Posted on May 5th, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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!’
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.
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.