Keeping up with Kadungulu: Construction Complete!

Posted on May 22nd, 2017

April 25th was a well-marked day not only in the calendars of HYT staff, but also in the minds of Kadungulu’s residents, its schoolchildren, and its burgeoning team of new masons. Though Kadungulu Secondary School’s new dormitory and water tank were completed the month before, the community wanted time to prepare a fitting opening ceremony to celebrate the efforts of the HYT trainees and the generosity of the project’s funder, Andrew Billington.


Leaving Billington Vocational Training Centre

Michael, director of Billington Vocational Training Centre, and HYT Assistant Trainer Alamanzani prepare to follow the truckload of students and band members to the ceremony.


The ceremony was indeed unforgettable, and featured a procession around the town of Kadungulu. The marching band of Billington Vocational Training Centre in Serere, from which the trainees are drawn, merrily accompanied the festivities. A crowd of staff, pupils, donors, builders, government officials and townspeople marched together to the anthems of Teso and Uganda in what was described as “the biggest event ever held in the town”! Such an accolade is not unrealistic, considering the parade collected over 3,000 people at its height.


Processing past the dormitory

Any townspeople who had not previously visited the highly popular new structure were able to see it at the parade’s end.


Having wound through the town accumulating revellers enthused by the new construction, the column finally made its way back through the school gates. From here, everyone was able to see the building, nestled in a stand of trees preserved thanks to HYT’s pioneering technology. According to research from Oteng’i et al. (2007), a building the size of Kadungulu’s dormitory would require the felling of approximately 9 mature trees if built using traditional fired brick methods. [1] That would destroy the shade currently cooling the building, and lead to further disruption of the local water cycle (already erratic, at best). For a country that loses 1% of its biodiversity per year, the conservation of such trees is of vital importance.[2]


Kadungulu Dormitory

The dormitory, with its iconic red roof, has been described as the “very best building in the vicinity”!


In order to combat Uganda’s alarming deforestation rates, HYT instructs trainees in the use of Interlocking Stabilised Soil Blocks (ISSB). This makes Kadungulu’s new masons a highly specialised team able to build with both traditional and modern, environmentally-friendly techniques. Not only does the ISSB cure in the sun, removing the need for firewood. It also exists in a number of different shapes, one of the most important being the curved block. These are used in the construction of water tanks, key structures that fired bricks would never be able to accomplish. The trainees would explain all these benefits to the local community after the official opening, encouraging the technology’s wider application.


Tour of the Tank with Chris Billington

Among the guests of honour was Chris Billington, son of Andrew and Penney and a new ISSB enthusiast!


Following recognition of the hard work and contributions of all, the ribbon was cut and the building officially opened. Guests filed into the large, airy space whose temperature is regulated by the ISSB’s excellent thermal insulation. The trainees then gave a tour of the building’s unique aspects, before commencing their graduation.


Traditional Dance

Pupils from all over the school, including the arts and army sectors, joined in a celebratory traditional dance.


Accompanied by traditional music from the school’s musicians, each trainee danced up to the presenters, a team made up of local officials, sponsors Andrew and Penney Billington, and HYT Operations Manager Philip Yiga. They were given certificates marking the completion of their training and confirming their new status as ISSB masons. Their experience will continue to grow as they work on more projects, either through HYT or for independent employers. By the looks of the dormitory, they are well on their way to becoming experts in the field!


Graduation with the Billingtons

The trainees were pleased to receive their certificates from presenters including Andrew and Penney Billington.


So there we have it, another school furnished with safe accommodation and water facilities, another set of youths imbued with employable skills, and another oasis of greenery preserved by HYT’s ISSB training programme. We may work ‘One Village at a Time’, but the collaboration of forward-looking benefactors like the Billingtons is invaluable in maximising the powerful effects of the technology. Thanks to them, we are pleased to welcome to the HYT family 11 youths, newly empowered to join the quest for stability, sustainability and success!



Congratulations to the graduates on successfully completing both the structures and the training programme!


You can continue to keep up with Kadungulu and other HYT projects via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, as well as our main website.


