| BASIN - News No 11. March 1996: BASIN and the city summit |
The Micro Concrete Roofing (MCR) technology was introduced in Uganda in 1986 by NGO’s and individuals in the private sector. In the past, these actors have acted independently and made no efforts to promote the technology commercially in the open market. Due to the fact that many producers were never trained on how to produce and to sell MCR tiles, very poor quality was achieved which made potential users seek alternatives. As a result most of the producers in Uganda gave up their production.
It is with this issue in mind that a five day workshop and a training program was organised. Past and present MCR promoters and producers got together in order to exchange experiences to understand the reasons which contributed to the technology promotion and to come up with a common strategy for the future.
It is estimated that 100 MCR kits can be found in Uganda of which only an estimated 5% are still in use.
Considering the fact that MCR technology offers big potentials in employment creation and in provision of affordable housing, SKAT / RAS sponsored a one week seminar and training organized by an experienced MCR expert from Kenya for past and present producers of MCR tiles. Past experiences were evaluated and plans were made for the future to revive the technology.
In addition this seminar is a good example of the south-south experience exchange.
The workshop was separated in two phases: The first phase, which adopted the SWPO (Successes, Weaknesses, Potentials, Opportunities) method, evaluated the past performance and formulated future recommendations and an action plan. The second phase was a training whereby all the participants were trained in the best practices on MCR production and application.
At the end of the workshop, the participants formed a producer association responsible for looking into the problems and issues which were brought up. All participants expressed their satisfaction with what was achieved in the few days.
Key problems discussed in the workshop
Raw materials: Acquiring cement and colouring in good quality was reported to be a problem. The issue of identifying good quality materials was tackled during the technical training.
Due to raw material prices fluctuating it was impossible to sell tiles at consistent prices.
Quality Control: An agreement was made to approach the Uganda National Bureau of Standards for MCR tiles which would help in enforcing the production of high quality tiles. The producers association would also take the responsibility of ensuring that its members produced high quality products.
Roof Structures: It was observed that production of good quality roofs was a problem particularly in areas where there is no good timber. The participants recognised that good roof structures are essential since a client is not interested in several tiles but the roof as a whole. In this regard they should ensure that their clients have their roofs done by competent artisans.
Promotion: The participants recognised that only good roofs can promote their business. They agreed that every producer should have an updated price list, comparisons with other materials, a photo album on good roofs produced and good technical leaflets.
Tax exemptions: The producers proposed to approach the government through the newly established organisation as they were playing an important role in alleviating the housing and unemployment problem.