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Help Make A Difference

11 October, 2017

We have a saying at Project   Build, that “we get up in the morning to build schools”.  This is our passion, our lives revolve around it.

Fortunately we live in a society which recognizes that the Government cannot provide education without the material assistance of private donors and social investors.   The education sector of the donor environment in South Africa is massive, well in the order of 8 billion rand per year !   My remarks will concentrate on physical infrastructure investment, the development of classrooms and ancillary buildings given that this is the mandate of Project Build.


Project Build has been developing school infrastructure for 40 years and would like to do this for many years to come.  In these years we have built close to 6000 classrooms benefitting hundreds of thousands of young people and educators.  My reason for extrapolating this into such a vast number of beneficiaries is the secondary point our want to make in this article that for the social investors making this type of  investment is a true legacy and a blessing for many years ahead for the school involved.   We visit schools for our 2nd 3rd 4th intervention and see buildings that we built perhaps 20 or so years ago when we still traded as Urban Foundation and then as Natal School Project.  And because of the success of the first buildings we are welcomed with open arms, it is a true celebration when Project Build arrives.


But here’s the thing, we cannot do it alone we need our social investment partners, our donors to join us.   The value of brick and mortar classrooms in schools  is well recorded.    Mr Moses Mogambery formerly a Chief Education Specialist for Curriculum (Grades 10-12), Dept of Education KZN, Pinetown District, makes this point strongly in his referenced article headed School Infrastructure  and Education Incomes printed in the 2012 Annual Review of Project Build.   He makes reference to 3 studies which bear this out.     A report entitled  “Do K-12 School Facilities Affect  Education Outcomes ?” authored by Ed Young (2003),  This report makes the point that there is growing evidence of a correlations between  the adequacy of a school facility and student behaviour and performance.  Mogambery  sites two other reports which make similar claims.  “ The Impact of School Infrastructure on Student Outcomes and Behaviour “by Dr Kenn Fisher  revealed e.g.

Student academic achievement improves with improved building conditions.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)(2006) found that the quality of school infrastructure significantly influences the learning of Latin American and Caribbean students.

Mogambery’s articles carries on to make the case here in South Africa on how good infrastructure improves performance and poor infrastructure impedes performance .

These studies are important as are the remarks of Mr Hugh Bulcock Senior Manager Infrastructure Planning – Dept of Education KZN in an article he wrote which appears in the Project Build 2015 Review “Pre 1994. Resourceful rural communities, out of desperation, resorted to building schools with rudimentary facilities, with meagre means at their disposal.  Amidst this background of deprivation, communities have for the past 38 years looked beyond the confines of the establishment for assistance and have found a willing partner in their endeavours through Project Build and its forebears, the Urban Foundation and Natal Schools Project.  The contribution of Project Build in providing in excess of 5300 classrooms in KwaZulu-Natal over this period is an achievement that cannot be overstated.”   He says too that “the Kwazulu-Natal Department of Education is eternally grateful and needs to continue the relationship with Project Build if it wishes to make significant inroads in the abovementioned backlogs”

The Hon. MEC for Education Mr Mthandeni Dlungwana continues this theme in his message of support which appears in our 40th Anniversary Review.  I quote “ An important goal of the National

Development Plan is to provide every school with the physical infrastructure and an environment that inspires learners to want to come to school and learn and for teachers to teach”.   He adds “Project Build’s sustained contribution to education is especially commendable as the number of classrooms stands at over 6000.  That there is a relationship between the physical environment where learners are taught and the effectiveness of teaching that cannot be doubted”


So we at Project Build find ourselves in a very specific niche as an NGO, in building classrooms.

We invite you to talk to us, to partner with us,  to help make a difference literally to the future of our Country.  It is a social investment that will bear fruit and of which you will be proud for decades to come.  Phone me on 0313075322 or will also reach me.


Suzanne Edmunds



CEO Suzanne Edmunds

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