The Official opening yesterday was preceded by about two weeks of manic activity both on site (planting trees, painting chairs, clearing the last of the rubble and moving and painting containers) and off site (inviting ministers and funders, organizing catering and presents, transport, chairs, etc. etc.).
After all the hard work, I am delighted to say that it all went off well on the day. The lesson I take away from that is to never underestimate the power of SEDEYA – once again they planned and pulled off an amazing event. Time and again during the preparation stages I would be panicking about something only to realise that they had, in fact, already dealt with the issue.
All week the weather had been characteristically hot and sunny, but Friday morning saw sheet rain and chilly temperatures, just like at the opening of the Football for Hope Centre in Mokopane, South Africa. In fact, today is sunny again, which just goes to show that this weather was laid on especially for us. Which means, in Botswana, that our project is truly blessed and has a bright future ahead! Pula, Pula!
The program was a mixture of speeches (lots of those) and entertainment - poems, a play, traditional dancing, coaching clinics and HIV/Aids teaching in action on the new pitch, followed by the official cutting of the ribbons (one for the building and one for the outdoor cooking area), a tour of the facilities and lunch.
I really think that the guests enjoyed the event – though everyone at SEDEYA and I were far too exhausted and relieved at the end of it to be able to judge properly.
What remains is the satisfaction of seeing the building and the pitch in pretty much constant use – it does feel pretty amazing!
The next step is to face having to leave my beloved Botswana and all the amazing people I have met here. But I’ll deal with that next week. This weekend is all about celebrations.
- to be updated -
The building has entered the final stages of completion, but as is the way with building contracts, it is a long, hard and rocky path from almost completed to Practical Completion. We are currently being held back by a few items that are awaiting delivery (namely the geyser (Southern African for 'hot water heater'), the remaining ironmongery and the signage). Other than these items, we are hoping to complete the building in the next few days.
The pitch sub-base construction has been ongoing for the past month. Given our specific site soil conditions, we need to first construct a suitable substrate for the pitch sub-base - this means additional excavation, imported material and lots and lots of compaction. Add into the mix the necessity to rent a grader (somewhat hard to come by) and seasonal rainfall, and you can imagine the potential for delays. So, please get to it, friends: fingers and toes crossed: let the rains hold back (sorry, Botswana, I know we need the rain badly!) and let the graders be plentiful and available.
Construction of the shade structure (funded by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany) commenced on Saturday and should be completed by 13th February. Thank you!
Happy 2013 from team Botswana, everyone!
On site, the year is starting very much as the last one ended, with issues around the steel roof structure. It is slow going, but it seems we are finally getting there!
Other than that the building is giving every impression of being almost complete, and it is really looking rather good.
The solar panels arrived on site yesterday, the remainder of the solar power installation is still stuck in customs, but the centre host are doing their best to get them released as quickly as possible. Most of the centre's energy usage will be covered by solar power, with mains power backup as and when required (similarly, the solar power backs up the mains power during the frequent power cuts - the best of both worlds).
Eco-insulation have completed their installation of ceiling insulation, and with the current high summer temperatures this is much appreciated!
Once again, much of the news on the project revolve around trying to keep the roof up. Luckily, the sag on the timber structure was resolved by my heroic structural engineer in my absences. The steel structure is taking a little longer to resolve. After being delayed in its delivery, the quality of the steelwork on-site installation has caused serious concerns. The steelwork was first inspected by the structural engineer exactly a month ago, since then we have been working hard to have the many defects remedied. Luckily, the defects are not structural, but we are hoping to improve the appearance of it. Three official inspections (and many more informal site checks) later we have finally approved the roof over the sanitary facilities, which means that the main contractor was able to install the roof over this area in time for the Christmas holiday.
The main contractor has tried hard to minimise delays on the project, and due to their hard work and concerted effort, the admin and teaching areas are looking very good already.
Despite this, we will not be able to meet the Practical Completion date of 21st December. In line with the construction industry across southern Africa, the Contractor will be downing tools from 22nd December to 7th January, but we hope to complete the building later on in January. SEDEYA are patiently awaiting the opening of the building – they came and inspected the site several times this month and seem very pleased.
The necessary paper work regarding the sub-base for the pitch is almost complete, and we hope to start construction on this element straight after the break.
Last but not least, the German Embassy has committed to supporting SEDEYA’s Safe Spaces program with 19 000 Pula for the construction of a shade structure for their outdoor food preparation and servery area. Our sincere thanks go out to the German Embassy and in particular to Mr Cordes for their support of our project!
