By Tina Armstrong
As a way of making education easier for residents of the coastal part of Makoko in Lagos Mainland, the United Nations Development Programme UNDP has commenced the construction of special coastline educational facilities known as “floating schools”. The school’s first prototype which was unveiled recently is a two-storey building standing on silt and is being powered by solar energy. At the opening of the prototype, the Country Director of UNDP in Nigeria, Miss Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje said UNDP was committed to improving the standard of living of people and expressed optimism that the school would change the face of Makoko. According to her, the children in the Makoko waterfront community deserves quality education in a conducive environment and the floating school project will serve that purpose. She added that through the support of the Lagos State government, the school would attract tourists to see the wonder school floating on the Lagos lagoon.
The Project Designer of the Makoko Floating School, Mr. Kunle Adeyemi, said the school is a sustainable project that would not be affected by the impact of climate change like sea level rise. This is because the water level at any given time does not affect the school but the school floats without been disturbed. The waste generated in the school would be recycled. Mr Adeyemi called for support in construction of more floating schools in other coastal communities across the country because it would help to improve the lives of the people in such areas. One of the community leaders in the Makoko waterfront community, Chief Francais Agoyon thanked the UNDP for constructing a school that suits their environment and the needs of his people. Chief Agoyon stressed that the Makoko people would make good use of the school and called for more of such developmental projects that meet the demand of the people. He believed that with such projects in Makoko, the area would attract tourists from far and wide, that would enjoy the hospitality of the Makoko people.
The Programme Officer of the United Nations Habitat, Mr Paul Okunlola pointed out that the floating school is a welcome initiative by the UNDP because children in Makoko will not be disadvantaged from accessing quality education because of their environment. Mr. Okunlola stressed that the UN-Habitat is committed to achieving Goal 7 target 11 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal, MDG that is in line with upgrading slums across the world. “Though more slums are coming up across the globe but it is a running battle and we are determined to win the war”, he added.