Posted on March 27th, 2018
8 months after winning the 2017 Ashden Award for Sustainable Buildings, the Haileybury Youth Trust has exciting news for 2018. HYT has been selected by Enabel, Belgium’s development agency, to teach Interlocking Stabilised Soil Block (ISSB) construction across Northern Uganda, from Karamoja to Yumbe!
The low-cost, environmentally friendly building technique will be taught to 150 trainees, in vocational training institutes and refugee settlements. Equipping young Ugandans and refugees with employable construction skills will transform their lives, their communities and their environment.
The first project takes place in Nakapiripirit, a town of three streets or so, nestled high in the Eastern Rift Mountains. HYT will be working with the students of Nakapiripirit Technical Institute, to construct a round staff house using curved earth blocks.
The project will make use of building techniques familiar to the Karamoja Region, including thatched grass roofing. The team travelled to the town of Nabilatuk to discover more about local approaches to this practice.
Two hours out of Nakapiripirit, the ‘chief town’ of the district, HYT’s field team was invited to enter a manyatta (compound), where a new hut was under construction. Here they learned how to thatch directly from local women, with varying success.
Particularly enlightening was the explanation that all construction materials are sourced from the surrounding savannah. This sustainable approach to building is something that HYT and the Karamojong have in common, promising a successful collaboration.
After meeting with the Enabel team and setting out the project aims and location, it was time to head home. The journey from Jinja to Karamoja and back is a long one, and full of surprises…
But HYT is used to that. Its own journey has taken it from the streets of Stepney to the banks of the Nile, and now to the mountains of Karamoja. The project, which begins next week, marks an important step on the road to sustainable development here in Uganda.
Posted on March 2nd, 2018
Last Thursday, HYT celebrated one of its famous graduation ceremonies, this time for the 8 trainees at Kayembe Primary School. Drawn from the local community, these young Ugandans previously saw sugar-cane cutting as the main alternative to the unemployment gripping Kamuli. With HYT training, their future looks bright, as does that of Kayembe’s pupils.
The entire community gathered to celebrate the trainees’ achievements and to admire the structures they built from the ground up. 9 months ago, these youths had never handled, let alone manufactured and built with the interlocking stabilised soil block (ISSB). They will now use it to construct vital facilities such as classroom blocks, washrooms and water tanks.
The first structure to be completed here at Kayembe was the classroom block. This gave each trainee the chance to handle around 1000 blocks each.
Next came the tank, generously funded by Water Charity, and providing 20,000L of rainwater to the school’s pupils. HYT’s newest trainees from another Water Charity partnership in Mabira Forest attended the ceremony, where they were inspired by the young men and women who have completed these structures.
Finally, trainees put their new skills to the test on the staff house, which includes a set of innovative features. The interior wall is made of soil and sand only, dramatically reducing financial and environmental costs. The earthen floor was supervised by EarthEnable, reaffirming HYT’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goals 13 and 17: Climate Action and Partnership!
The One Village project has brought together four organisations (including the Royal Logistics Corps!), 8 trainees and an entire community. United through a desire to improve the lives of local schoolchildren and village youths, everyone here has given their all.
The highlight of the ceremony was undoubtedly Jenipher Nabutono’s graduation speech. As the first female graduate of HYT’s training programme, she has blazed a trail for women in Kamuli. She spoke of the challenging attitudes facing women in construction, including those of her own village.
Jenipher’s speech was followed by cheers and applause, as the people of Kayembe presented her with a new building square, trowel and other professional construction tools. It was clear that she had changed their lives as well as her own. Following graduation, she mas moved to another HYT site, where she leads Juliet, Rebecca, and the rest of the new trainees constructing water tanks in Mabira.