HYT celebrates its first training and construction in Uganda’s largest Refugee settlement.

Posted on November 5th, 2019

Training Manager, Fred Koire lighting up the construction site.

HYT training giants Philip Yiga, Fred Koire, Mathias Kabaala and their team of trusted assistants have successfully pulled off one of HYT’s most ambitious projects to date. The team have worked miles from home, far from friends and family, in Uganda’s largest refugee settlement. As an organisation we could not be more grateful for the hard work and commitment the team has shown.

Our partnership with Mercy Corps has been a fantastic success, so much so that they have extended our contract to replicate the project in Zone 4!

This being our first venture into a settlement, HYT had a lot to learn. District, UN and Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) operate stringent control over activity within the region. Our partners, Mercy Corps, alongside our friends at the UNHCR and the District Engineers office have guided us through the various legislation and helped us complete the project.

A mix of Ugandan and Refugee youths graduated the training.
Graduation day!

16 young men and 10 woman completed training with HYT. Of the graduates 20 were refugees. HYT’s ‘train as you build’ methodology has proved a success once again.

Sunrise at the innovation centre.
Kiosk in the heart of the refugee settlement

The two roomed Kiosk will be rented out to service providers, giving refugees and Ugandans in rural areas access to products and services such as residential solar installations and microloans.

Meeting space in the heart of the refugee settlement
Meeting space.

The large open space shown above will be accessible to organisations for meetings, training sessions or events. Before construction was complete it had already been booked to hold UNHCR Shelter Partner meetings and training sessions with Gulu Agricultural Development Company (GADC).

During the project, HYT ran sensitisation workshops to over 150 people in refugee and host communities. The workshops were designed to introduce communities to sustainable construction practices and raise awareness about the environmental destruction associated with brick burning. Our trainees were vital in the delivery of these workshops, acting as translators and running demonstrations.

Refugee settlement workshop
Refugee and trainee, Cisco led the ISSB demonstrations during one HYT workshop held in his community.
Refugee settlement workshop
The workshops were a great success, drawing large crowds of all ages.

Following the training we were thrilled to find out that 10 of our graduates have formed a group, the Yoyo United Youths Construction Group. They have already written proposals to build a business around their new skills. HYT and our partners, Mercy Corps are committed to supporting this venture with expertise in business management, construction and subsidised tools.

Our graduates have formed a group that hope to win funding to construct housing for people with special needs.

There is huge potential for ISSB within Bidi Bidi settlement. HYT hopes to create a pool of trained masons within the host and refugee communities that can fulfil this potential.

Keep up-to-date with HYT’s work by following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Winners of the Ashden International Award for Sustainable Buildings 2017.

Watch our exciting video, or check out our work at hytuganda.com

ISSB Excels in Strength Tests

Posted on August 26th, 2019

HYT is well underway with our training project in the world’s second largest refugee settlement, Bidi Bidi. A total of 18 South Sudanese and 10 Ugandan youths are undergoing intensive training thanks to an ongoing partnership with Mercy Corps.

HYT Trainees
Day 1 of training in Bidi Bidi in partnership with Mercy Corps.

Planning Permission

In Uganda’s extreme north an environmental crisis is following its ongoing humanitarian counterpart. Trees are becoming scarce, the lack of forest cover is increasing the area’s vulnerability to climate change; exposing it to desertification and soil degradation.

In February 2019, HYT arrived in Yumbe with a viable alternative to the environmentally devastating burnt brick. Interlocking Stabilised Soil Blocks (ISSB) require no firewood in their production, far less concrete during construction and no transportation costs. Our innovative construction practices were met with cautious curiosity.

Introducing the benefits of ISSB to the District, UNHCR and Mercy Corps Partners.

The District Engineer, Settlement Commandant and UNHCR are responsible for construction, quality control and strategy within the settlement. They have the monster task of coordinating the effort to bring the refugee’s standard of living to an acceptable level.

HYT is thrilled that our training has 10 female participants in Bidi Bidi.
With the pressure on HYT to showcase ISSB technology, we had ISSB master Philip Yiga overseeing the project.

Passing the First Test

28 days after the first block was pressed, a sample was taken to Teclab Kampala, an independent material testing lab. According to UNBS(2011) the Uganda standard (US849), states that blocks must achieve 2.5 Mega Pascals (MPa) for dry compressive strength to be used in construction. Our ISSB blocks averaged 5.1MPa, this is the equivalent force of 0.51kg pressing on every squared millimetre of the blocks surface!

Blocks are weighed and measured before being crushed.

Not only have our blocks far surpassed the required strength, they have saved 16.4 tons of firewood that would have been used in an equivalent structure made out of burnt brick!

The first round of testing was a great success.
Specialized machines compress the blocks

This is a huge moment for HYT, in an epicentre of Uganda’s international aid and development activity we have irrefutably displayed the power of ISSB technology. International aid should not be spent on environmentally destructive practises when there is an affordable, safe and sustainable option available. HYT is gearing up to help NGO’s and government bodies make the switch to safeguard the environment for future generations.

Keep up-to-date with HYT’s work by following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Winners of the Ashden International Award for Sustainable Buildings 2017.

Watch our exciting video, or check out our work at hytuganda.com