The Ugandan chapter of the Society of Jesus is developing and constructing a modern secondary school located near the city of Gulu, some 355km north of the country’s capital, Kampala. It’s a threephase project developed according to flow of funds from various donors, which include foundations and individuals in the USA, alumni of a college based in Wisconsin, and a number of organisations in Europe.

The school has been designed to accommodate 1 200 boys and girls, drawing students from the entire region and housing boarders. Also included in the plans are faculty housing, a Jesuit residence and two convents for sisters.

It is being built using the Hydraform Building System (HBS) and is now in its final stages, with major infrastructure completion expected by 2017. According to the Society, HBS was chosen for its comparative cost advantage over conventional building materials, its environmental friendliness, and its cost-effectiveness.

An important factor that influenced the choice of construction methodology was the need for the school to be environmentally and culturally sensitive. Hydraform soil cement blocks fit that profile because there is no need to cut down trees for burning in the curing process – that is accomplished with a combination of water and sunlight.

The main beneficiaries of the project are communities in northern Uganda, mainly the Acholi sub-region. The project employs around 100 regular workers, although more than 500 have been employed (both directly and indirectly) since inception of the project.

In addition, along the way more than 100 youths have been trained in block production, artisanal works, and electrical, welding and metal fabrication.

After the project is completed, the school will retain a small team that will continue to produce blocks for vocational purposes for as long as the two machines last. And, given the robust design of Hydraform machines, this could be for another 20 years or more.