Showing welcome concern for the low standard of life of the inhabitants of Makoko coastal community of Lagos, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has started the construction of special "floating schools" for children.

The prototype, as unveiled last weekend, is a two-storey building standing on silt, and powered by solar energy.

The Country Director of UNDP in Nigeria, Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje, said at the ceremony that UNDP is committed to improving the standard of living of the people and expressed optimism that the school would change the face of Makoko.

According to Ms. Lekoetje, the children in the community deserve quality education in a conducive environment, and the floating school project serves that purpose.

She added that with the support of the Lagos State government the institution will attract tourists to see the “wonder school” floating on the Lagos Lagoon.

Kunle Adeyemi, the Project Designer of the Makoko Floating School, said the school is a sustainable project that would not be affected by the impact of climate change such as a rise in the sea level, as the structure would float undisturbed, and 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 there.

A Makoko community leader, Chief Francais Agoyon, expressed appreciation to UNDP for constructing a school that suits their environment and the needs of his people, and promised that his community would make good use of the school.  

He said that with such projects in Makoko, the area would attract tourists from far and wide, who would certainly enjoy the hospitality of his people.

The Programme Officer of the United Nations Habitat, Paul Okunlola, pointed out that the floating school is a welcome initiative by UNDP because children in Makoko should not be denied access to good education because of the quality education of their environment.

He further stressed that UN-Habitat is committed to achieving Goal 7 target 11 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals that is in line with upgrading slums across the world.

He observed that more slums are springing up across the globe, saying it is a running battle “but we are determined to win the war.”

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