Contractor empowers women in mass housing project

13 May 2014 13:50pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 13 MAY (NAMPA) – More than 40 women are receiving training from a private company in the construction of houses at Keetmanshoop as part of the first phase of Government’s mass housing project.
The National Housing Enterprise (NHE) contracted Namibia Homes to build 320 houses in the Tseiblaagte residential area as part of the N.dollars 2.7 billion first phase construction programme of the mass housing project country-wide.
Site trainer at Namibia Homes, Albert McQuillan said on Friday that a training programme titled ‘Women in Construction Initiative’ was implemented on the site on 23 April 2014 to empower local women in the construction industry.
“Women need jobs and this is what we decided to do – to empower them to learn a trade and also get an income,” he said. McQuillan is one of three managers who teach a team consisting of about 16 women about bricklaying on the site on a daily basis.
Out of nearly 350 job applications for the housing project in Tseiblaagte, about 60 women applied for construction jobs.
A female labourer, Priskila Shilongo was the first woman to be employed by the company since the project kicked off. She has since risen through the ranks and is now a trainer on the initiative.
Shilongo said the construction industry is changing and not only relies on brawn, as women are just as suited as men to take up employment in a high-tech, multi-skilled building world.
“Women can work just as well, and maybe better than men. If I could master the trade then there is a place for any woman in the construction industry if she wants to learn,” she said.
At the same occasion, NHE site foreman Nicky Rooi commended the company for spearheading the initiative, adding that employers need to make more effort to employ women in the industry.
“Women are still woefully under-represented in construction. This initiative is a sign of a positive movement, but good practices needs to be scaled up and applied industry-wide,” he added.
President Hifikepunye Pohamba launched the national mass housing programme in November last year. At least 185 000 affordable houses are expected to be built under the programme, which is expected to cost N.dollars 45 billion by the year 2030.
Phase one is set to run for two years, and over 10 000 houses are expected to be build countrywide, with an average of 5 000 houses per year.