IMPACT JOURNALISM DAY 2015: FLOATING SOLUTIONS

Architect floats new way to educate slum kids

Nigerian architect Kunle Adeyemi built this ecofriendly “Floating School” for Makoko slum children to get an education.
Nigerian architect Kunle Adeyemi built this ecofriendly “Floating School” for Makoko slum children to get an education. PHOTO: MAKOKO FLOATING SCHOOL

This story was first published on June 20, 2015

THOUSANDS of people in Nigeria migrate from their homes in the countryside to the city in search of greener pastures, but most of them settle in slums.

More than 200,000 people have settled in Makoko, a slum located in the Makoko-Iwaya community of Lagos, Nigeria's largest city.

To address the growing need for formal education in the area, Nigerian architect Kunle Adeyemi built a modern and eco­friendly structure named "Floating School" in 2012, with support from the Heinrich Boll Foundation and the United Nations.

Measuring about 100 sq m, the structure stands on a platform supported by 256 recycled blue plastic barrels. At any one time, the three-storey floating wooden structure can accommodate 100 elementary school children, who get to school by boat. Each floor has a modern toilet and solar-powered electricity. The ground floor has an open space which serves as a playground.

But the beautiful structure, which was shortlisted for the London Design Museum's 2014 Design of the Year Award, is in trouble.

The Lagos state government is unwilling to approve it as a school because the slum is considered an illegal settlement. Plus, the community has yet to assume full custody of the structure.

But a source said the community is ready to restart the project.

BLESSING OLISA AND ADEOLA OGUNLADE /THE NATION (NIGERIA)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2016, with the headline 'Architect floats new way to educate slum kids'. Print Edition | Subscribe