In July, Brick by Brick Uganda was awarded significant funding by the U.S. State Department through its DREAMS Innovation Challenge Grant. DREAMS is an ambitious partnership to reduce new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries. AIDS is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. DREAMS is responding to the alarming fact that, every year, 390,000 adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV— 7,300 every week, more than 1,000 every day. The 10 DREAMS countries account for nearly half of all the new HIV infections that occurred among adolescent girls and young women globally in 2014. Brick by Brick Uganda was one of 54 organizations chosen to receive funding through the Innovation Challenge.

Brick by Brick will use this funding to expand its successful My Pads Program to 16 secondary schools in the Rakai District. The My Pads Program is a 9-session extra-curricular education program for girls and young women on reproductive and sexual health, healthy life choices and women's empowerment. Last week, three of our senior staff, Program Director Alice Male, My Pads Coordinator Suzan Kyambadde and Finance and Administration Manager Prossy Nakayiba, traveled to Nairobi for the DREAMS Innovation Challenge launch. There our team learned much about the DREAMS Program, its goals and the expectations of its implementing partners. We met representatives of other NGOs working in Uganda who we hope to partner with. For Suzan and Prossy, it was there first trip out of Uganda on a plane. To say the least, excitement was the order of the day!

My Pads Program Coordinator Suzan Kyambadde

This month, we have begun the process of hiring new staff to begin to implement the DREAMS Program in February of 2017!


Alice Male, Program Director Brick by Brick Uganda


Since its founding in 2004, Brick by Brick has always depended on a small core of dedicated Ugandan staff and American volunteers. We have experienced extraordinary growth over the past six years. From a single paid staff person in 2011 we now have 10 full time employees working for Brick by Brick Uganda, and an additional 14 skilled staff employed with our social enterprise, Brick by Brick Construction Company.

With this rapid growth has come the need to build and strengthen the capacity of our organization in terms of program management, monitoring and evaluation, ensuring that all of our programs are well directed and that every dollar spent is invested wisely. A key part of our long term strategy is to rely on the knowledge and experience of our Ugandan staff. In the hiring of Alice Male as our new Program Director, we have taken a significant step in ensuring strong leadership for Brick by Brick Uganda, now and in the future. Here's what Alice has to say about this new opportunity:

What excites you most about the opportunity of becoming Brick By Brick's first Ugandan Program Director?

"By deciding this is the right time to have a Ugandan as a Program Director, the organization has shown it has trust and confidence in the abilities of Ugandans to effectively manage and expand our organization.... Brick By Brick is a prominent organization in this part of my country, Uganda. It has a good reputation and proven record of delivering development initiatives that are both locally appropriate and sustainable. I therefore consider it a great honor to head its programs. I am representing Ugandans at this realm of directorship - a call I find a great personal achievement. This opportunity gives me the platform to bring the Ugandan perspective to program development and management. It also offers me the opportunity to showcase what Ugandans have and can offer in the overall program development sphere. Like any other Ugandan, I bring on board the national's perspective and understanding of development challenges that can lead the way to birth solutions that are not only relevant, locally appropriate but also sustainable."

Where do I see Brick By Brick Uganda 5 years from now?

"I see Brick By Brick implementing programs that are:

  • Wider – expanded geographical coverage, reaching a diverse category of beneficiaries in large numbers
  • Deeper – implementing high-impact projects, tackling deep-rooted underlying development issues
  • Diversified – expanded range of interventions to include thematic areas new to the organization

I envision Brick by Brick Uganda as a national, strong and solid organization of experienced professionals that successfully delivers on its promises and commitments, meeting or exceeding project goals. We will be known as a lead organization championing staff career development, personal growth and development achieving this through a model  of mentorship, coaching and supporting staff to achieve their dreams as they commit their time, resources and efforts in working for and with disadvantaged, marginalized and oppressed communities. We will become the organization of choice for prospective donor organizations and development agencies looking for credible local organizations to partner with for emergency relief and development programs. I can see Brick by Brick Uganda in the forefront of harnessing and developing new practical, innovative and sustainable development interventions that are scalable."

