In November we completed construction of a stone and mortar foundation for the new classroom building, administrative offices, and latrines at EP Buhumba. The work was performed by a general contracting firm based in Goma, DRC, with experience in building and rehabilitating schools in South Kivu, DRC.
Here is BR Construction's report on the construction:
As there are only three small trucks for the population of 250,000 on Idjwi Island, we brought a truck by boat to Idjwi to help ship materials, including stone sourced from Idjwi Island. The rains caused some delays in the transportation of heavy materials such as sand, stones, and water across the muddy roads on Idjwi. We trained local assistant masons on Idjwi Island, and one-half of the masons hired for the project were from the Idjwi local community. As we had extra materials, we added a second room to the administrative building to provide space for the teachers to prepare their lessons. We also hired a security guard to watch the site and construction materials. The workers all received daily payments, plus food, transportation, and medical fees during the construction.
We projected that foundation could be completed in 30 days. Due to the rains, the project took a total of about 50 days to complete. It was completed on budget. We are also doing some final elevation works on the school ground. As there is no compactor on Idjwi Island, the foundation is now being compacted by dirt and rain water so that the walls do not develop cracks. Once the compacting is complete, the foundations will be ready for the completion of the buildings.
This month more than 300 eager children are returning to school at EP Buhumba on Idjwi Island!
This new school year is especially exciting because we have started construction on a new school and administrative office for the primary school.
In April, members of our board traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where we interviewed multiple contractors who have experience building schools in Eastern Congo. Following a competitive bidding process, we hired a contractor with experience building schools in Goma and with construction projects on Idjwi Island. After inspecting the site and obtaining sketches from an architect, our local project managers have prepared the site and obtained the materials for the construction. In Goma, we filled a truck with materials and sent the truck to Idjwi by boat. After unloading the materials, we used the truck to deliver stones from a local quarry on Idjwi Island. The construction project is providing valuable jobs for workers on Idjwi Island, all under the supervision of trained and experienced engineers. We expect to have the foundation completed by early October.
The construction is not interfering with the ongoing programs at EP Buhumba. The students are still attending classes in the existing school (which can be seen in the background of the photo). Their regular curriculum is being complimented by instruction in sustainable farming through our Bustani Garden Project, which is providing practical training in proper techniques for soil preparation, crop rotation, and cultivating local crops.
Thank you for your continued support for this important project.
This is an exciting time for the Idjwi Island Education Fund! Last month, we traveled from Washington, DC to visit the current school on Idjwi Island and to begin construction on the new EP Buhumba. We received an incredibly warm welcome from the whole community, participated in the graduation ceremonies for the 355 primary school students, heard speeches from school and community leaders, and enjoyed the celebration on the site of the new school. We spent some time talking with the school director and the dedicated teachers and met some of the students' families. We received vegetable gifts -- onions, sweet potatoes, leeks and carrots -- grown in the Bustani Project sustainable garden that the students grew themselves! These students are working in the garden and growing their own sustenance under the supervision of trained agronomists who are teaching them sustainable gardening techniques. The students proudly presented us with the fruits of their labor -- and we were delighted to receive such gifts!
Our main purpose for visiting Idjwi was to finalize the construction plans and identify a project manager to lead construction of the new school. We visited a local primary school under construction in Goma that is being built at a size and with materials similar to those we plan to use in Buhumba Village. The logistical challenges of constructionfor EP Buhumba on Idjwi Island requires the right management and oversight and a team that can overcome the constraints to keep construction moving forward. Aquiring, delivering and securing the needed tools and materials as well as the the limited construction season due to frequent rain will need the right oversight. We discussed these conditions with local experts and professionals who will assist our team in building this summer. Our local team joined us to interview a series of candidates to manage the construction of the new school and we are set to begin construction of the foundation. We are finalizing our efforts to evaluate the bids and expect to select a construction team and break ground on the first phase of construction during the summer season.
Thanks to the incredible support from our Global Giving community, we are in a position to begin construction on a worthy, durable school for these wonderful children.
We are packing our bags for Idjwi Island! In two weeks, members of our leadership team will travel from Washington, D.C. to the Democratic Republic of Congo to visit with students at the current school and finalize preparations to break ground to begin construction of the New EP Buhumba. This is a very exciting time for us at The Idjwi Island Education Fund! Our team will meet with community leaders, oversee the progress of the Bustani Project (our sustainable garden), and visit with friends and supporters in Buhumba Village.
While in DRC, our leadership will also meet with project friends in Goma who are helping us to hire a project manager to locally manage this phase of the New EP Buhumba construction. We are expecting to start construction in mid-2014. Phase 1 is to assemble materials and complete construction of the stone foundation.
We appreciate the great support from our friends and donors who have made it possible for us to plan to start construction of the new school. Please stay tuned for more updates from the field about our upcoming activities.
Last month, students, teachers, community leaders, and representatives of the Idjwi Island Education Fund joined together to launch a sustainable garden near the site of the new school. This garden project will provide the students with valuable training in sustainable farming techniques under the supervision of a trained agronomist. This work training is part of their required curriculum and further supports the students in the current, practical application of what is the Island's main economic engine. The Fund provided the school with the land needed, as well as a full range of supplies such as rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, watering cans, seeds, and rubber boots. The soil has been carefully prepared to increase the potential yield, and the first crop, which includes carrots, tomatoes, leeks and yams, has been planted. The harvest will be used to support the construction of the new school.
The new sustainable garden is located at the site where the new school will be constructed. At the present time, the older students are attending school at a temporary structure at this location, while the younger students continue to attend the existing school a few kilometers away.
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