Goodbye Lily!

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Lily Kelly-Tarrant-001Today we say goodbye to our fabulous volunteer, Lily Kelly-Tarrant. Lily has been volunteering with us in the UK office since November 2015 and in that time, she has supported us on a huge number of different areas from fundraising and communications, to admin and events – not to mention our annual Golf Day! And not that we were counting, but she also managed to write 74 funding applications in her time with us – amazing!


Lily in a buggy-001Lily has been an integral part of the AR team for the last few months an absolute pleasure for us all to work with.

We wish her all the best as she returns to Sussex University to complete her undergraduate degree in International Development for what is surely just the start of a glittering career in development!

Thank you Lily 🙂




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Seeds At The Ready

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Newsletter 6 rszIn Northern Uganda, the rainy season starts in April. When the rains start, farmers begin planting their crops. For the pupils and parents involved in our School Garden programme, the beginning of the year is the time to reflect and plan for the next growing season.


Lujuro Primary School learnt recently that onions withstand drought and last season, they made £280 from selling onions. Over the last year, the 15 primary schools we work with made a total of £1,640 from selling school garden produce and saved an amazing £3,920 in their Village Savings and Loans Associations. We have high hopes for this growing season!

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School Enterprise Challenge Comes To Amuru District

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Newsletter 4 rsz15 of African Revival’s partner schools in Northern Uganda have registered for the Teach a Man to Fish School Enterprise Challenge. To take part in the challenge, African Revival’s Pupil Farmer Clubs develop and submit a business plan and get feedback, before launching their idea at school!


Newsletter 5We will give them lots of support as they design and set up their school businesses growing and selling produce. The challenge is a fun way for pupils to learn practical transferable skills in farming and business – as well as raise some income for their school!

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Meet Vincent!

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Newsletter 3“My role as Construction Coordinator at African Revival involves designing and costing new structures. I do the process of tendering, acquiring the contractors, taking them through the sites, supervising the work, checking quality, following up the payment process, and liaising with the District Government.”

“I enjoy the design side of my job and I prefer working with community schools. At Government schools you work with existing designs approved by the Ministry of Education. But at community schools, you come up with your own design, present it to management, present it to the District Government, and when you come out successfully at the end, you feel good about it.”

Our construction plans for the next 3 months include:

  • Raising funds for a classroom block, classroom refurbishment and teacher accommodation at Anaka P7 Primary School
  • Raising funds for teacher accommodation at Juba Road Primary School

Want to know more? Get in touch! 020 8939 3190|

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750 Children Catch Up On School

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Newsletter 1Last month, we launched our new Speed Schools programme with new partner, Geneva Global. Speed Schools is an accelerated learning programme for children who have missed out on a lot of schooling. In just 10 months, we will take 750 children through the curriculum they have missed during the first three years of primary school! This means that by the start of the next academic year (February 2017), they will be able to join Year 4 of mainstream primary school.

Newsletter 2In May, we’ll be taking a closer look at the programme with updates, interviews and articles. Watch this space for an introduction to our two new Speed Schools staff, Phillip and Lucy, and hear more from the children and parents involved!

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Our most successful Golf Day to date!

Posted on by Lily Kelly-Tarrant

The CourseOn Thursday 21st of April, African Revival hosted a another very successful annual Golf Day. Sixteen teams of four worked their way around the stunning 18 hole course at the Warren Estate in Essex, with many players also participating in our ‘Yellow Ball’ and ‘Hit the Green’ competitions.


Ian Clark 3

The day started smoothly as the Warren Estate staff welcomed our staff and volunteers to the clubhouse. Every effort had been made to make the event a success. Each golf team was assigned two buggies to get them around the course, and after some bacon rolls and a short introductory speech from our host Steve Mcpherson, the players teed off at 12.30pm.

The golf was followed by a delicious three course meal along with a prize-giving for the day’s winners – congratulations to Academy Insurance for the second year in a row! – and a live and silent auction. We had an array of excellent lots very kindly donated by our supporters, including a week in a luxury South African Golf resort, signed memorabilia by golf stars Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player and even tickets to see England’s football team play Malta at Wembley stadium.


Tony and David auctioneersThe only ‘blip’ of the day was when our auctioneer accidentally drove to the wrong venue – 75 miles away! Fortunately, our founder Tony Allen and long-term African Revival supporter David Rasche very kindly stepped in as our impromptu auctioneers and, despite their lack of auctioneering experience, were a great success;


With a grand total of £17,500, this year’s Golf Day has been the most successful to date!

the buggy fleetWe could not have achieved this without all the incredible people who supported us in the run-up to the Golf Day, and on the day itself. First of all we would like to thank the Warren Estate for hosting our event, and thank you especially to the kind and supportive staff who worked tirelessly throughout the day to ensure we had everything we needed. Thank you to Ambant who were our sponsors on the day. Thank you to all the teams who came along, and to the players who participated in the ‘Yellow Ball’ and ‘Hit the Green’ challenges – sorry the wind wasn’t in your favour!