Tell us a few things about yourself and your family?

"I am 39 years old, married to a loving husband who owns his own construction company. Together we live just outside the capital city of Kampala with our two beautiful children Samantha, who is eight years old and Samuel who is five. A Muganda by tribe, I grew up in a family of nine siblings, with five sisters and four brothers. I was born and raised in Kitetiika village located eight miles from Kampala. My late dad’s passion was to educate all his kids at a time when girl-child education wasn’t a priority in Uganda. This however, did not deter him since he took us to some of the best schools around Kampala; a move that paid off in the long run. Today two of my sisters are lawyers; one brother is a doctor, 3 of my siblings are teachers, 2 social workers and myself a  Public Health professional."

We are all very excited about having Alice join the Brick by Brick team. Thank you Alice, for your commitment to the communities that we serve together.

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My Pads Program Coordinator Suzan Kyambadde teaches students to make reusable menstrual pads


When Brick by Brick Uganda Finance and Administration Manager, Prossy Nakayiba wrote an e-mail to our Executive Director about the DREAMS Program it was on the evening of Good Friday.

"When is the deadline?" Marc asked.

"Tuesday, but I think we can do it!" Prossy responded.

For the next four days, including Easter Sunday we worked to get our 'Expression of Interest" submitted. Two months later we learned we were selected as a finalist. We then put together an international team, led by Ugandan grant writer, Margaret Namugamba, and for two weeks we researched and wrote a first class proposal. Two weeks ago, we received the news that we were one of 56 organizations awarded significant funding that will allow us to scale up the My Pads Program to reach 2400 students over the next two years. The DREAMS Program is a US Government led initiative in 10 sub-Saharan countries the goal of which is to reduce HIV incidence in women age 15-24 by 40% over a two year period. The My Pads Program is an innovative educational program that empowers young women with vital knowledge and life skills that can reduce their risk of HIV infection, unwanted pregnancies and dropping out of school.

According to UNICEF one in ten menstruating girls skips school for 4-5 days out of every 28 day cycle or drops out completely. That degree of absenteeism means means losing 13 learning days or 2 weeks, 104 hours of school every term. About 23% of adolescents between ages of 12-18 drop out after they begin menstruating. A study carried out by the Netherlands Development Association in seven districts in Uganda revealed that girls miss 10% of school days due to menstruation. “Girls with even primary level education are two times less likely to have had sex, while girls with secondary education are 3 times less likely.” About one-third of girls drop out of school between the ages of 10-14. Therefore an important part of any strategy to reduce the risk of HIV infection is to intervene early to keep girls in school and address any and all impediments to regular school attendance.

In a survey completed by Brick by Brick Uganda in 2012 among 139 girls in three UPE schools in the Rakai District, 78% reported using dirty old clothes or rags during menstruation. 88% said that they would not purchase Afripads (a locally manufactured hygiene product) at a cost of 12,000 UGX, 92% said they would be interested in making their own reusable pads at a cost of 2500 UGX. 34% reported missing days of school due to their menstrual periods at an average of 3.3 days per month. 23% told us that menses negatively affected their studies. We found profound lack of knowledge in basic reproductive health, with 96% of the respondents reporting they were eager to learn more.

In response to these findings, Brick by Brick Uganda launched the My Pads Program, an 8-week co-educational after school program focusing on reproductive and sexual health, gender equality and the promotion of healthy life choices. This program culminates in the fabrication by the students of a set of four reusable menstrual pads. To date this program has been implemented for 1000 students in the Rakai District, consistently demonstrating a 2-3 fold increase in knowledge regarding reproductive health. In 2015, we expanded this program to include a Training of Trainers component. This three-day workshop has been delivered in ten schools throughout Uganda with a plan to monitor program implementation in 2016 as well as expand this TOT program to additional Peace Corp Uganda schools.

