Development is the ultimate goal for our organization.
What people may not know, is that in our construction projects and our
work, we do our best to be mindful of the Earth as this is most
essential to long term and sustainable development. Explore some
of our construction methods and school features that provide major
developments to the schools in environmentally friendly ways.
Interlocking Stabilised Soil Blocks
Interlocking Soil Stabilized Blocks (ISSB) is a brick technology
that has existed for hundreds of years and is just making headway in
Sub-Saharan Africa. Makerere
University in Kampala along with support
from organizations like Good Earth Trust are doing much to develop and
promote its use. The interlocking feature to the Soil Stabilized blocks
was in fact developed at Makerere!
In the summer of 2009,
UNHABITAT and Good Earth Trust published a document promoting the use
of these bricks. They visited many buildings using the technology,
including, BULA's newly constructed St. Kizito Primary School! They
deemed the structure a model for the blocks' use and then used them in
the publication for succesful use of the blocks. This document is
The blocks are made with a a mixture of soil, cement and water
compacted with a manually operated machine. The benefits of the use of
these blocks are great and include:
Environmental – breaking away from the common practice of
firing bricks, the impact of deforestation and on the wetlands is
Structural The compression of the bricks creates a strong and
sturdy block. The uniformity and the interlocking feature of the brick
provides great stability to the structure.
Educational – Introducing this technology to the community
provides a new skill set while also promoting environmentally conscious
practices in construction and decision making.
Aesthetic – Building with these blocks creates more visibly
attractive building. Pride in one’s school has a tremendous effect on
morale and motivation in the community and among students.
During the construction of St. Kizito, we had
2 machines on site producing up to 500 bricks a day. The soil excavated
from the holes dug for the water tank and the latrines was used to make
the bricks. The benefits describted above were actualized in the
project as evident in the school's beauty, the skills passed on, the
productive use of soil, and the firewood saved.
Learn more about the bricks and groups out there promoting their
use at Good Earth
Children attending primary school in Uganda often have to attend
school well into the evening due to rigid examinations. During these
times, children huddle around a candle or squint to read their notes as
dusk falls. While the long hours come from a culmination of
circumstances, the problem of lighting remains a concern. BULA
installed solar panels on the school's roof in order to light each
classroom. Solar power use will be a focus for BULA's projects as
it is a way to introduce important amenities without imposing economic
hardships for the school or further contributing to the pollution of
the Earth. This is sustainable both economically and
environmentally. A win-win!
Access to water remains a tremendous problem in Uganda. Running
water is scarce and expensive and thus people must travel to get their
daily supply of water. Miles are often covered to reach the nearest
resource. Children and adults alike must make this trip several times a
day to maintain basic needs of drinking water, cooking, and
cleanliness. This is true on an individual basis and thus true at a
school. No water source existed at St. Kizito prior to BULA.
To remedy this problem at St. Kizito, BULA
constructed a 30,000 gallon underground water tank that collects
rainwater off the roof. this provides a direct onsite source for the
school, eliminating the need to fetch water and therefore freeing time
for the student's education.
In addition, to ensure a safe drinking supply, BULA purchased 4
biosand filters to be used at the school. These filters are simple and
affordable. Inside the concrete filter, are layers of fine sand, coarse
sand and gravel. As the water filters through, organic material is
trapped on the surface of the top layer of fine sand creating a
biological layer that removes pathogens and other contaminents. The
filters have been successfully introduced to the children's home as
well as the school and have proven to be a safe and effective