Posted on September 22nd, 2017
On Friday 15th September, representatives from Uganda and the UK gathered in Mayuge to celebrate the culmination of an ambitious construction project, and the beginning of a state-of-the art health, social and educational programme, here at Kathy’s Centre.
The project embodies the name and spirit of Kathy Smedley, teacher and co-founder of Act4Africa who passed away in August 2014. Like its namesake, Kathy’s Centre is dedicated to providing an array of resources and assistance to the most vulnerable in Ugandan society.
Committed to conscientious, positive change from the programme’s inception, Act4Africa partnered with Engineers for Overseas Development (EFOD) and the Haileybury Youth Trust (HYT) to construct a high quality, sustainable community centre using the interlocking stabilised soil block (ISSB).
Building with ISSB means providing sturdy, stylish infrastructure using locally sourced, widely available soils. These are manually compressed into blocks and dried in the sun, saving the 11 tonnes of firewood necessary for a burned brick structure as big as Kathy’s Centre.
By choosing to use ISSB, Act4Africa has helped to ensure the long-term health of Mayuge’s environment and its community. Local youths have also joined in the construction process, learning vital building skills alongside graduates of HYT’s ‘one community’ programme.
EFOD and HYT training has provided sustainable livelihoods for these young masons, who now make blocks for sale from the centre. How’s that for employable skills? This is one of many activities, including goat-rearing and basic veterinary training, that will help to provide access to independent income for the centre and its beneficiaries.
Crucially, Kathy’s Centre will provide the district, which has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS prevalence in Uganda, with vital testing and counselling services, adding to the 70,000 people the organisation has tested and the 1.4 million it has educated since 2000. The new facilities will also host a youth club and a kindergarten, empowering the young men and women of Mayuge district!
We’d like to thank Act4Africa for making us a part of such an exciting and transformative project! HYT and its new masons also extend their gratitude to Engineers for Overseas Development for their ongoing professionalism and patience – our trainees weren’t the only ones who learned a thing or two!
In the words of Pastor Richard Abaliwano, “Together, we have put another block in the wall against HIV.”
Let’s keep building!