Tanna School Project 



The Tanna Primary School project is a Muslim Aid Australia project which is being delivered on a remote Island in the region of Vanuatu.  It is a SMART sustainable project that will focus on long term sustainability by adapting a holistic approach that is fully sustainable, low cost and durable.

The permaculture designed project will have the ability to assist aid work and help people for the long-term rather than just for the short-term. 

500 individuals are set to benefit from this project.  Primarily 120 children will be provided with free primary school education.  Community development will also be a key focus via a permaculture demonstration site that will provide skilled training to locals as well as international students.

We were asked to create a mainframe permaculture design for this project in order to establish a permaculture demonstration  site on the Island. 



The primary objective for this project was to create a permaculture mainframe design and school building design.

We also provided on the ground implementation, support and permaculture training.

This will include composting toilets, grey water systems and animal systems. Creating swales, establishing an early nursery, worm farms, main crop, banana circles and fruit forest.





SIZE 2.56Ha
LONGITUDE 19°27’21.0″S
RAINFALL 800 – 1200 ml / year




The Tanna
Primary School

The primary school site was designed so that it could not only serve as a school but also as a solution to other situations that may arise on the island such as refugee/shelter as a result of natural disaster.  Outside of school hours and term time the buildings serve as an adult education centre and permaculture demonstration site.  A multitude of skill sharing workshops are held to help train the wider community.

Water Harvesting Systems

Our main frame water harvesting system takes into consideration flood defence, water storage, water distribution and soil conservation. Access-ways, roads, laneways and bridges are assessed before piped water and sanitation systems are designed.

Food Systems

Before we implement any design we observe the local environment and interact with the local people.  We researched popular food types in the local culture and observed what grows naturally.  An early system nursery that was suitable to the tropical environment was established, soil and water systems implemented before main crop and food forests were established.


“On this remote volcanic island, we are building a primary school and permaculture farm which will provide the school with fresh fruits and vegetables.  Salah Hamad talks us through how the warter harvesting systems are being established”

– Muslim Aid Australia

    Project Sponsors



Main Frame Design

In a remote location such as Tanna Island, it’s important to get the main frame design right before the project commences.  This ensures the project can be effectively project managed, requirements are fully understood and the vision easily communicated.

Multi-Purpose Building Design

We designed a building that was durable, self-sustaining and low maintenance, that can be used as a primary school during term time, adult education and learning centre for workshops outside of school hours and a permaculture demonstartion site during the school holidays.  

Swales & Rain Water Catchment

One of our first priorities was to catch and store as much water in the landscape as possible.  We trained the locals along the way so they could replicate these systems on their land.

Functional Nursery

The early establishment of a nursery, taking into consideration climate conditions.  Along with training and knowledge sharing on seed saving techniques. 

Main Crop

Working with the locals and school children to establish healthy foods and an abundance of tomato , cabbage, watermelon, mizuna , Ethiopian cabbage , raddish, and of course Molokhieh

Banna Compost Cube

Empowering the local people to take care of the soil naturally via basic composting workshops and the establishment of simple worm farms.  

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