Christmas Greetings from HYT

Posted on December 14th, 2017

2017 has been the most exciting year in HYT’s decade of working in Uganda. While the highlight was perhaps winning the prestigious Ashden International Award for Sustainable Buildings, we have trained our first women builders, undertaken a large rainwater tank project and have seen HYT working for the first time in Mabira’s spectacular but endangered tropical forest.


Irene & Johnson in Mabira

Irene & Johnson are key members of the new tank building team here in Mabira.


“The benefits of this scheme go way beyond the environmental impact – reducing deforestation and curbing CO2 emissions through a low carbon building technique – and encompass health, training, employment opportunities, even access to education”

2017 Ashden Judging Panel

Winning the Ashden International Award in June was a tremendous accolade marking international recognition for the One Village at a Time training projects. The judging panel was impressed with the holistic approach to HYT’s work, where young Ugandans are empowered with new skills, school communities are transformed and the fragile Ugandan environment preserved.


Check out HYT’s Ashden page and tailor-made film!


The 2017 Ashden Awards Ceremony

Jane Sandars (The Westminster Foundation), Mauricia Nambatya (HYT), Charlie Tebbutt (HYT), Russell Matcham (HYT). Image by Andy Aitchison / Ashden.

“HYT’s model is a simple one but is scalable and robust” 2017 Ashden Judging Panel

We are determined to make the most of the award and already have exciting plans for the new year, including constructing a model development in Mabira forest, which will showcase HYT’s innovative approach to training and low-cost, environmentally-friendly building.  HYT is already working in Mabira, one of Uganda’s last remaining large rainforests, where we have installed water tanks for communities in the forest.


Mabira Forest Water Collection

HYT’s ISSB water tanks provide real solutions to water pollution and deforestation here in Mabira.

“A truly unforgettable experience and a beautiful country”

The Haileybury school trip in October saw 20 Upper 6th girls and boys visiting a range of HYT sites, seeing in action our innovative approach to building, meeting the team and developing a deeper understanding of what we do and why. We hope these young men and women will stay interested supporters of the charity. They seem pretty enthusiastic from what they say here:

“I was amazed to see how the HYT staff were working constantly and efficiently in the Ugandan heat”

Haileybury Trip to Sipi

This year’s upper sixth embraced Ugandan life, from HYT sites to the stunning Sipi falls. Image by Graeme Tyndall / Haileybury.

“What interested me most about the Uganda trip and what I enjoyed most was getting to know the HYT workers and seeing firsthand what they do”

One site visit by the Haileybury students was to RAVO (Refuge for Aid Victims and Vulnerable Orphans). Thanks to the funding by a private donor, these children at the margins of Ugandan society now have a roof over their heads, clean toilets and ready access to water. These are things that we take for granted but are not so in one of the world’s poorest countries.

“Uganda was an unforgettable experience which allowed me to witness first firsthand the value of HYT to communities across the country”


RAVO Boarders

Since the new dormitories were completed, the number of boarders at RAVO has increased by more than 30%!


The Trust has just completed a project jointly funded by HYT, the Rotary Club of Marlow, its sister clubs in Europe and the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Trust. By installing water tanks and latrines in four rural schools, 1,727 children will benefit in all kinds of ways from this transformation to their schools. Improving water and sanitation facilities meets one of the Sustainable Development Goals.


HYT Water Tank at Bulondo

During the rainy season, children here at Bulondo no longer need to visit the borehole thanks to the new tank!


HYT meets several of the United Nation’s SDGs:


HYT supports Decent Work and Economic Growth

HYT has trained 23 new masons this year, making a total of 114 since 2006.


HYT has employed more than 50 graduates across its sites in 2017!


HYT supports Climate Action

In 2017 HYT has saved:


708 MWh of embodied energy, the equivalent of burning nearly 260,000 kg  of coal.


114 tonnes of firewood.


