Home > News > Lizzie’s Story: Volunteering with Engineers for Overseas Development in Uganda

We were pleased to support Lizzie Tripptree, one of our Bristol-based Senior Civil Engineers, on her recent volunteer mission with Engineers for Overseas Development (EFOD) in Uganda.

Lizzie spent two weeks helping to construct Faith Nursery & Primary School, utilising her skills to create a drainage solution that would minimise water damage to the buildings.

Here, she tells her story…

“I visited Mbale in Eastern Uganda in January this year as part of a volunteering programme with EFOD. The charity focuses on developing young professionals in the UK construction industry to help alleviate poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa.

I got involved with EFOD in 2021 through the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), of which I’m a member. While I’ve volunteered for various projects and causes before, including in Asia, I was eager to apply my engineering skills to contribute to sustainable development and improve the quality of life for a community in a less developed country.

EFOD has been working in Uganda since 2000, and the Cardiff team have been working on Faith School since 2015. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they have been primarily managing the construction virtually until May last year.

When I joined, I was involved in creating technical specifications and construction guides for the local workers. Adapting construction methods to their manual, back-to-basics approach was a challenge, but we successfully continued construction of three classrooms with all communication done remotely via WhatsApp.

Thanks to recent funding, EFOD began sending pairs of volunteers for two-week visits this year. Paired with Matt Butler, a fellow civil engineer at Mott MacDonald, we were the second pair to visit. Our task was to assist in building ecosan latrines, eco-friendly toilets that offer a sustainable sanitation approach where traditional infrastructure is limited.

We devised a drainage solution using waste materials on-site, directing surface water to crops, which was beneficial for the landowner. By creatively reusing waste construction materials, we reduced overall costs.

Working with Matt was a great experience, and we collaborated effectively with the site team to find practical, cost-effective solutions.

This experience was truly eye-opening. I met incredible people, witnessed beautiful places, and learned valuable lessons. The new facilities will significantly improve the lives of the children at Faith School and provide a conducive learning environment.

I want to express my gratitude to everyone who supported the project financially, including WCVA | CGGC. I’d also like to thank Rappor who supported me during this and EFOD who continue to provide support for communities in Uganda and training engineers here in the UK.

I look forward to working more with EFOD and the team going into the future and can’t wait to get back out to Uganda.

More information on the project can be found on the EFOD website.

To facilitate the ongoing construction of Faith School and its multiple phases, we depend on the generosity of people’s donations. If you would like to make a donation, please visit: bit.ly/3ItGZld
A donation of £5 will cover the cost of a 20kg bag of cement, £10 will allow us to purchase a well-deserved lunch for the site team. Every contribution, no matter how small, plays a crucial role in making a positive difference and would be gratefully received.”