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Kumel School

Ngora District, Uganda


Build Africa, Uganda in partnership with ‘HYT Uganda’ (Haileybury Youth Trust)



Kumel Primary School, Ngora District, Uganda



June 2019

The Feilden Foundation joined up with Build Africa to develop an exemplar and sustainable classroom block by testing appropriate innovations which can be replicated. The project also aimed to help influence local government policy for adopting new sustainable construction methods in the local district.


This project developed into a three way partnership between the Feilden Foundation, HYT Uganda and Build Africa. Participatory design and a collaborative process was adopted from the outset, with the head teacher, teachers, School Management Committee, pupils and local council members all involved throughout the design and decision-making process including site selection, orientation and material choices. The community even mapped out areas for planting trees and went ahead to adopt new knowledge on usage of outdoor spacing by placing a tree trunk in one of the shaded areas to serve as a seat for community meetings.


The participatory approach has continued into the construction stage with local contractors associated with Build Africa receiving training provided by HYT Uganda on how to make ISSBs, and work with the blocks in construction.


In addition to the contractors, a team of five local community members, including one woman, underwent training in the use of ISSB for the construction. It is hoped that they will go on to use these skills to improve their own livelihoods and impact the environment for better.


Being Build Africa’s first pilot project using ISSB, the collaborative process helped empower and increase ownership over the project at all levels. Some of the project innovations were as follows:


  • Use and local training of ISSB saving cement, trees and burning bricks.

  • Improved natural ventilation and daylighting using pivot windows

  • Bespoke integrated hanging rails for displaying work, teaching aids, or fabric.

  • Papyrus ceiling linings to help acoustically and thermally from metal roofs.

  • Hit and miss ISSB to allow passive ventilation at high level.

  • Simplified mono-pitch roof allowing better cross ventilation and collection of rainwater into a 20,000L ISSB water tank.

  • Central outdoor classroom allowing for flexible external teaching and breakout space from traditional teaching methods.

  • Polycarbonate sheeting incorporated in the ends of the roof to provide good natural light visibility to blackboards.

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