Traditional Techniques meet Tree-Saving Technology at Nakapiripirit

Posted on May 31st, 2018

Nakapiripirit House Construction Team

HYT’s first project with Enabel was the round ISSB house at Nakapiripirit Technical Institute.


As HYT continues to partner with Enabel on projects across northern Uganda, we review the successful completion of the first sustainable construction project in Nakapiripirit.


ISSB at Nakapiripirit

Trainees quickly learned to make and stack the compressed earth blocks.

Building Blocks

25 trainees from Nakapiripirit Technical Institute took part in the training programme, learning to build using the Interlocking Stabilised Soil Block (ISSB). This innovative construction technology, invented by Uganda’s Dr. Moses Musaazi, involves compressing locally available soil into bricks, which then cure in the sun. Manufacturing blocks in this way avoids the deforestation associated with the fired brick, one of Uganda’s most prevalent and environmentally damaging building techniques.


Max Leads Roofing at Nakapiripirit

Max leads roofing in the red helmet of an HYT Assistant Trainer.

Local Labour

The programme was led by HYT Trainer Eric and his Assistant Max, who first learned to use ISSB on HYT’s Kadungulu training programme in 2016-17. Since then he has worked on HYT projects in and around Jinja, 200km from his home!


Max’s hard work and enthusiasm have earned him the position of assistant trainer on the Nakapiripirit project. His knowledge of the local Karamojong language, as well as traditional roofing techniques, has contributed significantly towards the project’s success!


Trainee Roseline Collects Grass at Nakapiripirit

Trainee Roseline showed off her skills in roofing using locally available grass.

Traditional Techniques

Thatched grass roofing is just one of the ways that HYT and Enabel are encouraging low-impact, traditional approaches to construction. Grown in villages all over Karamoja, the grass stems are stacked in layers and tied together, creating a waterproof seal over the house’s interior.


The floor is made from a mixture of ash and cow dung, which is widely available in a society that revolves so closely around cattle. Regular application of these materials helps to cover cracks, in which fleas and sub-Saharan Africa’s infamous “jiggers” live and breed.


ISSB Training at Nakapiripirit

A busy site is the best place to learn new, sustainable building methods!

Sustainable Structures

The house at Nakapiripirit represents a perfect marriage of traditional and modern construction methods, tailored to the local community and environment. Trainees can proudly demonstrate a structure that took them fewer than 10 days to build using simple, innovative techniques and materials. The design is sympathetic to the natural surroundings as well as Karamojong architectural styles, and showcases both a successful international collaboration, and a truly Ugandan product!


Nakapiripirit Sustainable ISSB House

The house at Nakapiripirit is as East African as the Eastern Rift Mountains behind it!


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Winners of the Ashden International Award for Sustainable Buildings 2017.

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HYT Volunteer Callum joins the Trainees in Mabira Forest

Posted on May 25th, 2018

Trainee Tank Team

A happy team celebrates the completion of 7 tanks in Mabira!

A Tour with the Trainees in Mabira Forest – by Callum McCabe

During the last five months, much of my time has been spent working under the canopies of Mabira forest. This project has seen the construction of seven 10,000 litre water tanks in Najjembe Subcounty, and the graduation of 5 trainees.  Mabira has been a special project for HYT, as we have built our structures surrounded by what we attempt to preserve, the beautiful, luscious rainforest. Brick kilns line the Jinja-Kamapala highway, and are fed by countless trees uprooted from Uganda’s forests in the quest to build quickly and cheaply.


So for HYT, Mabira has been an important project. Through the work of our trainees, we have been able to work with pockets of the Najjembe community, and to show them an alternative to destructive fired bricks, as we strive to change attitudes and promote innovation.


Callum learns with the Trainees

Enthusiasm and a willingness to learn are key characteristics of HYT construction sites.


The photo above shows my first exposure to Interlocking Stabilised Soil Block (ISSB) technology, and my first day in Uganda. After driving through the canopies of Mabira forest, we arrived at Najjembe C/U primary school. This was where my adventure with HYT started. For the group of 5 trainees and trainer Musa, this was their third tank. After a short introduction from trainer Musa, who explained the basics of constructing a water tank, I met Erisa for the first time. As one of the first trainees on this project, he took me through how to lay an ISSB, and showed me the ropes before I was let loose, laying several under his watchful eye. 5 months and 5 tanks later, Erisa and I have laid many more blocks together.


Inside the Tank

Sometimes providing clean water involves getting your hands dirty inside the tank itself!


Mabira has been a special project both for HYT and myself, thanks to the fantastic teamwork of Erisa, Eric, Denis, Arnest and Kayiira. Over the last five months I have worked with them, eaten with them, and certainly laughed with them! Many of the memories that I will take home from my time in Uganda will involve these trainees. Throughout my time here, I have watched them grow as individuals in a journey that was facilitated by HYT. They have gone from youths with little to no experience in construction, to fully fledged sustainable warriors, armed with knowledge and practical skills in ISSB construction!


Trainees build the tank

Each tank went up more quickly than the last, thanks to the trainees’ growing skill level.


Our trainees are the most important part of the work that we do in Uganda; they are the workforce on the ground and, more importantly, ambassadors of HYT and our technology. While it is easy to look at a picture of a water tank and imagine the benefits to the local community and the school children, it is more difficult to see the impact that HYT has on the trainees.


Through our training programmes, HYT is able to empower Ugandan youths, giving them a practical skill and a qualification they can add to their resumes. I owe a lot to Erisa, Eric, Kayiira, Denis and Arnest, as they have become a very special part of my time in Uganda, but I have HYT to thank for our introduction, and for giving us the opportunity to learn sustainable construction skills together!


Plastering the Tank

HYT’s training programmes are informative and empowering, whether you’re from the UK or Uganda!



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Winners of the Ashden International Award for Sustainable Buildings 2017.

Watch our exciting video, or check out our work at