Blink and you miss it – the building is progressing at breakneck speed, and if you fall behind with your fortnightly update by even a few days it feels like there is plenty to write about…
I am writing this update from the Architecture for Humanity head office in San Francisco where I have been presenting our project at the Design Like You Give a Damn Live conference. What great fun - I listened to a whole range of really amazing presentations on projects from all over the world and met some truly inspiring people.
Meanwhile, back in Ramotswa, the timber roof structure has been installed, as well as the roof battens and the roof sheeting in the administration area. Unfortunately there has been a bit of a misunderstanding regarding the correct location of the timber joints in the roof structure and as a result there is a noticeable ‘sag’ over the multipurpose space. The engineer and the Contractor are busy resolving this. The steel roof structure (over the sanitary block and outdoor seminar space) is being delayed and this has the potential to cause overall delays on the project.
The pitch sub-base issues still remain to be resolved with the result that this work has not yet commenced. However, it appears that we are getting there and I truly hope that the next report will bring good news on this item.
SEDEYA and I held a workshop about the colour scheme for the external walls and have come up with a solution that I hope we will all like. We are asking the contractor to provide us with some paint samples to make sure we are all happy.
The funding application to the German Embassy for funding for the outdoor cooking area shade structure is almost ready –fingers crossed!
The construction is gathering speed now that we are safely out of the ground (bar the drainage trenches, which are under construction as I write). The project is still on time and on budget half way through the construction period, fingers crossed this state of affairs will continue through to completion.
We managed to resolve the window issue described in the last update by mounting the timber shutters internally rather than externally and adding external fixed shading externally to the North-facing windows. The contractor will submit samples of these items for review.
As is customary here, the door and window frames are installed early and used as a guide for the brickwork that is being installed around them. This sometimes works better with the window frames, which are more rigid because they are cross-braced by the integrated burglar bars. The door frames on the other hand are easily pushed out of shape, and as a result the door frames on site are now not quite plum. The contractor is busy resolving this issue, but unfortunately it requires cutting the brickwork around the doors which is messy and time consuming.
In the meantime, I have been in touch with a very nice lady at the Department of Arts and Culture who is trying to help me find an artist to work on a mural as well as weavers to supply the reed mat ceiling finish for the multi-purpose space.
The German Embassy has indicated a renewed interest in supporting the construction of a shade structure for the cooking area, and I am currently busy getting together some quotes for this to base my funding application on.
Over the past two weeks the building has started to take shape and it is becoming possible to appreciate some of the finishes and materials to be used. One thing that I found exciting to see was a sample of a low seating wall - we are using natural stone (found locally on the building site itself and in Ramotswa), uncut, as stone paving and to build low walls used as informal seating along the circulation area and in the outdoor seminar space. The Contractor is doing a beautiful job on them and I think they will look great when the building is completed.
Right now we are facing a bit of a coordination issue with regards to the windows in the multi-purpose space: they were specified to be inward opening to allow them to interface correctly with external timber shutters. The idea is that you will be able to operate these two elements independently to allow users to shut out sunlight while still maintaining good ventilation through the slatted shutters. Unfortunately the windows delivered to site are outward opening – they look great (you can see now how nice the long thin windows in the large teaching space will look), but unfortunately it doesn’t quite work. This is an issue that is pretty fundamental to the environmental strategy of the building and will need to be resolved over the next week.
The site for the football field has been cleared, but based on reviewing the soil report again, our local engineer is querying the sub-base design. We have collapsing soil on site, which may require additional treatment and/or imported material to make it suitable as a sub-grade for the pitch. As a result we have had to put the sub-base construction on hold, which is disappointing, but worthwhile to ensure that the pitch we build lasts the course….
Work on the sub-structure for the building has been continuing apace and with most of the foundations poured and the below ground brickwork complete we are only waiting for the contractor to install the compacted gravel substrate before the slab can be cast. Seeing the building and all its rooms laid out on site is a real boost, especially for the Centre Host who can finally see that things are really happening.
There have been a few hurdles on the way, including continuing issues of site security, with the site gate still not installed and sizable gaps in the fence, big enough for lifestock (mostly goats and chickens) and intoxicated members of the public to go through. This issue is compounded by the Contractor’s 24 hour security presence being of a fairly sleepy nature. Site security and health and safety on site are set to remain high on the agenda for a while yet.
