Joel Odongo first contacted me over a year ago, asking my help to support him to make a Community Centre with bamboo and recycled plastic – Joel is a fighter, and strong leadership figure and has done so much work to help his community to have a place to meet together and create programs. Having been orphaned as a child and sponsored to go to school and studying IT in university, he chooses to help his community at a practical level in youth and women’s development. He has been reaching out to me to help with funding for building a community centre on the land that has been granted for their group – which will be able to support 20-30 family projects (30-50 people).
As we talked, and I found out more about local life in his home town in Uganda, I saw several things that may help in his community with everyday environmental health and help support sustainable practices. I am inspired by Joel’s passion and commitment to his community and have met several of the community members by video call. Please give your support to this project in whatever way you can (preferably financial) as it is incredibly difficult right now in Uganda with the Covid-19 situation and helping to develop this project could give a lot of people hope for the future – which right now is looking incredibly bleak and I can feel the increasing level of hardship each time I talk to Joel:
Supporting this project will enable Joel and his community to make a Community Centre building (so they won’t have to pay rent for the one they presently use – which has become unsuitable also as the owner wants to renovate the building) that will provide a hub for the Women’s Group and the Youth Group to base their projects from and enable the community group to utilise the 2.5 acres of land that has been gifted to this project by a local Korean business owner. Together the group have made their own bricks for the building and fired them (over 20,000 bricks!)
Joel and his community group (registered as TANU) – There is a project plan to develop a learning program for bamboo building: First bamboo needs to be grown on the community land Once the community centre is built, animal/livestock manure and organic waste will be collected to start a composting project to provide nutrients for creating a nursery where bamboo and other plants will be raised. Areas of the project have been planned out in stages – with water supply being in the first stage to access water from a nearby well through a solar pump that will provide water supply for the nursery and plants as they are planted.
So far we have made some zero-cost initiatives such as smokeless stoves in houses (wood is still the main source of cooking fuel in this village) and are traditionally placed inside the house dwelling which creates respiration-health problems. I shared about the smokeless stove model to Joel during one of our chats and off he went into his community and built some of these stoves in people’s homes. I then shared with him the method for making briquettes for cooking fuel (a charcoal made from organic waste) as he mentioned that there is by-product from maize, peanut and rice available from commercial farms in their surrounding area – and this was tried out as a trial product that could be made by his community group. Equipment is limited but some progress has been made and this project is still in development – in need of infrastructure.
We request assistance to fund the building infrastructure for this community project: The total amount needed is approximately US$3,000 and this is to buy materials for building the infrastructure for this project as labour is being contributed in-kind. Raising the building, purchase of solar pump, establishment of a nursery and watering system (vegetables, bamboo, agroforestry, re-afforestation). The group has members of the youth who are skilled concrete workers, carpenters and mechanics and your financial assistance is invaluable to enable the work to be done that will create life-changing opportunities for the people of this village in Uganda.
In the next 3-5 years following the establishment of this project, TANU will host education programs for other Ugandans – and also invite you to join their program to experience traditional building from clay using brick and the firing process for making bricks (quite amazing), as well as learn traditional weaving crafts and experience the amazing music of Uganda – which I think is going to be the highlight for Freyr when we can come to Uganda and make a bamboo-building project !! 🙂 Also Uganda is a primary supplier for Shea Butter and we are planning for how we could make a beauty product with local honey and shea butter that could reach the international market… that is locally owned by Ugandan People through this community group project.
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Your contribution is processed through Stripe and then sent from Natalie Davenport’s Bank Account Straight to Joel through Wise. You can also transfer directly through wise or bank transfer to Joel and contact him through email.
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Members of the TANU Community Group have made around 20,000 bricks to use in the building of a Community Centre and request assistance with material/infrastructure costs to raise the building.
The group currently has nowhere suitable to meet and times are getting difficult in Uganda… with funds to build this building, the group can contribute their time and labour to build the building and start projects to help raise income for the community and create livelihood businesses to alleviate poverty and sustain people through the pandemic period and beyond! Joel has recently recovered from Malaria and Typhoid and he looks quite different now in this video – his passion and dedication is mind-blowing.
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