The world’s first 3D-printed school in Malawi welcomed its first students last month on June 21.
Leveraging technology to tackle the shortage of schools in the continent, an African affordable housing venture called 14Trees has erected the world’s first 3D-printed school in the country of Malawi. The design provides space that students in the region did not have the privilege too with facilities for teaching and learning both inside and outside of the classroom.
Malawi has one of the world’s worst educational infrastructures with an acute shortage of classrooms and teachers. As per UNICEF estimates, Malawi needs 36,000 new classrooms just to plug the shortage in primary schools. While this demand could take 70 years to get fulfilled, 14Trees believes that its 3D printing technique could address the gap in just 10 years.
3D-printed school shortage in Africa
The school was built from scratch in the Salima district of Malawi. It took 18 hours to erect the walls. The 3D-printed school was then relocated to a village community in the Yambe zone.
Juliana Kuphanga Chikandila, a primary education advisor in Malawi told a regional media house,“Before, we had 12 schools in the Yambe zone; we now have 13 – with this new 3D-printed school. To increase our supply of education to children, we need a total of four more primary schools in the Yambe zone, but as a district, we need approximately 50 more schools to serve those in need. I am very impressed by the new building – its durability and design provide the space and facilities that students did not have before; teaching and learning can now happen inside and outside the classroom.”
3D-printed school is also planned for Madagascar, with construction to take place sometime this year.
Having completed the world’s first 3D-printed school in Malawi, 14Trees now hopes to carry out similar projects in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Another 3D-printed school is scheduled to be built in Madagascar in the coming months.
About 14Trees project
A joint effort between the UK’s CDC Group and construction multinational LafargeHolcim, 14Trees is plugging infrastructure shortage in Africa with 3D-printed construction projects. Its innovative construction technique, the CDC Group claims, reduces the environmental footprint of new construction projects by 50 percent.
14Trees recently completed erecting the first 3D-printed “affordable” house in Africa. It reportedly printed the walls of the house in just 12 hours. Here’s a video of how the 14Trees 3D printing process constructs schools and affordable homes: