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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