Skills development and the empowerment of women in construction received a major boost today as leading continental real estate developer, Gateway Real Estate Africa (“GREA”), handed over a donation of KSH4,328,000 (USD40,000) to Buildher Kenya.
The non-profit operation was founded in 2018 to equip disadvantaged women in Kenya with accredited construction skills and is the only female-focused organization registered to sit for the prestigious National Industrial Training Authority exams.
GREA co-founder and CEO, Greg Pearson commented:
“We are very proud to be a funder to Buildher and I hope this is the start of a long relationship. The empowerment of women in the construction sector is something we feel very strongly about, as reflected by a large number of females in our senior management team.
“The excellent work done by Buildher in equipping women with the right professional and life skills not only plays a huge role in breaking down gender barriers but supports the long-term sustainability of our industry.
“Our contribution will support one enrollment of women to undergo training and sit for the industry exam. We’ll be following their development with keen interest.”
Builder Kenya co-founder and CEO, Tatu Gatere remarked:
“Builder develops artisans at a higher skill level in a shorter period of time. Our trainees surpass entry-level industry standards that contribute to higher quality, productivity, and increased efficiencies. In addition, they learn valuable life skills including communication, fitness, and mental health to ensure work readiness.
“Collaboration is central to the success of our model. As a non-profit social enterprise with a market-based approach to increasing women’s income, building and construction companies are critical stakeholders. Our employer partners are pioneers who recognize the multiple socio-economic benefits of an inclusive workforce.
Builder trainees consist of women aged 17 to 40 years and include all women from disadvantaged neighborhoods located in the east of Nairobi. The training program lasts for 12 months with new courses starting every year to allow for a systematic advancement through the technical skills curriculum including carpentry and joinery, painting, and decorating.
Each cohort enrollment accommodates 30 women and approximately four months are spent learning the trade skills before being placed at pre-approved employees for two to eight months of training in a live working environment (depending on the training area).
Builder’s trainers comprise professionals with educational and industry experience. An impact team collects data and a dedicated placement team ensures candidates are successfully placed with employer partners.
Research has shown that after four months of training, cohorts report an increase in income of 520% on average. Employers report a 67% increase in productivity and 60% have changed their policies to incorporate gender, sexual harassment, and dignified pay.
“GREA’s ability to successfully deploy US$400 million across five countries since inception in 2018 speaks to the immense depth and experience of our team across a wide range of sectors.
I am very proud to say that most of these team members are women leading managerial, operational, and technical teams, including the Chief Operating Officer, development managers, quantity surveyors, and construction managers.
“Our involvement with Builder not only supports women who support women but underscores our ethos of adding value to the economies and communities in which we operate,” Pearson concluded.
In November 2020, GREA announced its first development in Kenya with the construction of Rosslyn Grove, a 90-unit diplomatic apartment and townhome community development in conjunction with Texas-based Verdant Ventures.
Aevitas Group in collaboration with a local Kenyan architecture firm, Design Partnership, has been tasked to design this quality development.
GREA has contracted both local and international engineers and consultants. Considering its successful track record with companies such as MACE YMR, services including quantity surveying, project management, construction, and other sub-contracting services have been sourced locally, with Betts & Townsend Project Managers leading the consultant team.
Materials are sourced locally as far as possible, with only specialist items being imported.
The development is set for completion in March 2022.