Meeting with Our Masons

Brick by Brick Executive Director Marc Sklar with our team of skilled masons Brick by Brick Executive Director Marc Sklar traveled to Uganda in June to meet with our staff and monitor progress on our many projects. A highlight of the visit was a lively exchange of ideas between Marc, Program Coordinator Max Ssenyonga and our team of skilled masons. Brick by Brick Construction is a for-profit company utilizing environmentally-friendly technology in the building of rainwater harvesting tanks, sanitation systems, and small-scale buildings. All of the profits are re-invested in our community-based projects.

A huge part of our success is the dedication of our team of masons. Traveling throughout Uganda they work hard to realize quality construction for all of our clients. After acknowledging their hard work, there was a lively exchange of ideas on how we can improve our company. Many of the ideas focused on worker health and safety, which has always been a priority. Since its founding in 2011, Brick by Brick Construction has had a goal, to build a healthy learning environment for Uganda's children, while providing jobs at a fair wage for our employees. We value the input of our masons and for the past two years we have been able to show our appreciation through our profit sharing plan. We look forward to growing our company together in the coming year.

Brick by Brick

In Uganda, bricks are made using the materials at hand. Fashioned from local soil and water, they are baked in large, wood burning ovens that dot the rural landscape. Deforestation is a major problem throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Positive Planet is starting its second Social Entrepenuereal Project. Utilizing environmentally sound appropriate technology supported by the United Nations called Interlocking Stabilized Soil Bricks, we believe that we can support an alternative to non-sustainable methods that are harmful to Uganda’s fragile eco-systems.

In the coming year we plan to begin a pilot project to test whether small-scale community managed businesses can be profitable. Our goal is to provide bricks needed for our many school construction projects, while investing much needed capital into the local economy. Stay tuned…

What Came First, The Chicken Or the Egg?

Saidat and chicks This question has been asked by children for generations and now the students of Hannah Senesh Community Day School have an answer. For the past three years they have been raising funds to support a sustainable solution to the problem of chronic hunger for the 800 students at Matale Hill Primary School.

In partnership with Mrs. Saidat Ssenteza, the owner of a poultry farm in the Masaka District of Uganda, Positive Planet has began a business venture that we hope will provide sufficient revenue to support a school lunch program at Matale Hill.  This is the first of several projects that we are initiating that focus on business-non-profit partnerships that invest in the local economy while providing much needed funds to achieve our goals.

Creative partnerships are a key component to our strategy to make an impact on the lives of Uganda’s children. With, a project that focuses on providing non-profit organizations and social entrepreneurs with the tools to develop and manage sustainable poultry businesses, we have found a powerful partner for changing the lives of thousands of students and their families. In February, after years of careful planning, we finally purchased 3600 chickens to begin our pilot project.

What came first the chicken or the egg? For Positive Planet’s Poultry Project the chickens definitely come first.

Books Sent to Sister Schools

It’s hard to imagine schools without books, but for the over 2,000 students served by Positive Planet programs this is the case. Now for the first time all of these children will know the joy that comes from opening a book and reading. Approximately 6,000 donated books recently arrived in Uganda where they will be distributed to the five schools participating in our program.  The books were part of a shipment that we participated in with two other East African non-profit organizations.  Positive Planet is working with our Ugandan teachers to establish libraries in each of our schools so that all of the students and teachers can enjoy this precious resource.

Positive Planet Meets With Rakai District Local Council Chairman

Girl with child During a recent visit to Uganda, Positive Planet co-founders Drs. Marc Sklar and Daniel Murokora met with Mr. Vincent Semukula, the Rakai District local council (LC5) chairman. In attendance at the meeting were also the chief education and communications officers. After a wide ranging discussion on the challenges facing the government in providing Universal Primary Education for all the district’s children, it was agreed that Positive Planet and the Rakai District government have common goals and that working together would be of mutual benefit.

In Uganda, the LC5 chairman might be considered at the political level of the Governor of a state in the US. We are grateful that Mr. Semukula is supporting our application of recognition as an Ugandan NGO.

Meeting w/Matale Hill Parents to Discuss Chronic Hunger

A recent survey of the head teachers of Positive Planet’s five Ugandan sister schools revealed that approximately 80% of our children do not eat lunch on a daily basis. Chronic hunger negatively impacts the health of our children and also has a profound effect on their ability to learn. Positive Planet co-founders Drs Daniel Murokora and Marc Sklar recently met with over 20 parents of our first sister school, the St. Andrews Matale Hill Primary School to discuss this serious problem. In a 2 hour meeting many of the difficult issues that underlie the problem of chronic hunger were discussed. Extreme poverty limits many of our parents’ ability to provide lunch for their children. The fact that over 50% of our children are orphans, often being cared for by elderly relatives with limited resources, also impacts their ability to fully address this dilemma. By the conclusion of our meeting it was clear that any solution would require full partnership with the entire school community. Positive Planet is always seeking creative partnerships to assist in the realization of our mission. To address this serious problem we are working with Egg Module.Org to begin researching the feasibility of establishing a small scale cooperative poultry farm. Our goal is to help create a sustainable business model which will support a school lunch program for the students of Matale Hill. For more information about The Egg Module, visit their web site.

Positive Planet Leads Trip of U.S. Teachers and Students to Uganda


After a year of planning and preparation, Positive Planet sponsored its first trip, visiting our sister schools in rural Uganda. Representing three of our U.S. sister schools 25 teachers, students and parents embarked on an exciting three-week journey throughout the physically beautiful and culturally rich nation of Uganda. Beginning with a ten-day eco-tour of the entire country, our hearty band of travelers withstood 12 hour drives over mountainous dirt roads to see Uganda’s breathtaking landscape while learning about the everyday lives of the people of Uganda. Visiting Uganda’s national parks we trekked the endangered mountain gorilla (over half the world’s population of 700 live in Uganda) and observed the rich diversity of African wildlife.

After completing a circuit of over 1000km we returned to the district capital of Masaka where we began the work, which was the focal point of our trip. In partnership with Ugandan educators from our sister schools, a three-day Teacher Skills Workshop was held attended by 26 Ugandan and 10 American teachers. Exchanging ideas and experiences, all of the participants discovered that there was much to learn from each other and left with a renewed dedication to deepen and expand our partnership to improve the quality of education for all of our children.

Teachers, students and their parents visited each of our sister schools where we shared our games, songs and dances with one another. As we ended our trip all who participated expressed that the trip was life changing. Life changing in that each of us was moved by the desperate conditions endured by our sister schools as well as the inspiration we received of our Ugandan friends to continue to build bridges between our sister school communities to impact the lives of all of our children.