News / Africa

    Floating School in Lagos Lagoon Brings Hope to Nigerian Slum-on-stilts

    The Makoko floating school is seen anchored in the Lagos Lagoon, Nigeria, Feb. 29, 2016.
    The Makoko floating school is seen anchored in the Lagos Lagoon, Nigeria, Feb. 29, 2016.
    Reuters

    Makoko, a vast slum of houses on stilts in a Lagos lagoon, now boasts a new school - pyramid-shaped, floating and capable of withstanding the waterways' extreme weather, it is a beacon of hope for the nearly 100,000 Nigerians who live there.

    With room for 100 pupils, the school - built with locally sourced wood and floating on hundreds of recycled plastic barrels - throws a spotlight on the poverty that pervades the commercial hub of Africa's most populous nation.

    Students read a book at the Makoko floating school on the Lagos Lagoon, Nigeria, Feb. 29, 2016.
    Students read a book at the Makoko floating school on the Lagos Lagoon, Nigeria, Feb. 29, 2016.

    Aid-funded Makoko Floating School offers free education to local children, most of whose parents fish for a living and who, like most of the megacity's 21 million residents, lack a reliable electricity and water supply.

    Makoko was established as a fishing village hundreds of years ago but now climate change and rapid urbanization are threatening its way of life.

    The school, designed by Nigerian architect Kunle Adeyemi, can adapt to changing water levels and was built specifically to withstand the storms and floods that are common in the four-month-long rainy season.

    It took three years to build and caters for children who progress from an existing school - the only English-speaking one in the area.

    The school's director, Shemede Noah, said the new site is a major improvement on the old one, which was built on reclaimed land and has been damaged by high tides in the peak rainy months of October and November.

    "They started building the school and everybody was saying that it's unbelievable, we can't wait to see it, it can't happen," he said.

    Students who attend a floating school arrive by canoe to school in the Makoko fishing community on the Lagos Lagoon, Nigeria, Feb. 29, 2016.
    Students who attend a floating school arrive by canoe to school in the Makoko fishing community on the Lagos Lagoon, Nigeria, Feb. 29, 2016.

    The school has 47 pupils so far and they, like other children in the lagoon, travel to school by canoe.

    Inside, in yellow and blue uniforms, they sit at wooden tables against a backdrop of walls covered in brightly colored maps, historical timelines and other learning guides.

    From the outside, the pyramid-shape stands out against the mass of boxy, wooden houses and canoes spread across much of the lagoon and can be seen from many parts of the city's Victoria Island business district.

    "I've never seen a school floating on water before, this is the only one that I've seen," 11-year-old Omodobu Emmanuel said. "That's why I forced my parents to take me to this school."

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora