Tools to build an equitable future
We see education as one of the most powerful means to build a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable future. Limited access to education often results in limited economic opportunities, and vice versa. By providing high quality, easily accessible education facilities in Gando, we aim to help break this cycle and expand the community’s prospects.
Since the completion of the Gando Primary School in 2001, followed by its extension in 2008, every child in Gando and the surrounding region can now complete their primary education. Many have gone on to secondary education, and these numbers are due to increase with the imminent completion of the Naaba Belem Goumma Secondary School. Vocational training and higher education have also become an option for many young people in Gando, and the knowledge and skills they have acquired have already made a visible impact in the community.
Although many of our projects focus on the next generation, our aim is to support all members of a cohesive community. The Songtaaba Women’s Cooperative has been at the heart of our efforts to offer training and education opportunities for adults.
“As architects, we can be teachers. We can pass on knowledge. At the same time, I also have a chance to learn.”
Lycée Naaba Belem Goumma
The Lycée Naaba Belem Goumma, named after Francis Kéré’s father, will welcome up to 1,000 students from Gando and its surrounding regions, providing them with the facilities to continue their academic paths. The school was recently accredited as a lycée (high school) by the Burkinabè government, allowing it to serve as an official gateway to higher education.
The campus is made up of modular classroom units arranged around a central courtyard in a traditional compound typology. The circle opens to the west, creating a protected courtyard that keeps out the hot and dusty eastern wind while letting in a cool western breeze. This courtyard is imagined not only for students, but also as a place where the community of Gando can gather for various activities.
The classroom walls are made of solid clay mixed with cement and aggregate, cast in-situ. This innovative use of local materials won the project the prestigious Global Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction.
The clay walls are protected from damaging, wind-driven rain by large roof overhangs, as well as eucalyptus wood façades. The double façade creates a shaded buffer zone between its two layers, which helps to cool down the classrooms and provides a breakout space where students can gather between lessons.