Ashden Sustainable Solutions








HYT is proud to be shortlisted for an Ashden International Award 2017.


[1] OTENG’I, S. B. B. & NEYOLE, E. M. (2007) Brick Making Activities and their Environmental Impacts in Busia, Siaya, Bondo and Butere-Mumias Districts of the Lake Victoria Basin of Kenya. International journal for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction. Vo. 1 No. 1, pp. 24-28.

[2] DR. ROBERT NABANYUMYA (2017), NatureUganda, 25th Annual General Meeting Chairman’s Report, p.2.

Spring Greetings from HYT

Posted on May 5th, 2017

HYT Spring Greetings

There’s been a lot to smile about this year as the Trust’s impact continues to grow.

Spring Greetings from HYT

As the sun turns a warmer shade in the UK, it continues to shine bright orange in equatorial Uganda, where HYT is busier than it has ever been. More lives have been improved, more communities transformed and more jobs created than at any time in its decade of working in the Pearl of Africa. And all in a way that does not cost the earth.


We are delighted to bring you a snapshot of the skilful and accomplished work of HYT’s growing team of professionals and trainees in Uganda, as our reputation also grows far beyond Jinja’s colonial charm. Our Country Manager, Mauricia Nambatya, an experienced civil engineer, now leads the team with Old Haileyburian Charlie Tebbutt and together they give outstanding leadership in Uganda. Our young OH volunteers, currently Harry Hughes, also continue to contribute with youthful energy and humour.


We were thrilled to be shortlisted for an Ashden International Award and look forward with excitement to the result of this prestigious award in June. You can read more about it here.


None of what we do would be possible, however, without the support of friends, donors, volunteers and of course our wonderful team in Uganda.


For all this, and much more, thank you very much indeed.


Russell Matcham




Ashden Sustainable Solutions






Kadungulu: a project far from home – and in two tongues


HYT recently completed its first project far away from the tranquillity of Lake Victoria and majesty of the Nile. In collaboration with the Billington Vocational Training Centre, HYT has developed the skills of a group of masonry students in Teso region, a day’s drive from Jinja, exposing them to our environmentally-friendly interlocking stabilised soil block (ISSB) building technology. Together the HYT trainers and the local students constructed a boarding hostel for a nearby school, while getting to grips with our unique, carbon-saving approach to building.


Assistant Trainer Alamanzani

Assistant Trainer Alamanzani developed new, practical teaching techniques to get around the language barrier!


Although the only common language was a little English, since the local dialects are entirely different, it did not seem to prevent the teams getting on famously and producing an outstanding addition to the school’s campus, in this particularly poor part of Uganda, while developing employment opportunities for the masons.


Kadungulu Team

The trainees graduated within sight of the fantastic dormitory and water tank they constructed at Kadungulu Secondary School.


HYT builds better homes with award-winning architects


We have been particularly pleased to have worked with the charitable arm of renowned architects, FCB Studios, in producing an innovative and flexible housing design for multiple occupancy.


Staff Block Construction

Working on state-of-the-art housing designs has given trainees the chance to learn a variety of new techniques.


The house, of which there are already a number of versions, has an open living space at the back, cool (literally and figuratively!) hit and miss brick design, giving better ventilation; a lovely little porch for sitting and watching the world go by, while the mezzanine half floor above offers an additional sleeping area for children. We were delighted to work with Nathan and Anja, architects from the Richard Feilden Foundation, who visited the first site – where lots of ideas were exchanged and lessons learned on both sides.


Staff Block

The staff block combines architectural innovation with stylish efficiency, and has been adapted to suit the needs of different communities.


The One Village training programmes get better and better


Under the watchful eye of our brilliant training manager, Freddo Koire, the ‘One Village at a Time’ programme of sustainable development and training goes from strength to strength. More young Ugandans (men and women) have been trained and now are in work, while villages are transformed with new water tanks, latrines, school buildings and homes.


Trainee Jenipher

Jenipher and her fellow trainees learn to build in the best way possible: by constructing vital facilities in their local schools!


