|Primary School Physical Environment and Health - WHO Global School Health Initiative (SIDA - WHO, 1997, 96 p.)|
|Appendix A. Case studies|
The Altiplano - or high plain - is a plateau in the Andes mountains, covering two-thirds of Bolivia and extending into southern Peru. It is a cold, windy and treeless region, at an altitude of 3500-4000 m. It also contains snow-capped mountain ranges, with peaks reaching above 6000 m. Because of the altitude and lack of cloud cover, the area suffers from extremes of temperature, with daytime highs of 25-30 °C and night-time lows well below freezing. The Altiplano is the most heavily populated region of Bolivia. Most people live in small, remote villages.
The majority of the schools consist of simple one- or two-classroom buildings with walls of sun-dried blocks or burnt bricks, and a roof of corrugated iron sheets or tiles. The schools have no heating stoves. So for most of the day, the indoor temperature is far too low for comfort. Outdoor conditions, even if sunny, are often too cold and too windy for sedentary activities.
Since 1993, the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) has provided 25 schools in the Provinces of Bustillo, Ibanez, Charcas and Bilboa with simple greenhouses built of sun-dried mud blocks, timber and ultraviolet-resistant plastic film (polyethylene). Each greenhouse has a floor area of about 40 m2. Similar greenhouses have also been provided for 192 households and villages.(17)
Some schools on the Altiplano in Bolivia have been provided with simple open-field greenhouses for the production of vegetables for school meals and for sale.
The purpose of these greenhouses is to enable the schools and households to grow vegetables. Some of them work very well and, even on very cold days, provide a comfortable indoor climate. Such a greenhouse could be turned into a classroom and could even be attached to a school building. Classes could use the greenhouse or the conventional classroom according to whichever offered the most favourable and healthy microclimate.
In the cold, windy and sunny conditions of the Altiplano, a greenhouse provides a much better indoor climate than a conventional, unheated classroom. So why not use the greenhouse as a classroom? It could even - though this has not yet been done - be attached to the school building.
To promote personal hygiene among schoolchildren, UNICEF in Bolivia has instigated a pilot project to introduce school bathrooms with solar-heated water. The bathroom units are usually combined with toilets and handwashing facilities.
Some schools on the Altiplano in Bolivia have been provided with hygiene units containing showers with solar-heated water, toilets and handwashing facilities.