Posted on February 2nd, 2021
HYT has built ten 20,000 litre rainwater harvesting tanks in the world’s second largest refugee settlement. The tanks will service over 22,000 teachers, students, doctors, nurses and patients.
During our 2019 partnership with Mercy Corps it became clear there was a need to increase water access and security. Despite the area receiving 9 months of heavy rain a year, residents struggle for water. The daily per capita supply can fall below 10 litres. In the settlement the piped water runs for a couple hours each day delivering safe water through shared taps.
Rainwater harvesting has huge potential to improve access to water. A single HYT rainwater harvesting system in Bidi Bidi can supply up to 240,000 litres of safe water per year.
HYT’s water tanks are constructed using locally made Interlocking Stabilised Soil Blocks (ISSB) which are more durable and cost effective than available alternatives.
Working closely with the government, UNHCR and NGO partners; HYT identified 7 schools and 3 hospitals in the settlement in urgent need of rainwater harvesting. The UNHCR and government have been extremely helpful and interested in the implementation of this project.
Using our tested train as you build methodology, HYT employed 10 new trainees to learn the ins and outs of tank construction. Many of the new trainees have experience building simple structures in the settlement and took to the work very well. In addition, our refugee graduates from the 2019 Mercy Corps training are going from strength to strength and will be snapping up management positions soon.
A massive thank you to our donors, partners, UNHCR and Ugandan Government colleagues for helping bring this project to life.
Winners of the Ashden International Award for Sustainable Buildings 2017.
Watch our exciting video, or check out our work at hytuganda.com
In the first of a regular series, we tell the story of the award-winning HYT and its ground- breaking work in Uganda.
Posted on April 3rd, 2020
We begin with the Trust’s recent project in Africa’s largest refugee camp, Bidi Bidi, northern Uganda.
Until a few years ago, Bidi Bidi was an empty tract of land in northern Uganda, occupied only by a few scattered villages, whose people eked out a meagre living in the swathes of inhospitable bush. Bidi Bidi is now home to 240,000 refugees from South Sudan who fled that country’s bitter civil war, at the height of which up to 6000 crossed into Uganda every day. Bidi Bidi is now a sizeable city, administered by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.
Led by Assistant Country Manager and Old Haileyburian, Ed Brett, HYT working with international NGO, Mercy Corps and its Mercy Corps BRIDGE project, successfully trained 26 refugees and Ugandans in building, constructing a large meeting space and two kiosks for trades people in Bidi Bidi‘s Zone 3. The camp is so huge, it is divided into Zones, each a small town, with up to 50,000 inhabitants. During the Bidibidi project HYT trained 26 youths in all aspects of construction.
The project began last May, when HYT recruited 26 youths (20 refugee and six Ugandan) who then had four months of intensive construction training, led by HYT’s outstanding training managers, with a special focus on HYT’s innovative, environmentally friendly building technology, the Interlocking Stabilised Soil Block (ISSB),
An important aspect of working in refugee areas is to include the Ugandan host community as well as the refugees themselves, so benefits are equally shared in what is one of the world’s poorest countries. Another consideration was gender balance. Like in the UK, the construction industry in Uganda is male dominated and so HYT was pleased to have 10 female trainees on this project.
In September, after four months of hard work, the trainees celebrated their graduation. The commitment and skill of both trainees and staff can be seen in the quality of the buildings, which were met with approval and appreciation from UNHCR and the Office of the Prime Minister. Most importantly, the refugee community itself was thrilled to have these new facilities in which to meet and trade.
The environmentally-friendly approach to building was also greeted with increased respect. Before the project started, there was some doubt that a compressed earth block, one that wasn’t fired in the local way, would be strong enough. Lab testing proved that HYT’s blocks are both durable and strong, as well as being a sustainable method of building.
The project saved the equivalent of 19.1 tons of firewood or more than four mature trees.
Following HYT’s successful project in Zone 3, Mercy Corps invited HYT to construct another meeting centre in Bidibidi’s Zone 4. HYT’s first project in one of the world’s largest refugee settlements was an outstanding achievement and paved the way for more life changing work to come.
In our next piece, we will tell the remarkable story of Cisco, one of the stand out trainees from Bidi Bidi and a refugee determined to make the most of his new found skills.