February 27, 2015
By Dan Flower, Associate, HKS London

I’ve departed London for Uganda with our project partner, Engineers For Overseas Development’s Carmarthenshire group from Southwest Wales, to begin work on Citizen HKS’ first project – a new maternity ward in Kachumbala, Uganda. I’ll be with the EFOD team on site for two weeks where we’ll be presenting, tweaking and gaining approval for the maternity ward design from local leadership and the Bukeda District Council. Following a ground breaking ceremony and additional site set-up, we’re recruiting and training Kachumbala locals and, working together, we will dig the foundation, lay drainage and cast up to the slab. 

The project comes to life on my Tumblr blog: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/danjflower

The new maternity ward was conceived to address the high infant mortality rate in Uganda, still one of the world’s highest. The project replaces the existing two-room facility which was built in the 1950s, an entirely inadequate facility to handle the district's birthing needs. The project includes the re-use of two existing maternity rooms, linking to a new wing housing delivery suites and pre- and postnatal wards handling a minimum of six births per day. The layout is designed to allow flexibility and support future expansion. The simple structure, with sustainable design features, makes the most of locally produced and sourced materials, solar power, a rain catchment system and natural ventilation, all critical to the success of this project, which is located in a remote place where power supplies aren’t reliable and natural resources are limited.

The 220 square-meter facility establishes an envelope for initial funding raised to date by EFOD through a grant from the Welsh government – about $40,000 of a total $160,000 needed to complete the project. The EFOD teams arriving over the coming months will concentrate on constructing the super structure and pressing interlocking soil stabilized bricks (ISSB's) for the internal walls, prior to casting a ring beam and roof assembly before the summer is out. Construction of the shell is expected to last eight months, with a target on completion within 12 months, dependent on successful fundraising.

Citizen HKS, the public interest design practice within HKS, was established in 2014 to help meet the needs of 90 percent of the world’s population who don’t have access to and can’t afford professional design services. Here’s more about Citizen HKS: http://www.hksinc.com/hks-community/

My father, Ian Flower, founded EFOD in 2000, a non-profit organization delivering projects which improve the health, hygiene, education and self-sufficiency of poverty-afflicted communities in a sustainable manner. EFOD provides training for young architects, engineers, project managers and apprentice craftsmen by linking design and construction teams to projects in in Sub Saharan Africa. 

Click here to read EFOD project page.

For more information, contact Citizen HKS practice leader Ellen Mitchell at emitchell@hksinc.com.

Tagged Citizen Architect, Citizen HKS, EFOD, Public Service Architecture

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