Presentation on theme: "Women in construction A case study for Zimbabwe COMMUNITY DRIVEN SERVICES PROVISION Eng.Fungai Matahwa Practical Action Southern Africa www.practicalaction.org."— Presentation transcript:
Women in construction A case study for Zimbabwe COMMUNITY DRIVEN SERVICES PROVISION Eng.Fungai Matahwa Practical Action Southern Africa No. 4 Ludlow Road, Newlands, P.O. Box 1744, Harare, Zimbabwe. Telephone: Fax: Mobile: Skype address: fungaim2y
Women in Construction The Women in Construction project’s goal was to improve women’s livelihoods through their active participation in the construction industry. The purpose of the project was to address women’s traditional marginal role in the construction sector through encouraging women’s active participation.
Background to the project The problem of housing has been compounded by lack of financial capacity on the part of national government and municipalities to embark on full-scale housing development hence the high statistics on homelessness At the household level, a number of generic factors have also been affecting access to housing in urban areas and these were inter alia legal conditions, high transaction costs associated with drawing up of housing plans and approval absence of appropriate sources of credit o housing finance low incomes and prohibitive land prices high costs of construction materials. Most modern and traditional laws have been biased towards male ownership and control and in some cases, Laws would bar women from acquiring or disposing of land without their husbands' consent.
Background to the project Urban housing policies generally did not cater for the specific needs of women. In a study of 5 housing cooperatives (4 in Harare and 1 in Bulawayo) in Zimbabwe, Vakil (1994, p15) observed that women roles in these cooperatives conformed more closely to traditional domestic activities men assumed most of the leadership roles. Lack of appropriate training of women in management, technical and non-traditional skills were noted as constraints that limit women participation in construction activities and perceived labour intensive income generating activities.
Impact of urban women’s participation in the construction business on Income generation, Gender roles and Responsibilities, Family and societal perceptions in Zimbabwe.
Findings of the study showed that women’s businesses in construction were profitable and constituted an important source of family income. However, business growth was negatively affected by limited access to finance, lack of suitable equipment, high cost of inputs, and training in business and marketing skills. There was also greater gender burden created as women sought to strike a balance between the social roles and economic activities even though the community had a positive perception towards their involvement Networking has also been initiated with individuals/groups thorough out the country
Women make a breakthrough into the construction industry Construction has been seen through the eyes of men. It is men who dig the trenches, mix the mortar and do the actual building of the structure. Well, not according to a strong willed community of women in Chitungwiza and Epworth who worked with Practical Action
Breaking into this male dominated sphere has presented women with real opportunities to transform their lives through lucrative building and construction enterprises that supply bricks and roof tiles. Before venturing into this male dominated industry, most of them would rely on incomes brought home by their husbands. Practical Action's role has been a simple one - identifying women and facilitating the realization of their dreams and aspirations. Working in groups of a minimum of six women, they have undergone training in gender sensitization, training for transformation (T for T), business management, brick laying and the manufacture of affordable building materials.
Experiences from the project There was also greater gender burden created as women sought to strike a balance between the social roles and economic activities Major activities that women were involved in included cooking, fending for children, washing clothes, income-generating projects such as construction, vegetable vending, and attending other social gatherings such as churches, funerals etc.
Although families and the general community claimed that they supported women participation in the construction related businesses, there were no identified instances in which men volunteered to do household chores such as washing of clothes and cooking. It was and still considered a cultural taboo for men to perform certain household activities such as sweeping outside the house. Deconstruction of societal beliefs and attitudes in gender roles and responsibilities at the household level is yet to be achieved
Institutions Growth of women’s construction groups Apart from being a construction groups and enterprises the groups formed a network throughout Zimbabwe This resulted in them forming and registering a national organization Zimbabwe Women In Construction Association (ZWICA) ZWICA President, Elizabeth Chakudunga (second from left) joins other members in song and dance The Permanent Secretary (standing) officially opening ZWICA
Over the past two years the membership has grown from 9 groups to 30 groups Apart from being a construction network ZWICA has developed other wings that address their day to day social needs and these include. Burial and funeral assistance groups in the communities Savings and lending groups This model is based on self-selected groups of people from the association who pool their money into a savings fund from which members can borrow The money is paid back with interest, causing the fund to grow. This lump sum distribution provides a large amount of money that each member can then apply to his/her own income generating activities, and is greater than the amount that any individual member could leverage alone. Members receive training from the association on the planning and management of the savings/loans, group formation procedures, information and record-keeping and leadership. Additional training in selection, planning, and management of income generating activities will be provided to groups and group members who are ready to grow or diversify their income generating activities.
Lobbying and Advocacy centre The centre provides assistance to women needing support in income generating activities, access to finance, access to land for construction etc The centre has become a watch dog for the provision of services by local authorities such a, budgeting process, refuse collection, water provision Increasing the visibility of women’s issues through its work.