24 mature trees like this one:



The ‘One Village at a Time’ project remains at the heart of HYT’s activity. We are proud to be well into double figures, having trained more than 100 young Ugandans, giving them new skills, new opportunities and for many, new work.  We are now nearing completion at One Village 11 in Kayembe, where the training team is developing skills with yet more Ugandans, while transforming the local school, sustainably.


Water Charity Tank at Kayembe

Trainees here at Kayembe have had the chance to work on a water tank, classroom and innovative staff accommodation.


It has been a year of growth, achievement and excitement from which the team can take a great sense of pride. It has been a year of success. But there is much more to do. With your support, HYT will continue to empower more Ugandans and transform more communities in 2018 – and beyond.


Merry Christmas from St. Patrick

The children at St. Patrick Primary School will be getting a new library and computer lab this Christmas!


Season’s Greetings from us all.

Keep up-to-date with HYT’s work by following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.
Watch our exciting video, or check out our work at

Make it Rain in Mabira: Strengthening Forests and their Communities

Posted on October 13th, 2017

Mabira Forest Water Collection

It’s a long walk through the forest to the nearest water source for these two brothers.


This week marked the beginning of HYT’s latest project, and one of its most exciting yet! The Trust has partnered with Mabira Forest Integrated Community Organisation (MAFICO) and Australian benefactor Bob Sayer, to carry out a project to benefit both the forest and its people.


Mabira Forest Foliage

‘Mabira’ means ‘forest of forests’ in local Luganda dialect.


Spanning over 30,000 ha, and with more than 200 tree species, Mabira is one of the last large blocks of moist semi-deciduous forest in central Uganda. Thanks to its rich array of wildlife, including the endangered Nahan’s partridge, it is classified as an Important Bird Area.


But the forest is under growing pressure from expanding industry, with cash crop cultivation replacing ancient vegetation and polluting waterways. Firewood extraction further impacts local wildlife, and disrupts vital ecosystem services such as water regulation, nutrient cycling and carbon storage.


Mabira Water Source

Surrounding communities suffer along with the forest, as water becomes increasingly polluted.


HYT is introducing Mabira’s forest communities to the Interlocking Stabilised Soil Block (ISSB) which, unlike the widely used burnt brick, cures in the sun without the need for firewood. Local youths are getting to grips with the technology as they learn to build six 10,000 L rainwater harvesting tanks in regional schools. These make use of the forest’s abundant rainfall to give communities easy access to clean water.


The course is led by expert trainer Musa, who passed through the programme himself seven years ago. We joined him on a tour of the area to understand the current situation of its people.


Mabira Brick Kilns

Musa is proud to teach a sustainable alternative to these environmentally damaging fired bricks.


These kilns are used for making Uganda’s principal building material – the burnt brick. This involves firing clay from wetlands, which contributes to widespread degradation and threatens the habitats of species like the sitatunga and vulnerable shoebill.


Mabira Brick Makers

Until recently, the forest fragment to the right covered the entirety of this degraded wetland.


Each kiln of 10,000 bricks consumes fourteen tonnes of firewood, or three large, mature trees! The brick-makers we met here had sold their entire stack within a week. It is HYT’s mission to transform this lucrative business from an environmental disaster into a sustainable industry.


Mabira Trainee Irene

Irene is one of the new trainees, soon to become experienced in sustainable construction.


Last week, unemployed Irene Nakafeero was amused by the possibility of being selected to take part in construction in her village of Kizigo. However, she and two other trainees from the local area will soon become employable, environmentally-friendly builders as they learn alongside experienced HYT masons.


Mabira Kikube Primary School

Collecting water is a time-consuming and often dangerous task for the children of Mabira.


Within a few months of intensive training, the youths of the Mabira Forest region will gain vital skills to benefit both their communities and their environment. The water tanks will allow schools to collect water from regular rainfall, saving long trips to polluted water sources. They will also introduce the forest’s people to low impact building techniques, so that they can develop in harmony with, rather than at the expense of, Mabira forest.


You can keep up-to-date with Mabira and the rest of HYT’s work by following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.









Winners of the Ashden International Award for Sustainable Buildings 2017.

Watch our exciting video, or check out our work at