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Kathy’s Centre construction news

By Sarah Istephan, Marketing Manager

After months of fundraising efforts and meticulous planning, construction on Kathy’s Centre is finally under way! With the ground breaking ceremony taking place at the start of last month, we are pleased to report that the construction of our first health and education centre, in memory of co-founder Kathy Smedley, has been going very well.

EfOD North West have done a fantastic job with the design and construction work on the centre so far, and are keeping us well informed with regular updates on the building progress. Having been involved with Act4Africa in Kathy’s Centre since design work began in 2014, volunteers from EfOD North West are now overseeing construction onsite, employing local labour and sharing their invaluable expertise in order to ensure safe construction practices, both now and for the future.

A key objective of Kathy’s Centre is to educate and empower the local community, and through teaming up with the Haileybury Youth Trust (HYT), this process has begun with its very construction. The Ugandan organisation is committed to building better futures for local communities, and working with them will enable local community members to learn practical skills at the same time as ensuring a quality and safe construction process.

Sustainability is at the heart of Act4Africa’s work, and the equipment being used to carry out construction on Kathy’s Centre is being kept for future projects in the area. The Interlocking Stabilised Soil Blocks (ISSB) press enables more than 200 blocks to be produced a day, and a visit to a previous HYT project nearby has enabled the local workers to see the ISSBs as part of a finished building.

Initial excavations on the site of Kathy’s Centre went very well and the EfOD volunteers have been getting stuck in with the local labourers, sharing tips and tricks and even learning some themselves! Even though none of the local workers had ever used reinforced concrete before they have been eagerly learning about its benefits and how it is used. Such training as this and learning other different building techniques, especially with the ISSB press, will allow for future construction to take place.

With the completion of all excavations and foundation cages, as well as the production of over 3000 ISSBs by the end of the third week, there was bound to be a bump somewhere along the road! This came in the form of an ISSB press malfunction in week four, meaning that ISSB production came to a halt. The press was taken to Kampala for rapid repairs, and luckily not too much time was lost before construction was back on track.

Teamwork has been at the centre of things for the past few weeks, with representatives from Arup, Jacobs and 4way Consulting lending their skills and efforts to the construction process. Battling with the tough climate and problems with water supply, workers have taken these difficulties in their stride and are reportedly excelling in all tasks they have been set. Learning new skills under the supervision of both the EfOD and HYT teams, technical quality and health and safety standards are happily being met, and construction is running as smoothly as can be hoped.

Watch the latest Kathy’s Centre Construction Video Blog here.

We look forward to seeing even more progress over the next few months as Kathy’s Centre begins to take shape, and cannot thank everyone involved in the construction of the centre enough for all their hard work and support.

We still have over £10k to raise to reach our target to complete the final elements of Kathy’s Centre, including a fully operational Early Years Education facility, HIV testing and counselling rooms, office and education space.  Please help us deliver Kathy’s dream, we’re nearly there! Contact actnow@act4africa.org for a Fundraising Pack or make your donation here.