Posted on March 27th, 2018
8 months after winning the 2017 Ashden Award for Sustainable Buildings, the Haileybury Youth Trust has exciting news for 2018. HYT has been selected by Enabel, Belgium’s development agency, to teach Interlocking Stabilised Soil Block (ISSB) construction across Northern Uganda, from Karamoja to Yumbe!
The low-cost, environmentally friendly building technique will be taught to 150 trainees, in vocational training institutes and refugee settlements. Equipping young Ugandans and refugees with employable construction skills will transform their lives, their communities and their environment.
The first project takes place in Nakapiripirit, a town of three streets or so, nestled high in the Eastern Rift Mountains. HYT will be working with the students of Nakapiripirit Technical Institute, to construct a round staff house using curved earth blocks.
The project will make use of building techniques familiar to the Karamoja Region, including thatched grass roofing. The team travelled to the town of Nabilatuk to discover more about local approaches to this practice.
Two hours out of Nakapiripirit, the ‘chief town’ of the district, HYT’s field team was invited to enter a manyatta (compound), where a new hut was under construction. Here they learned how to thatch directly from local women, with varying success.
Particularly enlightening was the explanation that all construction materials are sourced from the surrounding savannah. This sustainable approach to building is something that HYT and the Karamojong have in common, promising a successful collaboration.
After meeting with the Enabel team and setting out the project aims and location, it was time to head home. The journey from Jinja to Karamoja and back is a long one, and full of surprises…
But HYT is used to that. Its own journey has taken it from the streets of Stepney to the banks of the Nile, and now to the mountains of Karamoja. The project, which begins next week, marks an important step on the road to sustainable development here in Uganda.