Thanks to the initiative shown by Prossy, we will now be able to expand this program to thousands of young women in our district. You can help us to reach even more students with the My Pads Program by clicking DONATE

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Providing Educational Opportunity for Prisoners in Uganda: A New Partnership

Brick by Brick Construction staff met with Professor Arthur Sserwanga PhD and his team to discuss an exciting new project to build classrooms for prisoners at Masaka Prison. Professor Sserwanga is the Vice Chancellor of Muteesa Royal University here in Masaka and has a long track record of successfully advocating and delivering effective prison reform in Uganda. Partnering with Professor Sserwanga was recent Pitzer College graduate Ashton Hoselton, who has a background in prison education programs in the U.S. Brick by Brick Construction will be building adequate classroom space for the Masaka Prison so that essential educational and vocational programs can begin. In addition, we will be providing training and income generating construction jobs to the prisoners who will fully participate in this project. The prisoners will soon become students in classrooms they have helped build themselves. Ugandan prisoners at Masaka Prison have no classrooms in which to learn.


DR. DESIRE PATAULI Brick by Brick is partnering with Dr. Lisa Nathan of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in sponsoring Dr. Desire Patauli in his training to become an obstetrician-gynecologist. Upon completion of his studies in Uganda, Desire will return to Kibogora Hospital in western Rwanda, where he will work for the women and children of this underserved community.

St Tereza Primary School Construction Underway

Classroom Building Construction at St. Tereza Primary School Our construction of a multi-purpose hall with our environmentally friendly interlocking stabilized soil bricks at St. Tereza Primary School continues! Students and teachers will soon be able to study and learn in this new building. We expect to complete construction by November 1st.


New Classroom Building at Nakasoga Primary School A classroom and library building at Nakasoga Primarty school which has been in construction for the last two months was finished. The building encompasses one classroom for over 50 students, a library which can accommodate over 100 students and a storeroom. We are grateful for the partnership of the Nakasoga parents, who contributed 25% of the value to complete this project.


Health.MyPadsTraining.9.9.15 Brick by Brick staff Suzan Kyambadde and Robin Rentrope are traveling through Uganda in August and September to conduct 5 more My Pads trainings of teachers at Peace Corps Volunteers' schools. Last week they headed to Fort Portal to work with the teachers of Saints Peter and Paul Primary School - site of Peace Corps Volunteer Madeleine Oulevey. The teachers learned how to make reusable menstrual pads and lead engaging lessons and discussions about sexual and reproductive health. They even had the opportunity to inform teachers about good nutrition, especially foods high in iron for those students suffering from fatigue and anemia during heavy flows. And also about cognitive behavior therapy exercises such as journaling through worst fears, practicing deep breathing, and doing yoga stretches and meditation as ways for teachers to help calm students struggling through episodes of anger and anxiety.

These trainings are part of Brick by Brick's strategic plan to expand on our successful programs through a Training of Trainers model throughout Uganda. Thank you Peace Corp Uganda for your partnership!!

Providing Safe Drinking Water for Ugandan Students

Water.PEAS Arua Tank.22.7.15 Construction of two 30,000 liters tanks was finished last week at PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools) Akoromit High School. The school administration has commended the company for the way the masons are committed on doing their work. Two more tanks are to be constructed at PEAS Appeulai High school by the end of this week.

My Pads Training at Kyamaganda

Peace Corp Volunteer Mary Jameson at My Pads Training Today, we completed another My Pads training of teachers at a Peace Corps Volunteer's school. Thank you Mary Jameson for inviting us to help implement youth sexual and reproductive health and RUMPS sessions at Kyamaganda Primary School. The teachers were very receptive and excellent participants. We are confident that the program will help empower the students. The teachers also learned really engaging activities to use during lessons - thanks to Mary's Base Pack games and our youth development sessions.

HI PEP Program Up and Running

HI PEP Peer Educators We couldn't be more proud of our HI PEP Peer Educators who have become confident, well-educated, exemplary role models at SEED Secondary School! In their most recent workshop on Prevention Methods they exhibited a strong understanding of the subject material and comfort teaching. They have come such a long way from the shy students we started working with several months ago. Three Peer Educators have even volunteered to form a committee to continue the program next year!

