Posted on November 28th, 2018
The Diffusion of Innovation theory aims to explain how, why and at what rate innovations spread through a population. First published in 1962 by Everett Rogers, it highlights key elements that influence the spread of a technology.
The technology itself, in this case, Interlocking Stabilised Soil Blocks (ISSB). Potential adopters will evaluate ISSB on its relative advantage, its compatibility with existing practices, its difficulty or complexity to adopt, its trialability and its observed effects.
ISSB, as an innovation, is very attractive to potential adopters based on the above criteria. In Uganda’s current environmental and social landscape, the need for a simple, cost-effective, environmentally friendly construction material is high.
In order for a potential adopter to consider a technology, first, they must be made aware of it.
Diffusion of innovation deals in the currency of information, how does information pass from person to person or organisation to organisation?
Explained verbally, HYT has met a certain resistance when describing blocks pressed from soil. People want their houses, schools and hospitals made of brick and mortar, not soil! It is only when they see an ISSB structure or feel a block that they understand that ISSB is far from a mud hut. Each ISSB structure acts as an advocate for the technology.
Refers to the external factors that may affect a potential adopters’ decision e.g. the media, government organisation or pressure from cultural norms.
HYT has historically worked with schools as there is an urgent need to increase Uganda’s educational capacity. The social system surrounding schools is complex. It involves teachers, parents, government and often NGO funders. Within the system, each group has opinions and different levels of influence in the decision to adopt or reject a technology.
Schools are often at the heart of a community: every parent is emotionally, sometimes financially, invested. Structures in schools are able to communicate the positive message of ISSB to entire communities.
The forementioned resistance to using soil in construction is a symptom of the cultural pressure to move away from mud huts towards brick and mortar. For 10 years, HYT has operated in this cultural system, our work speaks for itself and has left a wake of ISSB enthusiasts where sceptics once stood.
More recently, HYT has been exploring ISSB applications in refugee settlements. A complex system of government and non-government parties orchestrate development in refugee settlements. One of HYT’s objectives with our showcase project is to demonstrate the benefits of ISSB to these influential parties.
HYT’s success at the 2017 Ashden Awards gave HYT the platform to share ISSB technology with an international audience. The prestigious award has given the organisation a huge amount of credibility and lets larger NGO’s, government bodies and individuals know that HYT and ISSB are worth investing in.
Everett borrowed the term critical mass from nuclear physics. In this context critical mass occurs when there is a sufficient number of adopters in a population that further adoption becomes self-sustaining. Helped by our progressive partners and generous donors, HYT continues to nudge ISSB technology along the adoption curve towards critical mass.
Posted on August 30th, 2018
Wandago is an area 17km east of Jinja. Famed for its locally brewed alcohol, Waragi. It is one of the poorest regions in Eastern Uganda with some of the worst health and education records.
Turning off the Jinja-Iganga highway into Wandago, you are first hit with the heavy scent of Waragi production and the sight of fermented sugar cane bubbling in barrels over open fires. The second observation is the numerous children playing in a vast open space surrounded by plantations and traditional houses. In this space your eyes fall on a hive of activity: Children on the Edge in partnership with HYT are constructing a school.
Last week, we caught up with some HYT all-stars working on site and here they are.
28 years old and born in Busoga. Kabanda first joined HYT in 2015 on the 1V8 project in Kiseege. Since then he has worked on 13 different HYT projects in various locations. His favourite project was his first in Kiseege, he enjoyed the cultural differences, excellent food, welcoming community and learning new skills with fellow trainees. Before HYT Kabanda described himself as a peasant, his primary activity was subsistence farming. Asked what his construction speciality was he confidently announced, “all of it”, confidence is key!
30 years old and born in Butaaya. Micheal is a true HYT veteran, he trained with HYT on the first training program ever run in 2008. His first and favourite build was a dormitory in his hometown of Butaaya. Since then he has worked on over 100 HYT projects of all shapes and sizes. Before his training, Michael was a subsistence farmer with no monetary income. Like Kabanda, Micheal confidently claims that he is talented in all steps of construction, no preference over a single phase.
28 years old, born in Kamuli. Moses graduated from HYT’s 1V11 program in 2017, where he contributed to the construction of a rainwater harvesting tank, staff quarter and two classroom block at Kayembe Primary School. Since then he has worked 7 HYT projects. His favourite project is the ongoing Wandago project, he has previously been building water tanks and he is happy to be constructing using straight ISSBs, which he prefers. Before his training Moses was unemployed and had no monetary income, he would work the fields with his family. His favourite and most proficient area of construction is rendering. Moses also bears the great responsibility of site DJ, keeping spirits high with his playlist of Ugandan classics.