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Competition: Benga school, Malawi

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An open international contest has been announced to design a secondary school in the rural community of Benga, Malawi

Open to students and practising architects, the competition seeks innovative proposals for a secondary school initially featuring one classroom for its each of its four year groups but capable of expanding to up 12 classrooms at a later stage.

The Education for the Future project will deliver a landmark secondary school on a roadside plot on the fringes of the Nkhotakota District village next to Benga Parish, a Missionary Community of Saint Paul the Apostle. Proposals must harness local materials and construction methods.

According to the brief: ‘Universal education, gender equality and empowering women are vital components of the mission in developing countries. Educating children helps reduce poverty and will give the next generation the tools to fight poverty and conquer disease. School also offers children a safe environment, with support, supervision and socialization.

‘Here they learn life skills that can help them prevent diseases, including how to avoid HIV/AIDS and malaria. Children may receive life-saving vaccines, fresh water and nutrient supplementation at school. The aim of this project is to provide a better education to the youngest citizens of the country by giving them the opportunity to access a decent secondary school infrastructure.’

Malawi – formerly a British colony – became an independent country in 1964. Today the landlocked 118,000km2 state is home to around 18 million people, is heavily reliant on agriculture and remains one of the world’s least developed countries.

The competition, organised by Archstorming, aims to boost educational opportunities for young people in remote rural communities.

Proposals should harness local materials such as clay, stone, timber and iron; integrate water storage and solar photovoltaics; and deploy easy-to-use construction methods.

Concepts should include four classrooms, a teachers’ office, computer room, library, laboratory, animal area, multi-purpose space, toilets, administrative offices, meeting spaces and storage areas.

Judges include Kenneth Kim of New York-based MOREMAS Architecture, Teresa Garolera from the NGO Active Africa, and Steven Ochieng from the Missionary Community of St Paul the Apostle. Registration fees range from €50 to €150 and the total potential prize fund is €20,000 depending on the number of participants.

The overall winner, to be announced 3 April, will receive up to €10,000 and see their scheme constructed by the NGO Active Africa and the missionary community of Saint Paul Apostle. Construction is expected to commence late next year.

The deadline for applications is 20 March.

How to apply

Visit the competition website for more information

Contact details

Email: info@archstorming.com

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