Swingsets in Developing Countries

Over the last 2 years, the groups I have gone to Uganda with (principally the SeeeMe Institute of Logan, UT) have installed 11 swing sets in 8 dispersed locations throughout the country.  Most of the sets are installed at primary schools, typically in very isolated locations.  Here are some notes about what we have learned.

Early attempts at making a swingset were fabricated in town and hauled to the site.  This became a problem for several reasons:

  • difficulties finding transportation for the prefabbed frame
  • damage to swingsets which occurred during transportation
  • safety issues involved during transport

For these reason, we have gone to assembly on-site.

Assembling a Swingset on Site (near Masaka)

 The first swingset assembled on site used a commercial set of corner connectors.  These were purchased in Utah and carried over in our checked luggage.  The corners had to be modified to meet airline luggage-size restrictions.

Commercial Set of Corners Brought from Utah

Since this first on-site construction effort, we have been able to find an in-country manufacturer (a trade school in Kampala) for the corners.

Uganda Fabricated Corner Being Installed on Buvuma Island

Until now, we have also brought the swing hangers, carabiners, S hooks, and seats from Utah.  However, the S hooks and carabiners can be replaced by clevises which can be purchased in Uganda.  The chain for the swingset can be purchased almost anywhere.

We have been unable to find anyone to fabricate (or any merchant who sells) the hangers in-country, but are still looking.  We use plastic seats purchased in the USA for safety reasons.  The ones we have seen fabricated in Uganda are not safe.

Seat Fabricated in Uganda have Metal Frames

The seats shown in the photograph above have metal frames which are dangerous if they hit a child.  Additionally they are not very comfortable.

The preferred size of the swing set frame is 12′ for the cross beam and 12′ for each of the legs.  With 12′ for the cross beam, it is possible to easily attach 3 swings to the frame.  Scrap is welded to the bottom 2′ of each leg.  We make the holes in the ground for the legs 2′ deep and then cement them in.

Below are Ugandan swingsets manufactured by groups other than SeeeMe.

Swingset near Masaka, Uganda

 

Swingset near Lira, Uganda

 Both swingsets us a ballbearing arrangement to attach the swing to the frame.

Ballbearing Swingset Attachment

The second swingset has a bench instead of a seat.  This arrangement seemed popular with the kids.

Bench Configuration for a Swingset

 We also encountered a very primitive swing arrangement.

Simple Rope Swings at a School near Lira, Uganda

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2 Responses to Swingsets in Developing Countries

  1. Nathan says:

    Very cool. What a great organization.

  2. Pingback: Sunday in Outer Blogness: Bodies Edition! | Main Street Plaza

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