If Malawi were to stick to traditional construction methods, that country would meet its school building needs by the year 2090. However, 14Trees, a subsidiary of Holcim, believes it has the capability of besting this projection, meeting the country’s needs by 2031.
The company, a joint venture between LaFargeHolcim and CDC Group, has just printed its first school in Malawi (and yes, you read right, printed).
Using 3D printing technology, the company has constructed a functioning school building, printing the walls, which would typically take days to build, in just 18 hours.
Speaking on the feat, Miljan Gutovic, Region Head of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Holcim Group: “I am very proud of how our colleagues at 14Trees have deployed cutting-edge 3D printing technology to solve such an essential infrastructure need. Now that we’ve proven the concept in Malawi, we look forward to scaling up this technology across the broader region, with projects already in the pipeline in Kenya and Zimbabwe.”
A representative of the Director of Education, Youth and Sports in Malawi, Juliana Kuphanga Chikandila, highlighted the demand for “approximately 50 more schools to serve those in need” in the Salima District.
“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. It is notably different from the schools being built in the Yambe zone and Salima district. This school will attract more students, and those learners that had left will return to education,” she said.
Tenbite Ermias, Managing Director, Africa, at CDC, said: ‘The rollout of 14Trees’ world-class, cutting-edge technology is going to have a tremendous developmental impact on Malawi and the wider region. It is a wonderful example of how we are investing in businesses that can support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.’
Students officially began attending the school on 21 June.