Firefly – Banda Island

Expansion of the local school, improvement of the hygienic situation. 

The Ssese Islands: A Paradise with a future 

The Ssese Islands are an archipelago consisting of 84 islands on Lake Victoria. The islands are 38 kilometers from the Ugandan mainland. The remoteness means there is no outdated infrastructure which is often a major obstacle to the integration of newer and cleaner technologies. Nevertheless, they are close enough to the capital Kampala – an advantage for logistics.

Here you have the opportunity to create something new, the opportunity to form new societies that thrive on a combination of technology and nature, using the best environmental ideas from around the world. 


Firefly is a project of Andrew Smith and Nora Hinrichs, with the aim to improve the health, education, environmental protection and sustainability on the Ssese Islands.

    Find out more about the Firefly project here.

The only source of income for people on the island is fishing on Lake Victoria. 

A typical fishing village on the Ssese Islands: improvising with the simplest of materials.  

Swimming lessons for the children on Banda Island. Frighteningly many of the fisherman and their children cannot swim. These classes literally save lives.

Education is a Luxury on the island: We want to change that 

Many parents in Uganda – and especially on the Ssese Islands cannot afford  to educate their children. Most children spend their time on the streets or work to provide for their parents when they are young. As a result they fall into a vicious cycle of poverty, from which they can hardly free themselves without help. There are only 21 primary schools and 3 secondary schools on the 84 islands.

In addition there are other reasons that make it difficult for children to attend school: Forced work with their parents, schools are too far away, high costs of transportation, materials and fees costs and seasonal relocation due to fishing. The drop-out rate is also particularly high here 75% – the statistics include only those who were ever registered for school to begin with.

The Banda Island – Firefly Camp and School Test Project 

This little island is the place where Andrew Smith and Nora Hinrichs – the founders of Firefly, have their base camp and also live. The camp is located about 300 meters from the local village and was built along the rainforest. Only local and sustainable material was used for the construction of the camp. Here Andrew and Nora have already built a school for the children of Banda Island.

The school has proper classrooms and facilities for a learning environment, Children here are taught much more than the national curriculum. The camp, as well as the school, serve as a test area and have been supplied with eco-friendly water treatment and a toilet composting system for the past three years. The efficiency and effectiveness of these implemented projects has been very successful. 

Thank you for your donations!

Thanks to you, we could successfully build a working primary school. We now focus on our new projects and hope you will follow us onto this new journey!


I would like to receive the Stream of Life Newsletter and be informed about projects, their progress and events. I agree to the privacy policy.