Steve announces winnersA huge thank you to also the Utley Foundation (and to Neil Utley himself) and to Steve McPherson who was instrumental in the planning and running of the event. We would also like to thank Ian Clark. who has attended countless African Revival events and supported a number of our projects, for making such a good speech on the night. Thank you also to African Revival’s incredible volunteers on the day – you made it happen!




Prize table

Last but not least, we wouldn’t have had such a successful auction without the amazing auction prizes we had so generously donated, so thank you to all those who supported us with those; Steve and Liz Quinn, Tony Allen, Brian King, Kevin Munn, Academy Insurance, Steve McPherson, Texel, Supercar Drive Days Ltd., Open GI, Auto Protect, the Warren Estate, Mrs M P Codrington and Mr E A Codrington, and David Rasche. Your generosity was invaluable. And of course, we couldn’t have done it without our incredible last-minute auctioneers – thank you Tony and David.


AR Sign

As we tie up the last post-event details, we look forward to next year’s Golf Day and to welcoming back many familiar faces for another day’s fundraising in aid of African Revival.

See you there!






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How well-designed classrooms contribute to a quality education!

Posted on by Elaine Miller

The classroom environment can improve students’ academic performance by 25% according to a recent study conducted by the University of Salford.

CRB 1Over the last 10 years, African Revival has been working to improve the quality of teaching and learning at primary schools in Uganda and Zambia. We also provide facilities which improve access to education and are conducive to learning. Schools in northern Uganda were targeted by rebel forces during the 20 year insurgency by the Lord’s Resistance Army. School infrastructure was destroyed and many children missed out on access to education. In the decade since peace was restored, we’ve learnt a thing or two about classroom construction.

Vincent Komakech, based at our Gulu office in Uganda, has been African Revival’s Construction Project Coordinator for 3 years. Vincent has given us his expert opinion on the design of quality classrooms suited to the local environment.

CRB 2Orientation
Firstly, orientation of the building is key. Typically, classrooms are a long oblong shape with windows running along the two longer walls. Building a classroom so that the two windowless walls face East and West means that no direct sunlight will penetrate the windows. This avoids the distraction of sunlight in pupils’ and teachers’ eyes at the beginning and end of the day as the sun rises and sets.

CRB 7Durability and Insulation
Secondly, the materials used to build and roof a classroom should be durable and strong enough to withstand wear and tear over time. Classrooms are built to last approximately 30-40 years, but ideally longer before having to be repaired or replaced. Depending on the individual school, classrooms need to hold anything between 30 to 90 students at one time so buildings also need to be a substantial size.

Some government funded secondary schools are built with insulation to reflect heat away from the building, helping to keep it cooler and more conducive to learning. Adding extra layers of plaster to the roof can also muffle the sound of heavy rains which fall between April and September. Unfortunately, such insulation is not used in the construction of most primary school classrooms often due to budget constraints. This makes teaching and learning effectively that much harder in the rainy season.

CRB 3 ActualLight and Ventilation
Ideally, windows should be large enough to allow adequate ventilation and light. With no access to electricity being the norm at most of the schools we work with, natural daylight is used as essential lighting in classrooms. Air should also be able to flow in and out allowing for a breeze to pass through the classrooms, so windows are purposefully not fitted with glass. Temperatures in northern Uganda can regularly reach over 30 degrees Celsius in the dry season, so a breeze is keenly welcomed by pupils and teachers!

CRB 4Windows                                                           Where possible, windows should be lined with insect-proof screens, similar to mosquito nets but more solid and durable. These not only prevent small insects from using the classroom as a home, but also birds and bats which may leave behind unwanted debris and smells. Small animals may also damage the roofing meaning that is has to be replaced sooner. Using these screens prevents damage caused by animals, making the classrooms more durable in the long term. Windows should also be placed high enough in the wall so that when a student is sat at a desk they cannot be distracted by what is going on outside. Simple ideas such as this can help improve the focus and concentration of students in class.

CRB 5Walls and Floors
Finally, walls and floors should be easy to clean so that a hygienic and attractive environment is maintained. Vincent describes “walls that talk to the learning students” by which he means wall surfaces which teachers can decorate with posters, slogans and pictures. Doors with a strong lock should also be installed so that classrooms and their contents are secure when not in use.

“These are some of the features that I think are worth considering for a good classroom… If you have good classrooms with some of the features I’ve suggested, I’d like to think concentration levels would go up for the learners. The teachers will not have interferences with their lessons. That means the contact hours that are planned for each syllabus should be accomplished in time. It can provide room for revision, and remedial lessons. Most of the syllabus can be finished by say, the beginning of the third term, and you have time for remedial lessons and revision, then definitely the performance of the students should improve.”