I also took part in the Makgadikgadi Y-Care walk – 90km in two days across the Sowa Salt pans. Surprisingly this was harder than it sounds, which I didn’t think possible, really. What an amazing experience, though! The skies. The space. The silence. http://www.ycare.org.bw/default.html
This month started off on another high, as we signed the contract and handed over the site to the contractor on the 1st of August. This now translates into a Practical Completion date of 21 December, although the Contractor seems confident that he can improve on this – and indeed, the construction industry in Botswana really shuts down for Christmas on 15th of December, which means that getting labour or materials after that date would be very hard. I do really hope that we will be able to keep to the schedule and complete well in time for Christmas. With the slight delays at the end of July, the Contractor was at least able to hit the ground running, and the site set-up is virtually complete. At this point, the main priority is to establish a site set-up that provides a safe working environment and does not endanger any of the young people who will continue to use the site during construction. I realise that my expectations in terms of health and safety were formed in the UK, a very health and safety conscious society (some say overly so). But though I might be giving the impression that I harbour a secret fetish for site boot, hard hats and fluorescent vests I persist in my slightly tedious lecturing. Surely there is nothing wrong with being thought a bit of a health and safety nerd?
I had a meeting with the local crafts college, the ‘Ramotswa Brigades’ to see whether they could take on the construction of the outdoor cooking area which I am trying to find funding for. The Brigades were set up by Patrick van Rensburg in the 1970 as community colleges following the principles of ‘education with production’. Here is a bit of background information: http://www.mmegi.bw/index.php?sid=1&aid=1432&dir=2012/June/Friday29
When I met with the (then) head teacher of the Ramotswa Brigade last October, he seemed enthusiastic about the Brigades taking on some of the building works, even as a main contractor, although on balance we thought that was probably too big a project for them to take on, and it was felt that the outdoor kitchen area might be a more manageable scope.
However, at my meeting with the new head teacher last week I was told that the Brigades have been taken over by the Government. The Brigades used to take on construction projects in their local communities as a way of giving their apprentices valuable on-site experience and raising funds for the college. However, they have not yet been given their own bank accounts since the Government takeover, and as a result, they are unable to take on construction projects at present. It appears that this state of affairs has persisted for months….surely these kind of institutions should be encouraged to generate some sort of income?
I must say that I am very disappointed that as a result the Brigades will not be able to become involved with the project. Some of the young people attending SEDEYA programs also train at the Brigades and it would have been nice for local young people to be involved with the work on site.
Meanwhile, Tyler Wied from the Architecture for Humanity San Francisco office has been working with SEDEYA to develop a logo for them. Everyone at SEDEYA is terribly excited about this, and very pleased with the drafts that Tyler has produced so far. We have narrowed it down to two options which he is developing further. Check out progress on this here: http://rnobo.posterous.com/
The South East Football for Hope Centre project appears to have spent the month of July on a treadmill, frantically running on the spot. Or at least it sometimes felt like that. Who would have thought that it would take a month to sign a construction contract? However, before signing all manner of insurances and securities needed to be in place, and naturally this is not as easy across different continents as it would have been if we had a permanent presence (not to mention bank account) in Botswana. Then there was a slight delay right at the end around payment procedures, which pushed the site hand-over into August (just).
However, all is well that ends well!
We celebrated our Ground Breaking Ceremony on 18 July, which SEDEYA carried off with great aplomb! We had invited members of the local community, as well as all our local supporters. After some speeches and prayers (nothing of any importance happens in Botswana without a speech and a prayer), a dignitary from the South East District Council gamely lent a hand in actually breaking the ground (no mean feat after months of no rains and a far cry from the ceremonial posing with spades that I was used to from Europe). The architectural model was on display to explain the design and we had staked out the footprint of the building using chairs and bits of string. There were refreshments and even a little bit of music. Rather surprisingly the whole thing was covered by Botswana TV and we made the national news sports section. In addition, the project was covered by Boidus, the foremost construction magazine in Botswana (here is the online coverage : http://boidus.co.bw/blog/?p=3447 and we will be in the printed August edition).
In the end, valid tenders for the main contract were received from three local contractors, all of them above the pre-tender estimate. Mark Warren came up from the Cape Town office to assist with the tender negotiations, and we managed to negotiate the lowest tenderer down to a figure that was slightly higher than the budget but slightly lower than the pre-tender estimate without having to make any changes to the design. Together with the QS, we compiled a tender report, which has been approved by the funders. If we can get by without spending the contingency, we may even be able to re-introduce extras such as fixed furniture and an additional rain-water tank into the project.