HYT is now in double figures with this work, having worked in ten villages in the last six years. Thousands of young Ugandans’ lives have improved, with more children at school, eating regularly from HYT-built kitchens, washing and drinking healthily from our water tanks, and learning and living safely in our smart classrooms and dormitories.



HYT’s school buildings give pupils the space they need to develop and excel in education.


Freddo seems to inspire his trainees, who work with confidence and dedication, producing buildings of astonishing quality and variety – and do so with great enthusiasm and loyalty to the growing HYT family. One HYT-trained mason said: ‘finding jobs for youths is important. Now I have skills and can support my family.’


Staff Block Building Team

Village youths line up to join the training programme, where they learn valuable construction skills.


Freddo is at the heart of the HYT team, together with the indefatigable operations manager, Philip Yiga, whose expertise in ISSB is unparalleled throughout the region and the projects manager, Jonny Nsubuga, who takes great pride in his attention to detail.



Freddo taught and led the team that built the staff block, water tank and classroom behind him!

Jonny and Philip

Philip and Jonny celebrate progress on Iowa State University’s Uganda campus.
















Haileybury helps give Ugandans a hand up, not a hand out


From the now legendary Batten Bistro, to the lively Lower School walks and the Kipling Event, the Haileybury community continues to support HYT imaginatively and energetically. St Stephen’s Primary School on the outskirts of Kamuli Town has benefited most recently from Haileybury’s support where, until HYT arrived, children were forced to study under trees come rain or shine.


Spring Mango Tree

Learning outdoors is not only distracting, but highly dependent on weather conditions, which in Uganda are increasingly erratic.


The Batten Bistro enabled the new classroom block to serve as an exam centre, while the Lower School helped build a much-needed teachers’ house at the school. This means teachers no longer have to travel long distances to school on difficult, or non-existent, roads.


Harry and Mauricia

Volunteer Harry Hughes was quick to learn the ropes from Country Manager Mauricia, and threw himself wholeheartedly into the work at St. Stephen’s.


The Kipling-sponsored water tank will fill with clean, fresh water once Uganda’s rainy season arrives – and there are two a year. We are very grateful for Haileybury’s continued interest in and support for HYT.


Partnerships transform the lives of some of Uganda’s most vulnerable


Collaboration with two NGO’s has helped transform the lives of some of Uganda’s most vulnerable children. Children on the Edge which works with young people in a slum in Jinja, commissioned a children’s centre, kitchen and latrine on its site, in a particularly depressed part of Uganda’s second city. We were really pleased with the outcome: a beautiful and brightly stylish double room block, with office, together with a kitchen with fuel-saving stoves and toilet block. Winnie, the manager of the centre told HYT: ‘the building is so good the children from the school opposite keep running over to be in our centre!’


Children on the Edge

Children on the Edge met cutting edge ISSB technology in the construction of their new early development centre.


RAVO is a centre for orphans and AIDS victims in Mayuge district. Here HYT has built two dormitories with accompanying water tanks and a school kitchen, also with energy-saving stoves, with the support of donor Peter Bond.



Things are looking up for the children of RAVO, who now have access to safe sleeping space, hygienic cooking facilities and clean water.


The youngsters at RAVO and Uganda Railways School deserve all the support they can get, and we are pleased to be able to improve their living and working conditions beyond their imagination, in a way that does not cost the earth.


Catching and keeping the rain in Uganda: with HYT’s help


With the wonderful support of the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Trust, Lunch 4 Learning and the Rotary Club of Marlow and their sister clubs in Italy, France and Belgium, HYT is constructing more water tanks than ever before. The simplicity of rainwater harvesting is that the water is free, clean and is literally on tap. Children do not need to make time-consuming and sometimes risky (for girls) journeys to distant boreholes for water. Improved water and sanitation in schools means more students are likely to stay at school, as are their teachers. Good quality water and sanitation provision is especially important for girls, who would otherwise often stay away from school for several days each month during menstruation. HYT’s unique first flush system ensures water is clean and detritus-free when it reaches those distinctive yellow jerry cans.


Water Tap

Rainwater, an important and widespread resource in Uganda, is well worth tapping into.