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.


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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.

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