Daycare center in Mozambique

19 students, 5 weeks, 1 school, 12 days with global aid, architects and local villagers

After decades of foreign aid, Mozambique is now totally dependent on this economical income. This is an unfortunate balance between expectations of aid and how the help acts to postpone the people’s own initiatives. As a quite peaceful post-colony and post-civil war country, Mozambique stands in the position of loosing most of their aid programs. There is a growing sense of unpredictability about the future concerning the economic situation and how to deal with the inescapable transformation society has to undergo. In the world of aid organizations there is an increasing understanding that an efficient way to combat poverty is the adaptation of “poor initiatives” programmes. Here the marginalized population has the opportunity to take charge of their own destinies. A community-driven development that contributes to the strengthening of local environments. The value of such projects has proved to be more lasting than that of conventional aid programs.

Nineteen students and three teachers from Bergen school of architecture made a five-week trip to South Africa and Mozambique to work on architectural issues related to environment, globalisation and the meeting between different cultures. The trip culminated in a strong encounter with the village Chimundo in Mozambique. The task of building a daycare centre in the village Chimundo was led by nun Sister Catarina. Her story starts in 2004 cooking small meals for homeless children under the biggest cashew nut tree on her plot. She soon developed more of her plot, making her able to serve and teach the children in a small building.

The students did extensive research on how to lower the building costs through the use of natural materials and evolving local techniques. This was for instance done through innovation in thermal mass walls built up by stacked rice bags filled with local sand.

Apart from being an affordable solution, this methodology made the process understandable and made possible the transfer of building technology to the local community, enabling them to continue the project independently.

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