Posted on February 12th, 2020
We are pleased to send 2020 Greetings from our teams in Uganda and the UK, thanking you for your wonderful support. We also hope that this year is as successful for HYT as last year was.
We thought you would like to see some highlights, starting with how HYT is meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Bidi Bidi: Africa’s largest refugee settlement
It has been inspiring to work among some of the world’s most vulnerable people in the continent’s largest camp for refugees. As a partner with the brilliant NGO, Mercy Corps, HYT took its successful One Village at a Time scheme of ‘train as you build’ to Bidi Bidi, home to nearly a quarter of million South Sudanese refugees. The results were impressive.
Led by Assistant Country Manager Ed Brett and HYT operations manager Philip Yiga, HYT trained 26 refugees and local Ugandans in our innovative building technology (the Interlocking Stabilised Soil Block).
The result was these excellent buildings (above): a training centre and meeting area, and three kiosks for refugee traders. HYT’s environmentally-friendly approach to building is especially important in huge settlements such as Bidibidi, where environmental protection is critical.
How HYT meets Sustainable Development Goals
Such was the success of the first project in Bidibidi, HYT was asked to do more building in another part of the camp, using our recently trained ‘graduates.’ Our work has attracted both praise and interest , including from the UNHCR and Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda.
Cisco fled the civil war in South Sudan in July 2016, travelling for a week with his aunt before arriving at Bidi Bidi. Before becoming an HYT trainee, Cisco had been looking for work in Bidi Bidi for three years. When asked what the HYT training had done for him, Cisco said that he had become an ‘entirely different man’ and called the HYT training team as ‘great’. Cisco’s new life has been transformed by being part of our training programme and he is now working on more projects, bringing in an income for both himself and his aunt. He is also a champion for HYT and the opportunities for other refugees that our training and building programmes provides.
Harvesting rainwater and storing it in water tanks in schools is still a great way to meet basic humanitarian needs in a country like Uganda. The rains did come last year – in tank fulls! – and HYT was able to provide hundreds of children with clean water at their school for the first time.
Clean water and good sanitation are essential to health and hygiene in schools and HYT’s water tanks are proving popular all over the country, as they are good value and durable, as well as being a brilliant carbon-saving alternative to the more commonly found plastic tanks. School children no longer have to make long and sometimes risky journeys to collect water from other sources.
Working with others – for others!
It has been great working with other excellent charities too, helping them achieve their goals in 2019.
HYT worked with Build Africa in Kumel Primary School and Edith’s Home both in the north of Uganda. Working with Build Africa, HYT built a two-classroom block with an open learning area, as well as a 20,000 litre rainwater tank.
Also in the north, the inspiring Edith’s Home supports Child Headed Families, where whole families are brought up by children, who themselves are orphans. HYT has done what it does best: training young people in construction, while at the same time building an office and meeting space for the Child Headed Family team.
HYT was again pleased to work with our friend and supporter, Peter Bond, in continuing to transform RAVO (Refuge for Aids Victims and Orphans) in the eastern Mayuge District.
The result of this year’s collaboration was a beautiful classroom block. These before and after photos show what a difference HYT makes to a school – without costing the earth.
People and Places
HYT has worked hard at developing the skills of its teams and in encouraging our talented masons and managers to be ambitious in what they can achieve with HYT.
Erisa for example, started life as a trainee mason with HYT in 2017 during our partnership with the Water Charity in Mabira forest. Since those days, Erisa has worked on 11 water tanks in partnership with Lunch 4 Learning, a 3 classroom block at RAVO, both Mercy Corps projects in Bidi Bidi and is now training to be a manager himself. Nothing gives us greater pleasure than to see our trainees rise through the ranks and become skilled, professional artisans and trainers themselves.
Assistant Country Manager, Ed Brett, has taken up a new role in the far north, where he will manage HYT’s work with the South Sudanese and Congolese refugee communities, and where HYT has opened a second office.
Lunch 4 Learning
Working with UK charity Lunch 4 Learning, HYT has built kitchens in 15 schools in the Jinja and Kamuli districts, using our environmentally-friendly building technology. School kitchens are usually smoky and unhygienic, producing poor quality food. HYT’s simple kitchens make use of fuel-efficient stoves, reducing the amount of firewood needed, and are healthier for cooks and hungry children. No wonder they are popular!
None of what HYT does is possible without the support of our friends, donors and supporters. The UK and Ugandans teams are all really grateful for your interest. So too are the thousands of children, refugees and their families, for whom HYT is making a life-changing difference. With your support, we look forward to doing more this year and beyond.
Thank you so much.