School building project in Madagascar with SEED Madagascar

Our Major CSR project of 2018 was to work with SEED Madagascar to build two fully furnished classrooms, creating 120 new classroom places at a Madagascan Primary School in Manambaro, Anosy. To achieve this required funding of the construction of two new classrooms and sanitary facilities over the course of 5 months.

SEED Madagascar’s Project Sekoly provides schools across the Anosy region with vital classroom and sanitation infrastructure, complemented with WASH education to assist long-term sustainability of positive practices. The objective of this phase of Project Sekoly was to increase classroom capacity and improve sanitation and hygiene practices at Manambaro Primary School, thereby increasing students’ learning time and health outcomes.

Because of falling investment in public educational infrastructure since the 2009 political coup, Madagascar has suffered from low school completion and enrolment rates. Although roughly three quarters of primary school-age children are enrolled in a school, rates are much lower in Anosy, a southeast region that is particularly isolated and impoverished.

In addition to low enrolment rates, sanitation infrastructure is often poor or non-existent, and thus generally insufficient to meet basic sanitary needs. Low education rates and poor sanitation contribute to Madagascar ranking 158/188 on the UNDP’s Human Development Index.

The WASH education component of the project involved a “Train the trainer” element to ensure the knowledge was held within the local community. The sessions were designed to highlight the dangers of poor washing practices and covered:

  • Handwashing and the importance of using soap, ash or other cleaning agents
  • Latrine use and the hazards of open defecation
  • Latrine maintenance, including cleaning guidelines, organising a cleaning schedule and strategies for preventing bad smells (e.g. using ash or charcoal powder)
  • Different types of water treatment, including straining, boiling, chlorinating or using the three-pot treatment

This project allowed the Teneo team to get involved on a new level to some of our previous projects. Not only were we able to contribute to the project financially, but two members of the Teneo team also had the opportunity to join in with the physical construction of the school. James Hall, Operations Director and Jim Dixon, Senior Solutions Engineer were able to spend a week at the start of the project living in the community and working with the local construction team. During that week they started digging and laying the foundations consisting of alternating layers of concrete reinforced with wire and large rocks.

With this project we’ve:

  • Donated £15,000 towards the project
  • Helped create 120 new classroom spaces
  • Contributed to the building of a new latrine block
  • Trained 17 teachers, some parents and representatives of the regional education authority in WASH practices in a Train the trainer program led by SEED CLOs (Community Liaison Officers)
  • Delivered 66 student sessions on WASH practices
  • Sent two volunteers to the village to get hands-on with the construction project.

More of our CSR projects

Building Without Power Tools

The construction team works with very traditional tools and methods so the work proved much more difficult than it would be back home where power tools are readily available. The errands the Teneo volunteers were sent on by the construction team included carrying heavy rocks, buckets of water and sand to the construction site, and shovelling gravel, and mixing cement using only spades. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the construction work in Manambaro is the heat, especially since there is little opportunity to hide from the sun – something Jim and James very quickly realized!

On the other hand, the nature of the work provided a unique opportunity to work side-by-side with the local construction staff and to interact with members of the local community, who were very keen to help out or simply offer encouragement.