Award-winning Development Aid: Francis Kéré at the “Hevert-Fachtagung für Naturheilkunde”

Diébédo Francis Kéré, partner of Hevert and repeated award-winner in architecture, presented the sustainable development projects of his association “Schulbausteine für Gando e.V.” (Schoolbricks for Gando) at the “Hevert-Fachtagung für Naturheilkunde” (the Hevert-expert meeting for naturopathy) with accompanying press conference in Düsseldorf on Saturday, June 8. For the first time, interested viewers could also watch his talk as well as the symbolic presentation of the check for the Hevert-campaign “Gemeinsam für Kinder” (Together for Children) live online.

The presentation of the check: (f.l.t.r.) Marcus Hevert, Francis Kéré, Mathias Hevert.

Seemingly out of nothing and in very short time, architect Francis Kéré succeeded in establishing a school complex in his home-village Gando, located in a remote area of Western Burkina Faso, only supported by fundraising. From the very beginning, the choice of building material was subject to economic and climatic considerations. “Clay is available all over the country; walls made of clay are able to keep the African heat outside the buildings and regulate the temperatures within the classrooms. Large, overhanging roofs protect the face of the school buildings during rainy seasons and allow for cool air to flow into the rooms through a space between the roof and the room ceilings made of clay,” the architect explained the building technique to the audience. “Even more important is that the population of the village has been largely involved in the building process. The traditional building technique of using clay as such experienced a great appreciation. Now, the population does no longer demand the use of building materials such as concrete, which is expensive and does not fit climatic conditions , only because it is used in Europe,” Kéré explained.

The Hevert-family together with pupils of Gando.

Twice the co-owners of Hevert visited Burkina Faso to assure themselves of the progresses of the school project. “On our visits to Gando, we were welcomed as kings by the whole village community– like guests of honor at a huge celebration – and together we marveled at the incredible progresses of the building,” Mathias Hevert, managing director, remembered. “And as we have been able to experience the enthusiasm of the people, we, as partners, are very proud to further push and promote this great work,” Marcus Hevert added during the subsequent presentation of the symbolic check amounting to Euro 25.000.

Pupils in front of the extension of the primary school building.

Since early 2009, Hevert-Arzneimittel has donated 1 cent to the association for every package of medicine purchased as part of the "Gemeinsam für Kinder" (Together for Children) campaign. Since 2006, with the help of its customers Hevert has been able to donate about Euro 175.000 to the association.

Since 2005, the primary school, the first building of Kéré, has been complemented by several homes for teachers, an extension of the primary school building, a school garden as well as sports fields. Meanwhile, 500 children are taught at the school. The new building, a secondary school for 1.000 pupils, soon completes the concept of education. Kéré and his team were awarded with the Global Holcim Award 2012 Gold, one of the world´s most valuable prizes in architecture, for the project officially named ‘Secondary school with passive ventilation system, Gando, Burkina Faso’.

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