Ghetto Research Lab
In Kampala’s Lost City, an informal ghetto beneath the power lines running between two neighborhoods in Uganda’s capital city, people are forced to confront many of humanity’s toughest challenges.
Shack homes have emerged on top of piles of trash.
Yet, food does not grow on trash.
Proper sanitation can’t be built on trash.
Diseases spread when flooding combines with trash.
It is in this unstable environment where a collective of local youths, proudly named the Ghetto Research Team, have joined together to incubate ideas and solutions that can solve many of the problems facing their own vulnerable community.
Ghetto Research Lab, established by Patrick Mavo, a teacher and farmer who believed that learning belonged in the ghetto.
Having observed environmental degradation, rising plastic waste and deteriorating hygiene, GRL launched projects such as Bottle Bricks and a zero cost aquaponics system. The GRL team also introduced Permaculture Organic Farming to the community, where crops are grown in sacks without fertilisers or other chemicals. GRL members are part of the You&I Foundation, where they learn to develop and scale their ideas, projects that help to address Uganda’s 80% youth unemployment rate through training and job creation while also improving hygiene and public health challenges, and changing the outlook of ghetto youth.
Bottle Bricks are made from packing hundreds of discarded plastic bags into used plastic bottles. This creates employment, clears waste from the district (which in turn helps to reduce disease) and enables the creation of buildings such as this 6 person public latrine made from 12,500 bottles and 750,000 bags for local residents.
Something about permaculture & growing food in small spaces
While the coronavirus-19 pandemic has shut down society, the experimental philosophy of this collective is set up to adapt and prosper for the betterment of the whole community – building their own free sanitization stations when shops are closed to protecting the vulnerable with no other options. Making their own soap in bulk for distribution. Public art to display important health messaging.