Kaira Looro is a not-for-profit architectural event, organised by the Balouo Salo humanitarian organisation, which is aimed primarily at students and young architects, engineers, or designers. The name of the competition comes from the Mandinga language: an ethnicity that is widespread throughout Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, and Mali. It means ‘building peace’ or ‘architecture for peace’, that is to say, an approach aimed at building a supportive environment in which peace reigns. The objective of the event is to raise awareness of humanitarian topics in the international community, while at the same time raising funds to build charitable projects to which the proceeds are donated. The objective of the competition is also to offer international visibility and opportunities for professional development to talented young architects. The competition promotes a sustainable approach, incentivising research into architecture capable of offering a concrete response to climate change and humanitarian crises. The winning design will be assessed and, where applicable, constructed as a charitable project by the Balouo Salo organisation, which will verify its technological, humanitarian and economic feasibility with the context of the beneficiary. The organisation may then reserve the right to make modifications to the design to make it more viable and involve the winners, acknowledging, in any case, that the team members are the creators of the architectural concept. Where the design does not meet the criteria of the organisation, it will be able to construct another awarded design. Construction will be co-funded from the proceeds of the competition, coming from the registration fees that will therefore constitute a charitable donation. All awarded projects are to be understood as donated free of charge to the Balouo Salo organisation, who may also construct, share and donate them to other organisations, partner institutions and ministries who are committed to developing rural communities in Africa. The competition has no profitable purpose, and the entire proceeds are donated to charity.
Balouo Salo is a humanitarian organisation formed with the aim of building charitable projects in order to improve the quality of life of rural communities in developing countries.
The words ‘Balouo Salo’ are in the Mandinga language, the majority ethnic group in which the organisation operates and were chosen by the head of a village in the region in the south of Senegal. It means ‘a bridge for life’.
Some of its most significant projects in the south of Senegal are:
- The construction of solar-powered wells equipped with water decontamination and sterilisation plants to reduce infant mortality (in the villages of Sambacounda, Sanoufily, and Baghere);
- The design of a reservoir to reclaim 10,000 hectares of rice fields to support the food supply and livelihoods of 80,000 people (Tanaff valley);
- The construction of a Multi-purpose Cultural Centre to promote educational activities and to protect cultural heritage as factors of sustainable development (Tanaff);
- The construction of a Women’s House (Kaira Looro 2022 architectural project winner) to promote female emancipation and equal opportunities.
All projects are built with the direct involvement of the beneficiary community to facilitate appropriation and self-sufficiency and are funded entirely by private donations and fundraising events, including ‘Kaira Looro’.
For more information about Balouo Salo, please visit its website at www.balouosalo.com