mandag 6. oktober 2014

The ethical and environmental sustainable potential of the New Miles2Smiles center


The project looks to explore the possibilities of ethical and environmental sustainability in development assistance projects for children in developing countries. The ethical sustainability aims to use architecture as a mean of educational development for children in the slum of Kampala, and to educate the local community in how to design sustainable architecture that provides a healthy indoor environment. The environmental sustainability aims to use low-tech solutions for energy efficiency based on local building techniques, climatic conditions and sustainable materials. This should increase the local community` s awareness of the possibilities of good and non-expensive living conditions.

Ethical and environmental sustainability

The project`s focus on ethical sustainability relates to the potentials of designing architecture for children in developing countries, of empowering women and of strengthening the community spirit. The ethical potential lies in using architecture as a mean of educational development for children, and as a mean of educating the local community in sustainable and low-tech building techniques based on the local culture, local climate and the use of local building materials. The project has a long-term ambition of improving the local living conditions through educating the local community simple techniques of energy efficient design in terms of temperature, water usage and solar control, which will increase the local community’s awareness of the possibilities of good and non-expensive living conditions.

Through our project with designing The New Miles2Smiles center, we seek to enhance and tackle many of the issues related to poor child development and poverty in Uganda’s capitol, Kampala. As the children are the future of Uganda and an important ticket out of poverty, the new center provides great possibilities in an ethical sustainable context. The New Miles2Smiles center can through the means of low-cost daycare, pre-school education, nutrition programs and microfinance education for women break the poverty cycle in a long-term time perspective, by focusing on the children and women. Stunting and poverty is the two main factors that are closely linked with reduced years of schooling. Malnutrition may lead to stunting of children, which further often leads to low performance level at school and reduced years of education. Through the nutrition program provided through the Miles2Smiles center, the risk of malnutrition can be reduced greatly.

The New Miles2Smiles center will provide stimulating and inspiring environment for education and development. The children will be educated from an early age, and this will be a starting point to break the cycle of poverty that they have been born into. Pre-schoolers at the age of 2-5 years will be equipped with basic literacy and numeracy skills and provided with higher chances of succeeding at school and get an education. Through the mean of architecture we want to create physical surroundings to encourage learning and mental growth, curiosity, social interactions and developing through playing.

The center will also function as a community center which will provide education in nutrition and financial skills for the women, and provide the mothers with a chance to make a better life for themselves and for their children. The microfinance group at the Miles2Smiles center will help, educate and encourage saving and marketing so the adults of the community are given knowledge and possibilities to save for and invest in better housing, the child’s future education or own business.

The New Miles2Smiles center will also be designed with a focus on environmental sustainability. Low-tech and low-cost techniques for utilizing the local climatic conditions will enable cost efficient future running of the center, while at the same time educating the local community in different passive techniques that can further improve their own living conditions.


The final design has children and their development in focus and is adapted to the local climate to create comfortable and stimulating environments. The design is based on familiar material and building principles in Uganda, but is enhanced through knowledge of passive, low-tech solutions. Thus, the design will be easy to read and interpret for Ugandans, and by enabling the local community to participate in all aspects of the construction, the locals can gain experience for future job opportunities, which further proves the long-term effect on the community and the educational potential architecture beholds.

 Educating through architecture


"The educational possibilities can be a starting point to break the poverty cycle that these children have been born into…", Catherine Kitongo, Director and founder of the Miles2Smiles organization.

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