By Evan Lewis
The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations’ (OBO) new Rosslyn Grove diplomatic housing project in Nairobi is contributing to the advancement of women in Kenya’s construction sector. The construction contractors assigned to the project, Gateway Real Estate Africa and Verdant Ventures, recently donated $40,000 to a Nairobi-area non-profit organization called Buildher Kenya to support a cohort of 30 women from disadvantaged backgrounds with vocational training in the construction trade. The donation will enable these women to undergo an intensive 12-month program focused on fostering and advancing their skills in carpentry, joinery, painting, and decorating. In addition, the group will undergo further training in financial planning and life skills.
Buildher Kenya was founded in 2018 to equip the nation’s disadvantaged women with accredited construction skills. The organization is comprised of trainers and professionals with educational and industry experience and a dedicated placement team that ensures candidates are successfully placed with employer partners. Research has shown that after four months of training, cohorts have reported an increase in income of 520% on average. Employers report a 67% increase in productivity and 60% have changed their policies to incorporate gender diversity, counter sexual harassment, and increase dignified pay.
As OBO continues to champion gender equity in the construction industry, this example of giving shows how the bureau’s efforts overseas have an ongoing positive effect and can contribute to closing the gender gap in the communities within which it operates.
Evan Lewis is a media relations analyst at the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations.