[Johannesburg, 26 January 2017]: In 2010, a landslide in rural Bududa in eastern Uganda resulted in some 2000 people being displaced, after which the government resolved to relocate survivors to areas where access to relief supplies, health services and education facilities would be easy.
In response to this tragedy, the Office of the Prime Minister of the Government of Uganda contracted Hydraform International to build 60 low cost homes with the involvement of the community in Kiryandongo, where some of the displaced people have been settled.
The Bududa project, which was implemented over 11 months from December 2014 to November 2015, is an example of the Government of Uganda's multi-faceted strategy around housing delivery. The project's directive was not only to deliver low cost homes, but to do this in such a way as to empower the community through skills development and local participation.
Nazlie Dickson, Sales and Marketing Director for Hydraform remarks, "The directive of the Government of Uganda to deliver these low cost homes, but with an emphasis on community building as well, meant that Hydraform was a great fit for this project. The Hydraform Building System, along with the training we have on offer, can be put to use to build all types of projects, but this project highlights that it is especially well suited to empowering rural communities with both a sense of ownership of their own homes as well as with skills that make a long-term economic impact."
Building a community
Hydraform machinery was taken to site, where the community were taught both to use the Hydraform Interlocking Building System as well as build with the end product. Comments Dickson, "The Hydraform system, including both the blockmaking and construction, boasts a high ratio (over 60%) of value-added to total gross outlay. This means that a high percentage of the gross outlay for the project was available to pay wages and salaries – a double benefit to the community."
Three mini blockyards were set up and a site office was built. Block production was eventually ramped up to 9000 per day. This was made possible with extra shifts and a steady supply of all necessary materials and inputs, like murram, tools, water (supplied via a water tanker), cement (230 bags daily), all put in place to achieve the daily production requirement.
Hydraform built 60 single stance pit latrines and each house had a 1000 litre rain water harvesting system installed. The site office is currently being used as a community centre now that the project is finished.
Making an impact
Making use of the Hydraform system, the Bududa project saw a great number of positive impacts that arose not only once the project was completed, but during its construction.
As construction on the Bududa project commenced, skilled employment opportunities in the line of construction work, equipment operation, plumbing and carpentry became available, creating work opportunities for people living in the area and great motivation for people unskilled in construction and related professions to take an interest and learn a trade. The local ladies also earned money by bringing water onto site and helping with supplying the workers with lunch.
Furthermore, the Bududa project also relied on services and products procured locally. Construction materials, labour as well as transportation of goods from source to site were provided by people in the community as far as possible. Some products were sourced directly from the manufacturers, but more than 65% of them were purchased from local businesses.
The infrastructure provided to the project, such as roads, borehole rehabilitation and other access routes, laid the foundation for improved accessibility for trucks during harvest seasons, making agriculture in the area less challenging and more productive.
Building a local economy
A lasting consequence of the Bududa project was that construction workers, who generally lived close to the site, would spend a notable portion of their wages in the local community, therefore benefiting local businesses, which in turn could employ more people from the area and purchase more stock from other local concerns.
Furthermore, the residents' involvement in the construction of their own homes has instilled in them a sense of pride in where they live. This will, in turn, extend to a sense of responsibility to take good care of their homes and to engage in economic activities, like the purchase of goods and services, to complement them. These self-started initiatives, like landscaping or extensions encourage other members of the community to do the same, resulting in an uplifted community, social stability and even a reduction in crime.
The Bududa housing project is a government initiative that has delivered more than housing. The project's economic impact has gone beyond the final stages of construction and is projected to make a real economic impact on its beneficiaries far into the future. "It is initiatives such as this that strike a chord with Hydraform, because the intention set out by the Government of Uganda in delivering more than just homes is well aligned with our inherent values. The Hydraform Building System is built on training, skills development and on building localised legacies. Along with the Government of Uganda, the people of Bududa, who have taken action to reverse their displacement, we have helped built a project in service of its people, one that will give back for years to come," concludes