CRB 6Many of Vincent’s recommendations are included in the design given to government-supported schools by the Ugandan Ministry of Education. However, many rural primary schools are not given any funding or support from the government. This means that their budgets for classrooms are very limited. Often classrooms will be in the form of round mud brick huts with thatched roofs. These classrooms tend to be paid for and built by parents, the PTA and School Management Committees. These buildings need constant maintenance and are likely to leak in heavy rains which makes teaching and learning more difficult.

Over the last 3 years African Revival has supported 57 schools in Uganda & Zambia in a variety of ways. In terms of construction work we have built 4 classrooms, 2 teachers’ houses, 4 toilet blocks, 1 girl’s dormitory and refurbished a library. We hope that with the generous support of our donors we will be able to provide more quality classrooms and other school buildings to schools which are seriously lacking in facilities. Some schools have such high enrolment rates that there may be over 90 students in a classroom built for just 45. With more well-designed classrooms, schools can provide more students with a quality education.

If you’d like to contribute to the construction of a classroom, or another school building, please do get in touch on 020 8939 3190 or





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The Toilet Question

Posted on by Elaine Miller


Everything you ever wanted to know about latrines but didn’t want to ask


What’s the difference between a toilet and a latrine?

A latrine is a type of toilet. The term latrine is usually used to describe something simpler and more basic than a flushing toilet.


Are there different types of latrines?

The most common type of latrine is a pit latrine. A pit latrine usually consists of a deep hole in the ground (the pit), a concrete slab for the floor with a small hole that leads down to the pit, and a shelter. Pit latrines are built away from residences and away from water sources, to avoid contamination.

_MG_1523A drainable latrine is a pit latrine that can be emptied. The walls of the pit are lined with brick or cement and the pit is part-filled with water. A pipe leads from outside the latrine to inside the pit. A cesspit emptier can connect to this pipe to drain the waste. With a drainable latrine, it is important to only drop materials into the pit that can decompose. Other materials will block the pipe.

An eco latrine enables human waste to be used as fertiliser. It separates solid human waste (faeces) and liquid waste (urine). The solid waste is collected in a pit where it dries and decomposes. The drying process kills pathogens, leaving it safe to use to improve soil. Meanwhile urine is collected separately and can be used in the creation of fertiliser. This kind of latrine is also called a urine-diverting dry toilet.

Which type of latrine is the best?

Flushing toilets are dependent on the availability of water. Latrines are cheaper to construct and can be used even during water shortages. But each type of latrine has its advantages and disadvantages.

rsz__mg_0124Pit latrines are the cheapest and easiest to construct. But a 5-cubicle pit latrine block at a primary school in Northern Uganda might fill up after 2 years. After this time, the school will need to bury the old pit and dig a new pit and construct a new shelter.


Drainable latrines are more expensive to build but last longer. A drainable latrine at a primary school may need to be emptied after 2 years. But as long as the walls are well built, the structure could last over 15 years until any major maintenance is needed. The school also needs to make sure pupils understand what they can and cannot drop into the pit.

_MG_1522Eco latrines are the most sustainable as they allow the waste to be turned into something useful. But eco latrines are still a relatively new idea. School communities need to get used to the idea of reusing human waste before they can begin to use them. When visiting primary schools in Northern Uganda, African Revival’s Construction Coordinator recommends drainable latrines or eco latrines. They last longer, they are safer, and they are more space efficient.


Which type of latrine is the most popular in Northern Uganda?

rsz__mg_0187Pit latrines are the most popular in Northern Uganda. In rural areas, community members can dig a pit, place logs over the pit to act as the floor, and construct a shelter with mud and a grass thatch roof – all traditional and locally available materials.



How much does it cost to build a latrine?

A 5-cubicle pit latrine block with brick walls costs around £3,000. A 5-cubicle drainable latrine block costs a little over £5,000.


What is improved sanitation?

_MG_2056Improved sanitation facilities ensure a hygienic separation of human waste from human contact. Pit latrines with a slab for the floor, drainable latrines, eco latrines, and flushing toilets all count as improved sanitation facilities.

2.4 billion people worldwide do not have access to improved sanitation (WHO 2015). This means they use latrine facilities that do not hygienically separate human waste from human contact. This includes public latrine facilities, pit latrines without a slab for the floor, or they practice open defecation.


What is open defecation?

Open defecation is the practice of going to the toilet outside, for example in fields, forests, sewers, bushes, or bodies of water, rather than in a designated toilet. Almost 1 billion people worldwide practice open defecation (WHO 2015).

When open defecation is practiced in a densely populated area, it becomes a major public health issue. Open defecation can spread diseases such as diarrhoea, intestinal worms, typhoid and cholera. It can also pollute water sources and lead to the spread of waterborne diseases.

