A Climate-Smart School on Njao Island

By Zach Melanson, Posted on August 14, 2019

Update: March 3, 2021
We’ve just received news from Zanzibar that the climate-smart school will be officially inaugurated at the end of this month!

The Zanzibar islands are one of the poorest regions in the world and are increasingly at risk of the effects of global climate change. Climate change is causing sea levels to rise around the many small islands that make up the archipelago, contaminating drinking water and flooding farmland. Temperatures are warming and rainfall has become erratic; and without a consistent source of water, farmers struggle to grow crops. Njao Island is particularly vulnerable to climate change and the two communities on the island lack the climate-smart infrastructure they need to respond to these changes.

The communities on Njao Island need access to education, clean water, and renewable energy to adapt and thrive. Construction of a 45,000-liter rainwater harvesting tank was completed in 2018 to serve the two communities on the island. With the support of our community of generous supporters, Community Forests is now building an accompanying solar-powered school and water system for the new tank. Children currently travel twice a day by boat to attend school on a neighboring island—a huge burden that holds everyone back.

By integrating community needs into its design, the school will serve as a hub that will increase the overall quality of life and adaptive capacity on the island.

The roof of the school will be designed to direct rainwater into the 45,000-liter rainwater cistern. As water security becomes increasingly precarious, this cistern will provide an accessible and reliable source of water for drinking and washing. Solar panels will be installed on the roof of the school to generate renewable energy for the building. This project is an important investment in the education of future generations and in community resilience in one of the world’s most vulnerable regions.

Follow co-founder Daimen Hardie’s journey to Njao and the climate- and community-hub under development on Twitter.

And check out the Climate-Smart School under construction: