buildOn Global

We build schools with villages that lack adequate classrooms – where students learn in huts, are taught under trees, or walk miles to a neighboring villages. Or don’t go to school at all.

The education crisis and what we’re doing about it.

Learn About the Developing Countries We Serve

For two decades buildOn has mobilized rural communities in some of the economically poorest countries on the planet.


146 Schools Built
165,844 Volunteer Work Days

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306 Schools Built
829,014 Volunteer Work Days

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224 Schools Built
110,350 Volunteer Work Days

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115 Schools Built
111,907 Volunteer Work Days

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Burkina Faso

75 Schools Built
162,154 Volunteer Work Days

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244 Schools Built
613,769 Volunteer Work Days

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213 Schools Built
258,045 Volunteer Work Days

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  • Haiti
  • Mali
  • Nicaragua
  • Senegal
  • Burkina Faso
  • Malawi
  • Nepal

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to end poverty and illiteracy.

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Our Community Building Approach

Our methodology’s centers on empowering villages to take the lead in bringing education to their communities.

_65A5917-EditIn most of the countries where we work, women have been treated as second-class citizens. Girls have not been educated, and there are few leadership opportunities for women. But when girls and women can advance their lives through education, the entire community benefits. Gender equality is the cornerstone of our methodology. From the beginning of each school construction project we champion women, emphasizing gender equity in both community leadership and the school’s enrollment

Equality in Leadership

Project Leadership Committees of community members organize and lead the school’s construction, and each committee is comprised of equal numbers of men and women. On the construction site, men and women work side-by-side performing the physical labor to build the school. Women are encouraged to step outside traditional gender roles and try different jobs, like laying bricks, digging foundations and mixing concrete.

Equality in Education

By partnering with buildOn, each village makes a promise to send their daughters to school in equal numbers with their sons. Through this commitment, buildOn has given women and girls in many rural villages their first opportunity to become educated and contribute meaningfully to their communities. Currently, 50% of students in buildOn schools are female, and more than 75% of our Adult Literacy Program learners are women.


Before breaking ground on their school, every member of our partnering communities sign the buildOn Covenant.

Our Covenant is a solemn promise between buildOn and the village outlining our contributions to the project. buildOn contributes engineering, materials and skilled labor. Each village provides land, local materials and the weeks of labor to build the school. Additionally, every village promises to send girls and boys to school in equal numbers. For many women villages we serve, this will be the first time they are asked to sign their name. Many must sign with a thumbprint, but with joy for school that will end illiteracy for their children, their grandchildren, and themselves.

Our Ongoing Commitment

Once a school is complete, buildOn staff closely monitor and evaluate its success. Communities that continue to honor their Covenant through commitment to cooperation, education and gender equality are considered for second schools

Our sustainable approach ensures that schools are built with a community rather than for a community. It positions villagers as true partners, not recipients of aid.


Adult Literacy Classes in buildOn schools around the globe teach women and men literacy and numeracy through the lens of health, enterprise and relevant life skills.

Taught in the evenings, in the same schools their children attend by day, the Adult Literacy Program gives parents and grandparents the education they need to build a better life for themselves and their children. buildOn currently conducts the three­-year Adult Literacy Program in developing countries with some of the world’s lowest female literacy rates, including Haiti, Malawi, Mali, Nepal and Senegal.

Literacy is just the beginning. By promoting basic education, The Adult Literacy Program addresses the problems of poverty, disease and inequality. In each class, students spend the first six to twelve months learning to read, write and do basic math. Students then put these skills use through income generating activities they select themselves. buildOn works with villagers to inventory their resources and create a strategic plan for progress. Income generating activities have included bee keeping, animal husbandry, and textile production.

Take Action

Make a difference in your community and our world.

Build a School

Gather friends and family,
fundraise, and travel to a developing country to build a school.

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Volunteer Your Voice

Share our story with your social network and add your voice to the buildOn movement.

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Donate to Our Programs

Donate to help bring education to villages in the world’s economically poorest countries.

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