Nobelity Project Recruits Nike, Architecture for Humanity, Willie Nelson to Help Address Education Crisis in Africa

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The Nobelity Project, producers of award-winning documentaries on global issues Nobelity and One Peace at a Time, are teaming with Nike, Architecture for Humanity and Willie Nelson to design and build a prototype high school in an impoverished area of Kenya. The high school in Mahiga, north of Nairobi, will include elements of green, sustainable design intended to serve as an example of what can be accomplished when nonprofits, corporate partners and local governments become partners.

Already responsible for helping to bring clean drinking water, electricity and computer labs to St. Joseph Mahiga Primary School in rural Kenya, the Austin-based Nobelity Project has committed to building a new high school to serve as many as 700 students in the impoverished area near Nyeri, about 75 miles north of Nairobi.

"Enrollment is up and water-borne illnesses are down, and Mahiga Primary is now the highest rated school in the district," said Turk Pipkin, co-founder of the Nobelity Project along with his wife Christy. "But there is no secondary school in the area, so education now ends at the 8th grade."

According to a recent estimate by the Global Aid Project, nearly 40 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa have never been to school at all. The government of Kenya is committed to increasing the number of classrooms in the country, but is looking to outside organizations to provide resources. The area Educational District has committed to operate the new Mahiga High School, but currently lacks the funds to build it.

Pipkin became aware of the problems at Mahiga while filming One Peace at a Time, the new award-winning follow up to his acclaimed documentary Nobelity. After working with the primary school, it became apparent that much more was needed.

Nike, Architecture for Humanity Play a Key Role
Part of the design for the new high school campus is the Rainwater Court, the world's first "net-positive" covered basketball and sports court that will also collect and purify drinking water for the school, serve as an outdoor classroom, a community meeting space and more. (Learn more at

The Rainwater Court was recently selected a winner of Nike's international GameChangers design competition. Architecture for Humanity, a nonprofit design services firm with a goal of building a more sustainable future through the power of professional design, will oversee construction of this innovative project, part of an overall project that will include four classroom blocks, a library and computer and science labs.

Willie Nelson Joins the Cause
Willie Nelson, a longtime supporter of the Nobelity Project has made a unique commitment to the Mahiga Project. Anyone who makes a $500 contribution to the Nobelity Project for Mahiga will receive a signed copy of the New York Times bestseller "The Tao Of Willie," co-authored by Nelson and Pipkin. $100 donors will receive a copy of the book signed by Pipkin. A $5,000 donation will get a signed book plus the donor's name on one of the new classrooms.

The need for increased and extended educational opportunities is a key element in the fight against poverty in Africa. But it goes far beyond that. According to the United Nation's Africa Recovery Project, each additional year of primary education for a country's girls is associated with an 8 per cent decline in the national child mortality rate.

About the Nobelity Project
The Nobelity Project collaborates with Nobel laureates and other inspiring leaders to provide reliable information and innovative thinking on pressing global problems and solutions that work. Combining professional filmmaking with a nonpartisan, nonprofit education program, our work reaches a broad cross section of people interested in making a difference.

"To make this school a reality," says Pipkin, "we need the support of individuals and businesses who believe that education is a fundamental right and an absolute need. This is one of those great opportunities where a little bit of money can accomplish a great deal."

To learn more, go to
To make a donation to build Mahiga Hope High School, go to

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Eric Webber
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