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Ipalo Christian Community School Zambia


A pro bono project, Ipalo Christian Community School in Kasompe, Zambia was opened in January 2013 with the first Grade 1 class, teacher and caretaker. Ipalo means “blessing” in the local Bemba language. There are currently 206 students from Grade 1 to Grade 7, consisting of orphans and vulnerable children. Each child is provided with a nutritious meal at lunch time, as well as a morning or afternoon snack. Eventually Zambia's Child hope to see the school grow to meet the needs of over 840 children in the area from Grades 1 to 12 (these are children who come from disadvantaged families that would not attend school). As the school develops it will also provide employment for members of the local community.

PAADesign assists Zambia's Child in the master planning, staging of the site and the design of the buildings for the school. Consideration is given to the siting of uses and buildings, connections and shade. Climate is a very important consideration as well as how the buildings are used initially and in the future. The design considers staging and addresses adaptability of buildings for different purposes. Building modules allow various uses in the initial stages and then to become classrooms at later stages as the student numbers grow.


The school master plan incorporates classrooms, school hall, administration, library, caretakers cottage, kitchen and amenities, student accommodation, covered outdoor areas, playing fields, playgrounds, gardens and plots for food, compost facilities and animal enclosures. 

The design of the school uses a traditional low tech, building approach allowing the buildings to be built by the local community and therefore creating additional jobs and keeping costs down.

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