In a prime example of good timing, the «Smiling Gecko» organisation contacted Implenia just when the company was thinking about how to inject new momentum into its sustainability efforts. One of the ideas developed at a recent management conference was that we should do more charitable work nationally and internationally under the slogan “Implenia without borders”.
The request for help with the construction of a sustainable school site in Cambodia could not have come at a better time. Implenia quickly agreed to the proposal and provided Smiling Gecko with support in the form of skills and expertise. The “Village School Project” is also backed by other organisations, including the architecture department of the ETH Zurich and the Zurich University of Teacher Education.
Smiling Gecko has provided direct aid, financial and non-financial, to communities in Cambodia for many years. The charity has launched an anti-poverty project north of the capital Phnom Penh that aims to give decent work opportunities to several thousand Cambodians. The project includes a model school for around a thousand children, offering dual vocational training based on the Swiss system.
The project is unique in the world: planning and construction is influenced not only by the latest sustainable building techniques, but also by state-of-the-art educational principles. Construction began in spring 2017. As well as the school buildings, the project includes sanitary facilities, first-aid rooms, a canteen, a library, sports facilities and teacher accommodation.
In June 2017 two Implenia employees travelled to the site for the first time to review the planning and progress of the project. It became apparent that the plans needed amending and that additional expertise was required. Consequently, since August 2017 Implenia has continuously sent construction personnel out for stints of three months to help the local team. Interested employees can apply via the intranet and with a bit of luck take part in this unique project.