Report about the construction at Mama Kevina
Dear Dr. Martina,
I have the pleasure to report to you the progress we have made with the construction at World Children’s Fund Mama Kevina Secondary School. From the time I reported here to come and over the remaining part of the construction, I have keenly followed every stage of the construction that has brought the entire construction to this phase.
Progress of Classrooms/ Administration Block:
As you are aware this building was already half completed when you were here in May so we have been working on the remaining section. Finishing this section involved the following activities that I have personally witnessed:
- Mobilization of material, which included: Timber, poles, iron bars ,BRC, electrical conduits, maxi pans, different types of sand, aggregates, cement etc
- Mobilization of man power and machinery (concrete mixers, truck, etc)
- Preparation of the formwork (this involves carpentry work to design that formwork on which the slab is set)
- Carefully and skillfully laying of electric conduits
- Laying maxi pans
- Fixing reinforcement bars
- Fixing BRC
- Construction and preparation of the gangway
- Mixing and casting concrete
A combination of all the above activities brought about the completion of the slab. It was completed on the 13th of July 2014. We have to wait for a period between 15- 21 days for the slab to set before the poles can be removed to so as to start any activity inside the house. However, plastering outside and construction of the verandas and aprons is already in progress. In addition the septic tank for the administration/ classroom block is being excavated and the soak pit excavation will also follow. Doors and windows for the administration/classroom block are already wielded/fabricated, waiting to be fixed.
The Multipurpose Hall
Roofing the multipurpose hall was probably the most challenging part of the construction because finding the special timber we needed for roofing was not easy. As you are aware, because of the large width of the hall, it was resolved that we roof using Cyprus timber that is well seasoned. In the nearby timber stores in Tororo, Mbale, and Malaba and Busia, this variety was not available. It was sourced from Kampala at a high price because the suppliers were few (Cyprus timber is a rear spice and very scarce). Transporting the timber from Kampala to Tororo was a big challenge. This translated into additional costs, delays in the work, etc. During that time, the MMK truck had knocked the engine and was in the garage for a couple of weeks. We looked into hiring another truck, but the owners were demanding too much money, and the timber suppler wanted our timber out of his store so that he restocks his store. It was a stressful moment for both of us because it was putting work at a standstill. All the same the challenge was overcome.
Why the Cyprus timber was chosen:
It is a lighter type and yet hard timber so when reinforced/doubled to give extra strength, it does not exert too much weight on the wall. In additional it has natural beauty, is very smooth so that when a clear preservative is applied it still looks natural. It is durable wood.
The roofing of the Multipurpose Hall included the following activities that I witnessed phase by phase:
- Mobilization of the roof materials, Cyprus timber, mobilization of electricity materials, MK boxes, conduits, etc
- Marking and fixing of the conduits
- Cutting timber to sizes for rafters, trusses, struts and Purlins
- Joining them to form complete trusses
- Lifting and aligning /positioning the trusses
- Fixing the Purlins
- Doubling of the tie beams and the trusses for extra strength (the quantity used can roof two houses of the same size if used one by one. The roof is strong, interactive and smart)
- Applying wood preservatives (a clear wood preservative was applied so that trees still look natural)
- Beams and gable fillings
- Preparation and fixing fancier boards
- Thatching (fixing the iron sheets)
- Fixing of windows and doors
- Plastering of the gables and the inter house has already started
MMK feels proud working with RMF. They look forward to receiving their certificate of completion of contract from RMF.
My next observation is that MMK treats its workers with dignity, they pay them their wages weekly as agreed, and they feed them and transport them to and from work. I feel this is an ethical consideration that I must give credit. Other big construction companies that I have seen exploit their workers because they look at profit only.MMK has a moral fiber. Throughout this period no accident has happened at the work place.
Mama Kevina Comprehensive Secondary School was opened in 2006 with international financial support, and with the goal of providing both secondary education and vocational training. The student population is mostly from Northern Uganda where many children have been affected by ongoing wars, floods and HIV/AIDS. Many of the students’ parents were killed by rebels or AIDS which left many of the children as orphans; some boys had been forced to be child soldiers. Enrolled at the school are students ranging in age from 11 to 24, who attend secondary grades 1 to secondary 4.
Support World Children’s Fund Mama Kevina School with the following:
• Food supply for the students and staffs
• Support of the school garden work: planting of the maize, and now they are weeding
• Anti-malarial medication and mosquito net supplies for the students and staff
• Support the school clinic with other medications
• Payment of staff salaries
• Support computer purchases to teach IT skills
• Purchase of text books and other school teaching supplies
• Purchase of office equipment supplies like photocopier, printer, and office furniture
• Facilitate participating in community outreach and inter-house competitions with music, dance, drama, regional games and sports held in partnership with the Tororo District
• Support of infrastructure/constructions projects on campus