Posted on February 14th, 2018
Mabira Forest has been making headlines this week in Uganda, as logging continues to eat away at the reserve’s natural riches. With much of Uganda’s population still reliant on firewood for cooking, building and employment, there is a clear need to decouple development from deforestation.
Industrial agriculture has also polluted the forest’s waterways, affecting the wildlife and communities that depend on them. HYT has partnered with Water Charity to increase the self-reliance of local people, providing them with sustainable alternatives to woodcutting, and access to life-giving water.
The project, which builds on HYT’s previous efforts with Mabira Forest Integrated Community Organisation (MAFICO), centres around 6 schools. Here at Muteesa Secondary, young Ugandans from the local community are learning to build water tanks out of the interlocking stabilised soil block (ISSB). The beauty of this technology is its simplicity; the manual press, soil, sand and a dash of cement are all you need to make durable, uniform bricks.
HYT has selected 6 trainees, most of whom did not finish school due to financial / family constraints, to join the programme. They have already learned how to select and excavate the right kind of soil, and will soon start turning it into usable blocks, without burning firewood!
It won’t take them long to catch up with Mabira’s first team of trainees, who have been learning to build since October. They can now construct a water tank in less than a month, with each structure consolidating their practical and theoretical skills.
By funding the HYT training project here in Mabira, Water Charity is committing to more than just the provision of clean water. Alongside vocational skills, trainees are taught the importance of conserving their natural surroundings, securing futures for themselves and the environment.
Together, the two organisations are creating a generation of employable, environmentally-aware young Ugandans, here in the heart of Mabira Forest.