Do you have a question about what we do or a topic you would like us to cover?


girls in front of washroom

Message us on Facebook, tweet us, leave a comment on this news update, or email us here.


Source: WHO (2015)


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We’re recruiting for a volunteer!

Posted on by Elaine Miller

We are looking for a passionate, motivated and enthusiastic volunteer to come into the UK office for 2-3 days a week and assist on a variety of fundraising and communications  based tasks. We are happy to be flexible according to your interests and what you would like to achieve by volunteering with us. Responsibilities range from:

  • Researching and identifying potential donors and sources of funding
  • Writing funding proposals
  • Transcribing interviews with project staff and beneficiaries (including students, teachers and parents)
  • Writing articles and reports to update stakeholders on project progress
  • Writing and scheduling social media posts
  • Assisting with the planning and delivery of fundraising events
  • Developing the trust and corporate databases
  • Providing administrative support to the office

For more information, please read the full role description here: Fundraising and Communications Volunteer

To apply, please submit a CV and covering letter outlining your relevant skills/experience and why you would like to volunteer with African Revival, to Emily Brewster at

Please note, all our voluntary positions are UK based, unless stated otherwise in the role title e.g. Fundraising & Communications Volunteer (Uganda)

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Why are community contributions to construction projects so important?

Posted on by Sophie Hicks

_MG_0185At African Revival, we always ask the communities who benefit from our construction projects to make a contribution. This can be either financial or in the form of labour and resources. But why ask for this contribution? Why is it important for the success of the project? In this article, we explore the benefits of community contribution and ask Construction Coordinator Vincent about what motivates parents to contribute.

When an outside organisation comes into a rural community to work on a construction project, there is a risk that the community members see the building as belonging to an outside agency. Often this means that they do not have a feeling of responsibility towards it and in many cases do not properly maintain it. They see this as the duty of the outside organisation. This can mean construction projects fall into disrepair and are not sustainable in the long term.

In order for the community to properly maintain a building, they must feel some sense of ownership towards it. Community contribution of money, labour or resources can help generate this sense of ownership and make a project more sustainable, as Construction Coordinator Vincent explains: “If the community make a contribution, the sense of ownership gets into them. In most interventions that have been going on in the construction industry, we realise that after a while the community still doesn’t own the place, even if you hand over officially to them. So we want them to own the latrine, right from the onset

_MG_0126This sense of ownership can be generated by involving the community members right from the start, by consulting them about their real needs, involving them in the planning process and asking them what they can realistically contribute. A community in a rural setting may want to contribute building materials sourced from the local environment, which costs them nothing, while a town-based community may not have access to natural building materials and may choose instead to contribute in cash. Whatever the contribution, it encourages a sense of duty and pride towards the new facility, as Vincent describes: “If they contribute, the community feels more ownership than when someone just gives it to them. So that means if the facilities are completed they will take care of it. They will try to see that nobody messes it up. If there is any burglary, they are willing to take care of the security. They rejoice at the end of the day that this is their labour, their contribution. They feel proud that they have contributed for the construction of a classroom, now their children are able to use the facility”
anaka_school_female_student_close_up_smilesVoluntary provision of labour, time, money and materials can also help to break patterns of dependency and passivity. If the community knows that in order to benefit from a construction project, they will also need to contribute, this can help to counteract a hand-out culture inspired by decades of free projects and facilities. Involving a community in the planning and implementation process can also empower individuals by giving them decision-making power over their own futures, as well as imparting new knowledge and skills – for instance knowledge about proper planning or new construction skills. All these factors contribute to the long term sustainability of the project by encouraging responsibility amongst the community and giving them the skills they need to properly maintain a construction project.

But what motivates a community to contribute? According to Vincent, it is a desire to see the best for all the members of that community, and in the case of school construction projects, a better future for their children:“Some may want their children to be in a safe environment. If the environment is good, that means the education is better. Most importantly, it is about the future of the children who attend the school. The community want to see a child have a better future. If there is anything that they can do, like development fees, like personal labour – that is the driving force that makes community members give contributions”

_MG_0172Community member Christine, a parent at Teddi Community School where African Revival recently constructed a new block of latrines, agrees: “We don’t contribute because of a penalty or a demand. We contribute because we want to see this school and community development and want to be part of that process.” At Teddi, the parents contributed 1000UGX  for each of their children enrolled at the school. They also signed a maintenance agreement with African Revival, which hands over responsibility for all upkeep to the School Management Committee. While we will always be there to offer support to this particular community, they are motivated to care for the facility because it has improved sanitation at the school, especially for the female pupils, as parent Sharon explains: “I was happy to contribute to the latrine. Now our girls have more privacy”.

Overall, community contribution to construction projects ensures the long term sustainability of that project, while also giving communities more authority over their own development and futures.



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