Botswana-Female emerging enterpreneur- construction industry

Botswana-Female emerging enterpreneur- construction industry

Date: June 6, 2019
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Ms Beauty Bakani is the Director of Mother House Cleaning Services (Pty) Ltd. This is a female youth owned company that was awarded a tender to the tune of P841, 000.00 for the construction of an improved LA2 residential house in Kgalagadi South. With the construction industry being male dominated, she set out to prove that females can also do well in the field. The aims of the project were as set out by the client being to construct a 2-bedroom house within 16 weeks.

The activities were done independently without any partnerships. These were introducing the company and its intention to the village leadership of Kgosi and VDC. From there she expressed her interest to employ both unskilled and semi-skilled labour through the engagement of VDC in order to uplift the livelihoods of the community members. There was then mobilization which consisted of construction of a temporary storeroom, bringing in materials for the first phase and engaging a security guard to safe keep the materials. Finally, there was clearing and setting out of the substructure.

Most women entrepreneurs fear engaging in construction industry and tend to choose the most easy jobs or sectors like catering, general supplies and others that are perceived “feminist works” by the society. As a social worker by profession, I initially chose to operate a cleaning service business but the industry has over the years grown hence market saturated. The challenging choice I made was to work as a man and challenge myself with construction as it is a male-dominated industry. All I needed to do was to show my competitors that women too have what it takes to run the construction company, women too have what it takes to buy screws and lift bricks and cement.

Budget and beneficiaries reached

With a budget of P841, 000.00 being the construction value, the project had a total of 9 beneficiaries, 11% of which were females.

Ms Bakani stated that as the Managing Director she has to supervise and monitor the project to keep it up to date with its progress. She does this by having daily progress reports which indicate whether the project is continuing or stagnant. Further, visibility on site at least twice a week motivates the workers.

The general observed trend in business is that most contractors who get government works take opportunity of the mobilization money and payments made thereafter. Instead of concentrating on the main project they focus on pleasing themselves, upgrading their lifestyles and forgetting the main objective of making progress on site. My approach was different, from project inception, I have concentrated entirely on the desires of the project and its manpower. Project management, provision of materials and other necessities, engagement of required manpower, payment of wages. Happy employees perform better.

Results and Lessons Learned

Being a first-time construction manager, Ms Bakani explains that she feels empowered as a woman and realizes she is just as capable as her male counterparts. However, she is faced with the challenge of the construction being in a remote area, far from resources. She has had to learn how to maximize opportunities to buy material for oncoming stages of the project whenever she can. She has also developed a lot of perseverance as a result of the many challenges she has faced.

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