This tuesday Erika and Axel from Architects without borders and the Design team of St Catherine Sweden visited the ABAR for the Swedish Architect association to talk about their work as “Helping architects”. Of course they talked a bit about the rest of the organisation too and the audience seemed interested and had some questions afterwards.

If you are one of the audience that din’t manage to aks your question don’t hesitate to contact katrin@stcatherinesweden.org. Maybe you are even interested in working together with us?

You can also like and follow our Facebook page if you want to stay updated!

DSC_1989

Erika Bergström and Axel Thorén presented their master thesis based on the work they did in Muhanga this autumn. The reviews where incredibly positive and we hope their work will be spread to many others, not only landscape architects.

We are also very happy to still have them in our St Catherine Design team even though Erika has moved to Gothenburg for an internship and Axel continues developing his design knowledge in other courses.

Their thesis handled children´s space in the Ugandan culture but also raised questions in a bigger perspective. During the work they also developed a student representative group in the St Catherine organisation that we wish to continue keeping contact with through the designprocess. These children practised both drawing plans and sections and building models during the work, which is very good for us to communicate.

St Catherine Sweden says thank you for great and important work!

We arrived in Muhanga on Thursday afternoon after a long journey on the Uganda Postbus. The road from Kampala is fairly decent until you pass Mbarara. After Mbarara the ride have more in common with a roller coaster than a intercity bus ride. Fun : )

Yesterday me and Zola spent mostly at the main school in the project. Zola went around the site measuring and trying to fit the image she has from the pictures we showed her. Me, I guess I didn’t do much work. I talked a lot with Rominah who is our local administrator at the site. The rest of the time I spent playing with the kids . The football and Frisbee we brought for them were very well used yesterday.

image

image

10 days left to take off now! I’m returning to Lund and hopefully the last pieces will come together before my and Carlos’ planes leaves Copenhagen. Carlos goes first, the 1st and I 5th. 

I’ve been working on an uppgraded version of the website with my cousin so now we actually have our own theme called St catherine. It will probably not come in use before I leave but everything good is worth to wait for…

/Katrin

On Sunday St Catherine Sweden travels down to Uganda again. The trip is made by Robert, who will work together with the organisation in Uganda to further develop and extend the work being carried out at the project. With him is Zola, who will concentrate of solving what we have started to call “The water problem”. Which include taming the heavy floods during the rainy season but also study the feasibility of a water harvesting solution. Zola will write her master thesis in water resource management based on this work.

We will try to update the blog with pictures and stories as often as possible while being down there. So keep tuned in.

For those of you who want to support our work, and our trip, you can become a one-time, or a monthly contributor here. It is of course possible to designate donations to specific purposes. Just send us an email with your request.

fortnox_medium

We are superhappy that Fortnox have decided to sponsor our autogiroprogram. It means we can finally start collecting monthly donations from all you generous supporters and every krona, dollar or Ugandan shilling will go straight to the project. Everything will soon be set up!

Short info about Fortnox a company that offers different kinds of administrative software solutions run over internet. Fits for example companies and organisations like ours since we work from different places. Find out more on their website www.fortnox.se.

Today, one of the main challenges in St. Catherine Vocational Development is the soil erosion problem along the hillside of the site due to the heavy rainfall periods. As a result, erosion has been common on the slope for a long time causing major problems such as:  uncontrolled running rainwater down the slope, eroded hillside exposing the roots of trees, and major damages to the existing buildings due to mudslide. In parallel to the first building design phase, we decided to develop a soil reinforcement system in order to mitigate the erosion problems today and in the future.

During the workshop, we focused on exploring and developing retaining ideas for the sloped condition. For the workshop, the team brought inspirational material from their research tasks for discussion. Material from our study visit to Uganda concerning local solutions to erosion problems and other research were discussed and analysed, leading to discussion of several retaining wall ideas such as; vegetated retaining wall systems that uses native plant roots to provide a low tech solution to slope management; water catchment systems to control and deviate the water from the slope while creating water features; and accessibility, is the slope accessible? can you make cross paths?  This runs in line with the accessibility design guidelines that are required for building construction in Uganda.

Overall, the team did awesome by bringing several issues which facilitated the discussion and further development of different suggestions which envisioned concepts with the use and support of the complementary material. It was also a learning experience to most of us as we are trying to share a common understanding of the site conditions and its challenges among the project participants. The purpose of the workshop was to develop further understanding of the slopped condition of the site, its challenges and opportunities,  not to mention the  learning of technical terminology in the representing languages including: Chinese, Swedish, English and Spanish!

 

Warming up for discussion

Warming up for discussion

Team in action

Team in action

Zola and Wendy in action

Zola and Wendy in action

In action

In action

Wendy sketching

Wendy sketching

The team putting the site plans together

The team putting the site plans together

Pinning up for discussion

Pinning up for discussion

Discussing technical terminology in Chinese

Discussing technical terminology in Chinese

Ricky teaching us some Swedish

Ricky teaching us some Swedish

Wendy translating to Chinese

Wendy translating to Chinese

Katrin translating to Svenska

Katrin translating to Svenska

Zola in action

Zola making the last touches

Ricky working on a section while having a good time!

Ricky working on a section while having a good time!

Ricky is almost done!

Ricky is almost done!

Zola presenting her suggestion for water catchment.

Zola presenting her suggestion for water catchment

Wendy explaining a concept for water controling

Wendy explaining a concept for water controling

Ricky discussing a suggestion for the foundation system

Ricky discussing a suggestion for the foundation system

Katrin motivating on the suggested idea for the foundation system

Katrin motivating on the suggested idea for the foundation system

Carlos motivating a suggestion for the slope

Carlos motivating a suggestion for the slope

All suggestions and ideas compiled up!

All suggestions and ideas compiled up!

 

The eroded hillside exposes tree roots.

The eroded hillside exposes tree roots.

The erosion problem affect the existing buildings on site today.

The erosion problem affect the existing buildings on site today.

 

Carlos and Katrin presented seperate examples of what we could bild as the first stage of the Resource Centre in Muhanga.

St Catherine 8maj 022 tummen uppKatrin presenterar Carlos presentation

It made everyone in the group realize how important it is to secure the steep slope from mudslides when the rainy season comes. The discussion really took off and we look forward to start working closer together with watersystems, construction and designing spaces for the functions needed.

katrinalnarp

This Friday we took part in the day of landscape architecture in Alnarp. Katrin held a presentation in only 6 minutes and 40 seconds about our work, mostly focusing on the design team’s work with  Participatory Design and how we built a swing together this summer.

Our sister organisation, CAVODE, who is dedicated at helping the community in the area around Muhanga, Uganda, has started to educate the parents to children who is enrolled in the primary schools which is run under the patronage of CAVODE. The purpose is to provide the parents with skills in order to enable income generating activities.

One of the projects, started in November 2013, is to facilitate mushroom culturing. Each school in the project received 10 packets of mushroom seeds in order to start up culturing projects with the parents.
Romina who is the administrator sent out some pictures from the projects we want to share.

One of the key challenges has been that the parents do not usually have any suitable shed or house in which the mushrooms can be cultivated. Efforts are being made to find funding to have a shared small house in connection with each school in the project, dedicated for the agricultural activities.
If you are interested to hear more about this project do not hesitate to contact us.