Biocontruction of a school in Saint-Louis, Senegal


The setec Foundation renews its partnership with the SEED association in the framework of the new “Daram Alaam Gi” project which aims at the bioconstruction of a school in the city of Saint-Louis in Senegal.


The context


The department of Saint-Louis, in the north of Senegal, has a population of 226,000. Made up of lagoon and mangrove biotopes, it is particularly exposed to the overexploitation of natural resources and coastal erosion.

Indeed, due to the high demographic concentration in the stretched areas (Langue de Barbarie, Île de Sor) and the importance of fishing in the local economy, coupled with the current inflation of raw materials, the pressure on resources is reinforced. In this context, the significant deterioration of the built environment and the poor quality of essential universal networks (health, education, etc.) aggravate the precariousness in which the local population finds itself.

This is why the municipality of Saint-Louis has been committed for several years to sustainable development programs, focusing on renovation, energy performance and improving public services. The emphasis of these programs is on the protection of the environment and its resources and the rehabilitation of public networks and infrastructures.

In the context of this global approach of the City of Saint-Louis, a project was born with the objective of serving as a prototype for bioconstruction for the sustainable development of the commune. It consists of the realization of a prototype of renovation and bioconstruction for public buildings, in this case a school in the fishermen’s districts.

The school was chosen as prototype for renovation due to the urgency of resuming its services: indeed, the Gox Mbacc school is deeply dilapidated and has had to close two of its classrooms.


The project


The project carried out by the SEED association, in partnership with the GIE Suxali Alaam, the City of Saint-Louis, the City of Lille and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et de Paysage de Lille, has four specific objectives

  • To propose bio-based construction solutions for public buildings in a complex context, to allow experimentation on the resistance of local materials, and to facilitate the adaptation and transposition of these solutions to the whole of the Saint-Louis territory
  • Support the transfer of good practices and the transmission of peer-to-peer knowledge in the development of local construction models, and support the training and professionalization of young people, particularly young women, in these alternative solutions
  • Support the resilience of local communities and limit the pressure on the environment by supporting the creation of a common culture around bio-based construction models, resource management and protection through awareness raising and experimentation with local communities
  • To encourage individual, collective, and public commitment to alternative practices by supporting the creation of a decision-making tool on the choice of local materials for construction on a departmental scale

Saer Seye school ©SEED


The prototype buildings is therefore built as immediate response to local needs (reopening of classrooms), as incubator for experimentation to accompany the urban transition of the City of Saint-Louis, and as a new demonstration object to raise awareness among local communities of new sustainable and quality construction systems.


The project is planned in several stages:

1 – A preparation and design stage


  • Identification and inventory of local resources
  • Co-design of prototypes and strategic orientation
  • Design of the plans by ENSALP students, accompanied by the lead architect hired by SEED


2- A construction stage


  • This stage allows the demonstration of different construction techniques with an educational role
  • In the form of a training site, the construction of the school allows the training of a local workforce in sustainable construction
  • Several groups are targeted to benefit from this training: traditional construction professionals, as well as young people and women


3 – A stage of capitalization of practices


  • A compilation of training modules and acquired knowledge will be carried out to produce an operational document for professional training and self-training and to initiate interdisciplinary peer-to-peer exchanges
  • The holding of pedagogical workshops throughout the project, targeting a wide range of local actors (educational teams, parents and children, municipal services, representatives of civil society)
    • “Bioclimatic architecture” workshops
    • “Environment and protection” workshops
    • Introduction to environmental and ecological issues
    • Workshops to raise awareness of local construction


Gox Mbacc school ©SEED


The implementation and monitoring of this project will be carried out by Adramé Ndiyae, a setec Afrique employee involved in the Foundation’s work. Since the 2021 thematic campaign, Adramé has played a major role in the smooth running of the monitoring of projects in Senegal by carrying out field visits, preparing reports and meeting with the project leaders. His investment continues with the implementation of this new project in Saint-Louis, and the Foundation is very grateful to him.