Nigerian Floating School
Imagine having a school on water floating around during classes now that’s hot!
In Lagos the Capital City of Nigeria herein lies the Makoko slum where 300,000 people live. This community is known as water community; they live on stilts (a house made up of wood, steel and concrete). Imagine Alexandra Township on the flat land filled with water, that is the Makoko community in Nigeria, Lagos. The place is made up of 6 Villages which are: Oko Agbon, Adogbo, Migbewhe, Yanshiwhe, Songunro and Apollo.
Makoko Floating School is the proudest initiative by members of this community who rely on fishing as their main livelihood. The design of the school shows determination by community members to further develop themselves. The amazing thing about this community is that even though they are a crowded community that sits on fetid lagoon, Makoko is not a hub for disease or epidemic viruses like Cholera. Doctors without Borders opened a clinic only to close within a year of operating because there was no need, according to the local people. Today there are only networks of informal clinics servicing the community and attending to basic illnesses.
Now the only transportation in this community is boats. Many call this community Venice of Africa, something that should not be entertained. The people of Makoko deserve to be recognized for their ability to live and thrive in a place viewed as impossible to live and be a community in. This is not a holiday destination like Venice; it may attract many intrigued tourists, but for the locals this is their livelihood.
Boats used by students often make their way to the pyramid structure sitting on plastic barrels to give it balance. The school was built between 2012 and 2013 by architect Kunle Adeyemi. Only 100 students can attend the school. The number may be small but the school is still a pillar of hope for the residence. It is said that there are now more floating schools on the rise across villages in Makoko even the Nigerian Government is incorporating the same structure for urban schools.
This innovation is a proof of how innovative African people are. With limited resources we are able to make life worth living. It would have been easy for the Makoko community to drown in their problems and challenges, but instead they stood up and built shelters for their families, built schools for their children and continue to develop their water community, that is a Marvel of an African.