Progress at Nakasoga Primary School

Brick by Brick Masons Construct Classroom at Nakasoga Primary School We have reached the wall plate level on the Nakasoga Primary school Classroom/ library block. We shall be finishing the roofing and plastering this week. The building has been constructed using our Interlocking Stabilized Soil Bricks which has made it look very lovely. The hope is that the library will increase literacy level at the school.

My Pads Program Begins New Training of Trainers Model

My Pads Training of Trainers at AruaOn Tuesday, Suzan Kyambadde, our My Pads Program Coordinator, and Robin Rentrope, our Peace Corps Health Volunteer, traveled to Arua in the West Nile region of Uganda to conduct a two day training of teachers for our My Pads program. Suzan and Robin have been working diligently to redevelop the training, and it turned out to be a huge success. Sessions included: building knowledge and skills to deliver sexual and reproductive health lessons; building leadership in youth development work; Modeling lessons - teacher practicals and feedback on lesson delivery; and creating an implementation plan for the program at school. These pictures are from the first day of the workshop.

Marketing to the Base of the Pyramid

Our team has been conducting market research using the skills we've gained from our +Acumen classes 'Market Analysis for the Botton of the Pyramid' and 'Human Centered Design'. We've learned how to best design and market products to appeal to and be useful to people making under $2.50 a day. We have interviewed over 50 women in the past two weeks to get a sense of how to market our My Pads re-usable menstrual pads (RUMPs). Thanks to what we have heard from these ladies, we have a pretty good idea of how best to sell this product in villages. We are hoping to make a small profit from selling My Pads locally so that we can expand our youth sexual and reproductive health and RUMPs making program to more schools in Uganda. Brick by Brick Health Educator Suzan Kyambadde Leads Marketing Discussion

Building the Capacity of School Libraries in Uganda

Education.LibraryProject1.AaronTraining.8.4.15Our Library Capacity Building Project Has Begun With a Bang! The preliminary workshop with multiple representatives from all 5 schools was a great starting point for the upcoming project. All schools shared their ‪goals‬ and ‪plans‬ for organizing and ‪integrating‬ classes into their newly developed ‪libraries‬.Education.LibraryProject.UMEA.8.4.15

Providing Clean Water and Training Students at Gayaza Vocational School

Education. GayazaTraining1.13.3.15.JBWe have begun training vocational students at Gayaza Vocational School in the creation of ISSB Bricks. In addition to supplying a sustainable water source in the form of an underground rain water harvesting tank of 60,000 liters (our biggest tank to date), we are spreading the environmentally sustainable technology of ISSBs for future generations!


Reading Makes a Difference

In every school community that Brick by Brick partners with, we have created lending libraries. This year we are establishing a Library Working Group to improve the quality of the five school libraries we have established. In each school, we will work with teacher and students to improve  their libraries, establish a Dewey Decimal System and ensure that all students have the greatest access to their books. In addition to establishing teacher-student committees to manage each library, we are partnering with Word Possible, which will allow each school to have an Intranet, providing students the ability to learn critical computer skills and perform independent research. You can stay updated on this project by following this blog and Facebook.

HI PEP (HIV Intervention Peer Education Program) Is Launched

Today is World AIDS Day. Brick by Brick will be launching a new HIV Intervention Peer Education Program (HI PEP) in 2015. Led by Brick by Brick Intern Jeremy Brecher-Haimson and Community Health Educator Susan Kyambadde, this innovative program will train secondary school students to serve as peer educators, promoting healthy choices amongst their schoolmates.Health.HIPEP.Training.2.12.14.SK

Cardozo High School Students Form Brick by Brick Club

Students of ‪‎Cardozo High School‬, led by Senior Dana Horowitz have formed a Brick by Brick Club at their ‪school‬. Dana learned of our work through her participation in her local chapter of ‪‎BBYO‬, a Jewish youth group. Over the past year, these inspired students raised over $800 to promote ‪sustainable‬ ‪‎development‬ in ‪Uganda‬. Thank you Dana, and all the ‪Education.CardozaBbBClub.11.11.14.MS‎students‬ of Cardozo High School who supported the Brick by Brick Club.