COCO is committed to reducing harmful impacts on the environment. To do so, COCO incorporates environmentally friendly and sustainable techniques into our School for Life elements!
In terms of shelter, COCO uses locally-sourced materials – reducing our carbon footprint in needing to transport materials. These locally-sourced materials are sustainable and have minimal impact on the environment -for example, using bricks made from sand. As well as this, rainwater harvesting and solar panels are installed where possible - check these out under 'Power' and ‘Water & Sanitation’ below!
Lighting in rural Tanzania usually comes from the use of kerosene lamps. However, these lamps are expensive to fuel, pose dangers to health and are harmful to the environment. In order to avoid such harms, COCO funds solar lamps and installs solar panels. The panels power lights and computers which allow for the improvement of educational opportunities and productivity.
COCO helped Kindimba Secondary school to build a solar IT classroom - helping to provide valuable IT skills to children in areas without electricity, in a sustainable way!
Clean water and good levels of sanitation are essential for a successful school with healthy pupils, with high levels of attendance. Sanitation is vital for the attendance of girls who may drop out of school at puberty.
To avoid this, building toilet blocks is key. When installing such solutions, COCO looks to sustainable options. For example, composting toilets are installed, as these can separate waste, which is then used as manure for growing crops organically and to generate biogas for cooking; reducing reliance on wood and charcoal.
As well as this, rainwater harvesting is used. This is the accumulation and storage of rainwater for reuse on-site, rather than allowing it to run off. This allows for the collection and storage of rainwater from classrooms and buildings without disrupting the water table and reducing soil erosion during rainy seasons.
COCO recognises the importance of sport and recreation within education, in line with the importance of sustainability. Maasai Academy is an example of how these two important elements have come together!
Maasai Academy is located in a remote region of Kenyan Maasailand; in which the community initially set up the school in a disused church, to provide a better education for their children. Now, the school has a sports field with solar powered flood lights! An addition like this means that children can play safely, enjoy the social and health benefits of sport, while all carried out in an environmentally friendly way!
The vast majority of people living in rural parts of East Africa rely heavily on agriculture. Over the years, COCO has invested in sustainable agriculture training for communities. The training involves using simple, cheap and environmentally friendly techniques to increase crop yields.
The results have been remarkable! Local people have been able to increase their income by 284%, which is generally used to educate children and meet other household necessities.
Food for Fees is an initiative that uses sustainable agriculture techniques to produce crops. These crops are then sold on to the government, generating income while avoiding damage to the local market and local farmers. In the short term, the surplus from this programme is used to sponsor students through secondary school.
In the long term, students and their parents learn sustainable agriculture techniques and can use these new skills to increase their own crop yield. This can help to increase the families income and enable them to continue with education.