment.

Meet Catherine—42 years old, struggling with physical disabilities, while caring for her 4 children. When her house collapsed in a cyclone, everything was destroyed, and she had no resources to rebuild or replace her lost food, goods and equipment.

A few months later, after a visit to our office, and assessment of her situation, Mary and her little family were delighted to receive the keys to their new home.

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The Challenge - destruction by extreme weather, lack of resources and infrastructure

Without community sewers in the rural areas, toilets—both for homes and public buildings—are traditional long-drop latrines, in an outside building. These need to be replaced at intervals, either due to the pit filling, or collapse of the flimsier constructions in severe weather.

A collapsed toilet in the rural area

We’ve built sturdy public toilets where appropriate, and replaced dozens of household facilities following cyclonic destruction that devastated whole areas, leaving families little option than to use open fields.

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In 2022, we built a girls’ toilet block for a school with 910 students aged 5-17 years, and 28 staff. They had just 2 latrines for all, bringing challenges to health, risk of disease, and an unpleasantly polluted environment.

Additionally, girls often absented themselves from school several days each month as there were no washing facilities to meet their menstrual needs.

So we provided a toilet block for girls, with an extra-deep pit, and a washroom!

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Msikita Public Toilet

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