From the
organisers of
Concrete Show Logo

PERI open new "TwistBlock" school in Kenya

The new PERI school building in Kibera consists of several thousand TwistBlocks. (Photo: PERI SE)

The first school built with under the PERI’s “Building Sustainability” initiative has been officially opened in Kenya

The school, which opened its doors for over 200 children in Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, at the end of February 2024 was built in less than a year with the company's TwistBlock technology, in collaboration with the non-profit start-up “Start Somewhere”.

To facilitate construction, PERI developed what are known as TwistBlock Moulds for hollow concrete blocks, which were designed specifically for use in slums due to the simple and flexible manner in which they can be used.

Over 200,000 people live in Nairobi’s largest slum, where life on the streets dominates everyday life. Densely clustered corrugated iron huts leave the children barely any space to play, and an education is not something that can be taken for granted.

To pave the way for vocational prospects, PERI collaborated with non-profit organisation Global One Foundation to build the new, three-storey primary school, which will provide ample space for play and education.

Above all, however, it will provide pupils with opportunities for the future.

The TwistBlocks are hollow concrete blocks that can be slotted together without mortar to form a wall. The building blocks are produced particularly easily and quickly using specially developed formwork, namely the TwistBlock moulds from PERI. (Photo: PERI SE)

New opportunities

The TwistBlocks are hollow on the inside and also very narrow, which means that only a minimum of resources are required for production. What’s more, the TwistBlocks can be disassembled if necessary and reused to a maximum extent of 80%, making construction in slums particularly cost-efficient, safe, and sustainable.

Blocks are produced using PERI’s TwistBlock moulds in local factories in Kenya and South Africa, creating additional local jobs.

The walls of the school in Kibera are made up of 7,000 TwistBlocks. The fire-resistant blocks feature an impressively simple plug-in system which, in addition to being quick and easy to use, allows the ground plan to be designed flexibly in confined spaces.

The cavity inside the blocks also ensures good insulation and pleasant room temperatures in summer and winter. The construction process is therefore very straightforward and requires neither mortar nor trained bricklayers.

With a construction time of only one year for the school building, the TwistBlock method sets new standards in terms of rapid construction.

PERI is aiming to build a new school every year as part of its “Building Sustainability” initiative. There are already plans for a PERI school in Cape Town and one in Manila. With this approach, PERI intends to set the ball rolling on new prospects for the future – worldwide.

An outpouring of joy: More than 200 children from Kiberia celebrated new prospects for the future at the opening ceremony. (Photo: PERI SE)

Ceremonial opening

Since the school opened, nine classrooms have provided learning space for up to 225 children, while the top floor provides a welcome distraction from everyday life in the slums by offering plenty of space for fun and games.

Water tanks on the roof and in the ground supply the school with water, while toilets and washrooms provide sanitary facilities that are rarely found in slums. 

“Education is very important to us, as it is the cornerstone for the children’s future careers. That said, this is not simply a school we are building. By producing the TwistBlocks locally, we are also creating jobs and helping people to help themselves. At PERI, we are very pleased that our network of participating companies such as Start SomeWhere and Global One Foundation is making these projects possible,” says Andreas Mayer, head of corporate sustainability, PERI SE.

PERI employees have also played an active role in supporting the opening of the school. With the “Global Run to Nairobi” campaign held as part of the Einstein Marathon 2023, PERI donated €1 (£0.80) to the newly built school in Nairobi for every kilometre run by employees, with the money going towards school equipment.

The high level of involvement meant that €10,000 (£8,000) was made available for furnishing the classrooms and purchasing whiteboards, books, benches, and a cooker for the opening of the school.

Andreas Mayer and Dr Jürgen Mayer from PERI attended the opening ceremony in Kenya. Amidst a varied entertainment programme, they gave speeches expressing their best wishes. (Photo: PERI SE)