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          Uaso Nyiro Primary School Wins Prestigious International Award

          Uaso Nyiro Primary School in Laikipia County has won international distinction as the recipient of ‘The Greenest School on Earth 2013’ award.

          The Greenest School on Earth recognition is an annual announcement made by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that highlights a school that exemplifies how sustainability can be integrated into what and where students learn.
          The award has been made in recognition of the positive social and environmental impacts that the ‘Waterbank School’ building, constructed by Zeitz Foundation, conceived and designed by PITCHAfrica with funding from Guernsey Overseas Aid, is having on the school and surrounding community.
          “It is a great honour for the Uaso Nyiro Primary school to receive this prestigious international award for the 'Earths' Greenest School' from the USGBC ”, says Patrick Mwaura, Headmaster Uaso Nyiro Primary School. 
          “The staff, pupils, parents and surrounding community are delighted that our hard work and efforts to transform our school from an arid semi-desert into the oasis of greenery with water to spare have been recognised. This transformation was enabled by the construction of the Waterbank buildings, which have ensured that the attitudes of our staff and pupils are positive and conducive to learning and discipline, attendance has dramatically increased and our students are taking home the lessons that they are absorbing about health, water and nutrition and strengthening the whole community.”
          The ‘Waterbank School’ building, which opened its doors to the students on 24th November 2012, is the first of its kind in Kenya and indeed in Africa. Located in a region with an annual rainfall of 600mm, the ‘Waterbank School’ building’s unique 600m2 roof catchment area can harvest, store and filter more than 350,000 litres of rain water annually.
          “Access to clean water means a reduction in illness and malnutrition, fewer school absence and improved study results.  It also ensures that the school achieves greater gender equality as the girls in the community who typically spend hours collecting water will be able to attend school and do homework instead. Every child learns about economically and environmentally sustainable rainwater harvesting, water filtration, sanitation and agricultural practices while at school. The ‘Waterbank School’ building embodies the very knowledge the children need in order for them to survive and improve their circumstances”, says Dr. Liz Rihoy, Executive Director of the Zeitz Foundation.
          PITCHAfrica’s innovative ‘Waterbank School’ building design is an alternative low cost, school design for poor regions in need of water.  ‘Waterbank School’ buildings are built from local materials with local labour for the same cost as a conventional linear school. The Samuel Eto’o Laikipia Unity Football Academy, that is currently under construction, implemented by the Zeitz Foundation and designed by PITCHAfrica, will serve as a major rainwater harvesting demonstration site for Laikipia with a four new ‘Waterbank’ building types including a 1500 seat sport stadium with a 1 million litre water reservoir.
           
          The Zeitz Foundation focuses on sustainable ecosystem management by investing in initiatives that maintain or strengthen the integrity of ecosystems and their ability to deliver services, such as clean water and air, carbon sequestration, and healthy soils. The Foundation also organizes the currently on-going Laikipia Unity League football tournament which promotes environmental awareness through demonstrations of environmentally appropriate and sustainable energy technologies, conservation agriculture and sustainable water harvesting and filtration systems through its 4Cs philosophy of Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce which focuses on biodiversity conservation, community development, cultural stewardship and social entrepreneurship.
          The ‘Waterbank School’ building at Uaso Nyiro will receive a US$ 5,000 grant to initiate or enhance a school sustainability program from the U.S. Green Building Council; a US based non-profit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.

           

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