We are still hoping to achieve VAT exemption, but this matter is currently being discussed between Fifa and the Ministry of Finance, so all we can do is sit and hope.
Preparations for contract signing are ongoing – this is taking a little while because all the insurances and guarantees need to be in place first.
The German Embassy has expressed a tentative interest in supporting our outdoor cooking area project; SEDYEA and myself are busy putting together a funding proposal to them.
CTM Gaborone, a local building supplier, has donated all the tiles and grout required for the shower area. Thank you!
I have been enjoying living closer to the Centre Host – being able to drop in and say hello and discuss any issues with regards to the project without prior notice makes a huge difference.
I think I can quite safely say now that I am not just the only unicyclist in Ramotswa, but quite possibly the only one in the whole of Botswana. There are some fantastic single tracks (also known as donkey tracks) around here that are perfect for riding, and I am doing my best to introduce the sport here, but so far everyone just thinks I am crazy.
This has been a very exciting month on the project – our tender package was approved by the sponsors and we finally went out for tender to four contractors on 21 June. A week later we conducted a site visit for tenderes to make them familiar with the site conditions and give them an opportunity to ask any remaining questions with regards to the tender information. It is fingers crossed for the tender return in early June now. Let’s hope we get at least three valid tenders back and that they come in within the budget.
Since the beginning of the month, I have been a proud resident of Ramotswa, having found a sweet little house in Lesethlaneng, a quiet residential part of Ramotswa.
It used to be the case that on being married, Batswana were assigned plots on which to build their homes by the local chief. As people from the same generation got married around the same time, and plots in the same area were assigned concurrently, they often ended up living next door to people their own age, which I imagine is nice because it means an unlimited supply of playmates for your children. This system is slowly breaking down – in large villages like Ramotswa, demand for plots exceeds supply and many people have to buy their own plots. This is, understandably, frustrating for young people who have no means of buying a plot. For me the idea that the community would just give you a piece of land seemed strange at first, but when you think about it, is somewhere to call home not a very basic human right?
Dumela bomma le borra! O tsogile jang? (Good day, ladies and gentlemen. How are you?)
This month has been all about completing the Tender Package and shortlisting contractors. We now have four contractors on the list, all of whom are keen to be involved and committed to benefiting the community. I met with all of them individually to gauge their interest, explain the project and make sure they employ and train local labour under good conditions (rather than importing forced convict labour from China, which I have heard happens). Some of them have offered to support the project through lower rates and donations – let’s hope this is reflected in the tender returns.
Efforts to achieve a VAT exemption are under way – Fifa have written a letter to the Minister of Finance, delivered by hand by me, let’s see what comes of it. A 12% cost saving would be an amazing boost to the project and two contractors have indicated a willingness to outlay the VAT sum for materials and seek a refund from the Inland Revenue themselves.
I have been in touch with Y-Care, a great organization raising funds for local charities and they have encouraged me to submit a funding proposal in the hope that our project will become one of their beneficiaries this year. They organise sponsored walks through the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, which sound like the most amazing thing to take part in. A three day walk, 40km/day through the salty desert. Just imagine the size of the sky! I wonder – if I sign up, will I be able to raise the required funds? I feel like I have already just about depleted the goodwill of every organisation and individual in Botswana by always begging for support for my project. Worth a try, though!
I have finally started Setwsana lessons (see above), which is great fun and a bit of an uphill struggle for someone who does not know any other Bantu languages. I am looking for a house in Ramotswa, and should finally be moving to within spitting distance of the site by early May (I’m sure the contractor will love that, spitting architect neighbours...).
The Design Development stage continued into March – the roof structure proved to be more difficult to resolve within the budget than initially thought, and we had to make some cost savings, but the package was finally submitted in early March and duly approved. The time taken up by the approval process was an opportunity to prepare the package for municipal submission (Development Control and Building Control) and to research the availability of materials and fittings.
Makoro Brick have not been able to step up with a material donation, which of course was a disappointment. I made one last attempt to contact the Botswana Technology Institute to entice them to cooperate with us on using their Kalahari Sand Building Block (KSBB), but to my great disappointment found out that they are in the process of being merged with other institutions into the Botswana Technology Hub. The copyright for their material developments (including the KSBB) will eventually go to the new entity, but in the meantime, there is no-one to liaise with and no way of utilising this technology. The merger is timed precisely for the start of our works on site, and in the interested of time keeping, we have had to revert to using local brick.
