Mountains of the Moon University has been a core Local Community Partner in Fort Portal since OBAAT's foudning. It was a natural partner with its commitment to delivering meaningful programmes and courses for the people of the Rwenzori region and beyond.
The university was aiming to relocate to a new campus on land it owned at Lake Saaka due to the Fort Portal campus being both too small and too expensive in terms of rent. In 2010, funding was secured from Mission Cara in Ireland in conjunction with the Voluntary Missionary Movement to construct a Public Health Department at the new campus which will be used to train health sector staff as well as providing a clinic for the local community. OBAAT was asked if we could also contribute and fundraising activities commenced in the UK in the same year.
The sheer scale of this project demanded that our team take a fresh approach to delivery and so we divided the project into three overlapping phases.
OBAAT site manager Rob Davies established a local team drawn from previous training programme participants to complete the foundations, floors and aprons on the already present shell.
Phase II: OBAAT coordinated with sub contractors to roof the building and render the exterior.
Phase II: The third phase was comprised of our training programme involving 32 trainees from St Joseph’s Technical Institute and our dedicated team coming from the UK drawn from Chester & District Housing Trust, Liverpool Hope University, Seddon Construction Ltd and our new partner Wulvern Housing Trust. The team delivered the health centre's floors, access ramps, steps, plastering, ceilings, windows, doors an verandas.
The training project
It was very rewarding to see the UK volunteers, OBAAT's core team and the apprentices gelling and becoming one team. They remained driven throughout and enjoyed working with each other. The key skills in Bricklaying, Concreting & Plastering (BCP) were practiced and perfected with the assistance of our volunteers. Teachers from St. Joseph's were also on hand to assist and evaluate for the duration of the scheme and real improvements in the level of craftsmanship were observed.
For the first time, to complement the Health & Safety course we offer at the college prior to each project, we also involved the trainees in daily on-site risk assessments ensuring that all participants were collectively responsible for the safety of the team.
Our scholarship programme continues to evolve in line with the feedback from their institution and Assistant Programme Coordinator John Kule will continue to follow their results in national examinations to ensure that we achieve and learn as much as possible from the whole experience.