Onwards and upwards: The German Embassy has indicated an interest in our project in principle, but we are still awaiting a decision on this.
Meanwhile, the design team has been beavering away on the tender information and I am delighted to see that the design has been robust enough to withstand the tight budgetary controls imposed on it and has retained the few design elements that will hopefully make it a pleasant and useful building for the Centre Host: the generous overhangs, high ceilings, the shared courtyard and the outdoor seminar space overlooking the playing fields. An internal layout change (adopted right at the tail end of Design Development) means that the multi-purpose space now opens up to the seminar space, forming one large area for bigger functions.
While I still haven’t ventured very far from Gaborone, I have been able to explore the South East of Botswana, an area that is not touristy like the Okawango Delta, but nonetheless has much to offer. My brother visited from Germany and we went to the creation site where Matsieng, the first Motswana, is said to have climbed out of a water hole to stride off into the Kalahari (followed by his family and all the animals). The water snakes did not get very far, by all accounts; you can still find them living in the water hole next door…. We also spent a weekend at Moremi, a beautiful gorge where vultures nest in a large colony. Bathing in the stream that created the gorge is not permitted because it is home to the ancestral spirits.
Earlier this month, I met with a representative of Mokoro Brick, a local brick manufacturer, who have promised to look into supporting our project with in-kind brick donations, but a final decision on this is still outstanding.
We have been joined on our design team by A. R. Edwards and Associates, a local Mechanical and Electrical Engineering firm, who have offered their services on a pro-bono basis, as have all our local consultants!
The Design Development drawings have been progressing apace and were presented to the Centre Host on 15 February, who happily signed them off, requesting only that the security measures to the changing rooms be enhanced, which can be fairly easily incorporated into the design. Resolving the roof structure has been taking a little longer than expected, which has pushed out the finalised cost estimate and hence the final Design Development submission, now expected for early March.
Botswana is as friendly and delightful a country as I experienced on my first trip here. Many people have shown me incredible kindness and have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome and to support our project. Although this summer has reportedly seen less rain than it should have done, the country looks lush and green and wildlife is everywhere, including my bedroom (so far I have escorted the following outside:, a frog, a turtle, dogs, cats and any number of moths , butterflies, bugs, grasshoppers and spiders.I am yet to be visited by a scorpion or a snake, but this is only a matter of time. The other day I found a baby snake outside my front door and did not hang around to meet the mother. A few days later a giant Python was found just outside my house. The Python is currently imprisoned in a glass cage as my neighbours 'pet', but I should probably also confess that I am responsible for the heartless murder of a large number of mosquitos.
My year started with a New Year’s Eve spent in the air and at Abu Dhabi airport on the way back from a European Christmas to sunny Cape Town. Two weeks went by dealing with the logistics of the relocation to Botswana and final goodbyes to the Mother City, but on 16 of January I was finally off to Gaborone. I have decided to stay in the capital for the first few months while I need to spend time working with our local consultants, who are all based in Gaborone, and relocate to Ramotswa when we start construction in June of this year. Approval periods took longer than expected, but by 20 January we had Schematic Design approval and were ready to commence on the Design Development stage of the project. I have been spending some time meeting with local suppliers and manufacturers. Because our overall insulated roof area is smaller than initially anticipated, Ecoinsuation have offered to extend their in-kind donation to wall insulation, provided that we can find the money to build a cavity wall. This is an unusual construction method in this country, but in a climate with such extremes of temperature surely worth pursuing!
I delighted to have been joined by a volunteer, Ray Reedy, who is currently studying Architecture at the University of Botswana, on an exchange from the United States. Ray is busy building a physical model of the project for the Centre Host.
The country has been gripped by a great wave of excitement around the African Cup of Nations, and although the local ‘Zebras’ unfortunately dropped out of the running far too early, there was much vuvuzelaing around the Zambian team’s win – go Southern Africa!
This is Elisa Engel, the Design Fellow for the South East Football for Hope Centre. The past three months have been action packed and have seen the project go swiftly from initial meetings with the Centre Host in Ramotswa to completion of the Schematic Design Package just before Christmas.
I arrived in Cape Town from my previous home of Johannesburg at the beginning of September. A road trip through the stark beauty of the Karoo was the perfect introduction to this new adventure. The first few weeks were spent familiarising myself with the Football for Hope Program and the site context (as far as these things can be done from such distance) and preparing for the first visit to Botswana. In the meantime, the Centre Host, the South East District Youth Empowerment Association (SEDYEA) was finalising their status as an independent charity within Botswana. Once this was complete we were ready for the first site visit - Christine Lara and Patrick Garrity from streetfootballworld joined our AfH team, program manager Kevin Gannon and me, on this trip at the beginning of October. SEDYEA received us with great warmth and hospitality. We spent three days in workshops with SEDYEA, covering financial and operational aspects as well as the nuts and bolts of the project brief. SEDYEA is a youth-led organsation and there is a real joy in working directly with the young people who will benefit from the project. Three members of the 5-strong core team are girls, and any concerns that I might have had about how a female architect might be received were completely unfounded. We were honoured to be invited to a meeting of the South East District Council, who were involved in the foundation of SEDYEA a few years back and continue to support the organisation tirelessly. Unfortunately Chief Kgosi Mosadi Seboko, the first woman chief in Botswana, was indisposed and we were sad to have missed her acquaintance.
It became obvious during our briefing workshop that while Ramotswa does see relatively cool winters, for much of the year it is warm enough to carry out a wide variety of activities outside – provided there is shade and cover from the rain. However, shade is currently at a premium on the site, with youngsters huddled under the only shade umbrella and the few sparse trees. In a series of workshops we agreed a trade-off with SEDYEA to build less internal space in return for extended external shaded areas.
Later that week, Kevin and myself embarked on a road trip to try and see examples of the famously beautiful painted homes around Mochudi. There is a long tradition of decorating homes with a mixture of different soils and cow dungs, usually carried out by women. In the 1980s Sandy and Elinah Grant photographed impressive examples for their definitive book on the subject. Unfortunately, many of these homes have now fallen into disrepair and the tradition appears to be dying out. It would be great if this project could be a catalyst for helping to revive it by teaching young people the skills required. Unfortunately, external finish to the masonry walls is currently outside the budget. We will have to work this one carefully.
The next week was spent meeting with local consultants, stakeholders and suppliers. This is the time period that gave Botswana the title ‘The Land of Yes’ in our AfH office – our project team has, amazingly, agreed to work on a pro-bono basis – thank you, MPI Architects, Kille and Dannhauser Quantity Surveyors and NMA Structural and Civil Engineers! Eco Insulation and Sanitas plant nursery have promised their support through in-kind donations, the Botswana Technology Centre (Botec) and the Architecture Faculty of the University of Botswana are keen to collaborate. Botec have developed a building block that uses Kalahari sand, fly-ash (a byproduct of the prevalent mining industry) and cement. We are still hoping to use this material to provide on-site training for local builders and help Botec raise awareness of this technology. The local authority is fully supportive of the project and the planning department went beyond the call of duty to ensure we were in possession of any documentation we required. The local ‘Brigade’, a building skills training college is also keen to become involved.
By virtue of having been the victim of a hit and run accident in our hire car I also had the prolonged pleasure of familiarizing myself with police stations in Gaborone, and while they were unfortunately unable to find the culprit, the officers were courteous and professional throughout (once sending me on a 30 min journey to another station to pay a 3 $ fee for my police report because they had run out of receipts and were unwilling to take payment without a receipt, lest it should look like corruption).
So while we were disappointed that we didn’t get to see any of the many elephants of Botswana, I came away amazed at the beauty of this country and the warmth of its people.
Back in Cape Town a Design Brief was put together and sent off to SEDYEA and sfw/FIFA for approval. FIFA asked for the amount of shade area to be reviewed based on the initial cost estimate to be produced for Schematic Design. And true enough, the initial cost estimate showed the outdoor cooking facility and the covered shade area related to it that would enable SEDYEA to develop their lucrative catering program to be outside the agreed budget. This is tragic, as this program is currently operating from a cramped container and an unsafe makeshift fire place, and is key to the efforts for SEDYEA to eventually become financially independent. The Centre Host and I will have to do our best to find external funding for this element.
The Schematic Design was submitted to the Centre Host just before Christmas and we are still awaiting their feedback before sending it on to sfw/FIFA. It is a document that tries to strike a balance between the Centre Host’s needs and the project’s budget constraints. Fingers crossed that it will be acceptable to both parties…
In the meantime, I am getting ready for my eagerly awaited move to Botswana in the next two weeks, which mostly involves trying to hunt down the correct forms required for my visa application. I am assured that the medical form is ‘very, very small’, which may account for the fact that it seems impossible to get hold of a copy… wish me luck!