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ISSUE 65(FREE READ)

WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION: CHENESO MURIEL MUSARA, CO-FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF MAJORCON CIVILS (PVT) LTD

My name is Cheneso Muriel Musara, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Majorcon Civils (PVT) Ltd holding Company for Majorcon Precast (Pvt) Ltd. I hold a Bachelor of Commerce Honours Degree in Business Management (MSU), a Certificate in Financial Accounting (IAC) and a Certificate in Human Resources Management, CONSTRUCTION.

I am a Business Administrator by profession who ventured into construction by default. I worked for Acsend Concrete (PVT) Ltd for over 10 Years. At Acsend, I started as a receptionist and rose through the ranks to become the General Manager in charge of administration and production. Exposure to the engineering field led me to develop a keen interest in the field.

Good business acumen skills made me acquire hands-on experience under the mentorship of my then-bosses. That was followed by doing basic Quantity Surveying and Engineering Courses through a private arrangement.

Notable projects that I have worked on include Harare-Airport Road, Ngezi River Bridge Zimplats, and Dema Power Plant amongst many others whilst at Acsend. As Majorcon we have undertaken a supply of products to several ERRP (Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme) projects amongst them Boshoff Drive, Airport Road Rehabilitation, Hwange, and Victoria Falls. We have also done private property developments in Tynwald South, Kirkman Gardens as well as several fuel stations across the country.

  Our products are even tested by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe and our accounting system is top notch allowing us to reflect and rebuild and grow as an organisation. We are now one of the fastest-growing young SMEs in the construction industry. In less than 2 years in business, we already have a sufficient fleet for our current delivery tasks. We also have several plants and machinery.

Platforms like Zimbabwe Building Contractors Association (ZBCA) Women`s Desk need to be fully operational in bringing together like-minded women in the construction sector because single-headedly you will not win. It will therefore create a haven and guide the young professionals as well as the girl child who sees herself as a future contractor.

The biggest impediment to women’s advancement in the construction industry is the lack of financial resources. The finance should be sector based as requirements in the construction sector are different from our traditionally accustomed women’s projects like sewing, poultry and others.The government and other private players need to come on board and nature these businesses even in terms of disbursing loans and finances.

There is also a lack of exposure and experience which I think the government should play a critical role in creating an enabling environment for women in the construction sector. Yes, policies are there through statutory regulations for certain percentages of projects even at a national level to be reserved for women that remain mere talk with zero implementation. We talk of national projects like Harare-Beitbridge Road, Tokwe Mukosi Dam, and Gwayi Shangani there are no women contractors there. We remain hopeful to change this and even see ourselves being co-opted into these projects through women-based consortiums to aid in resource mobilisation. Women are capable hence we see notable women like Engineer Joy Makumbe heading the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities.

Ten years from now I would like to see more woman-only led or owned projects from the architect to the quantity surveyor to the contractor right through to the supplier and even the project funder.

Other Women in Construction

Architect Tsitsi Dzvukamanja

I am a registered Architect, the President of the Zimbabwe Construction Industry Association (ZCIA), the immediate past President of the Institute of Architects of Zimbabwe (IAZ), a Trustee for the Zimbabwe Built Environment Trust (ZBET) and serve on the Women’s University in Africa Council (WUA). I am also an external examiner for the Bachelor of Architecture Studies Degree at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Zimbabwe.

I obtained a Bachelor of Architecture Degree Honours (University of Cape Town, South Africa).

Architect Hazvinei ‘Hazvi’ Sakupwanya

I’m a registered architect who studied architecture at National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo.  In 2013, I completed my Post Grad Diploma in Project Management. I have worked in various sectors including manufacturing and academia before rejoining the architecture field in 2016 at Architectural and Planning Studio.

I registered with the Architects Council of Zimbabwe in 2019. In 2022, I left APS and embarked on my journey as a solo architect, registering my firm Saku Design Studio.

Portia Mariga

I own Albritim Construction (Pvt) Ltd and was  inspired  to get into construction by one guru engineer who would always say “you have so much potential and I want you to venture into construction”. I must admit the engineer really helped me with all the knowledge needed and even up to today I can still go to them if I need help.

Growing up I never thought of becoming a contractor and to be honest I was actually doing the opposite, but what I know is I have always been a leader and always felt that what others can do if I put my mind and energy to it I can as well do it.

Farai Mavhiya-Bhiza

I am a holder of a Bachelor of Technology (Honours) Degree in Electrical Engineering (UZ) and an ACCA Certified Diploma in Accounting and Finance. I am  a registered member of the Engineering Council of Zimbabwe (ECZ) where I once served as the Chairperson and the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers (ZIE) where I am the current President. I am also the outgoing Chairperson of Women in Engineering, a division of ZIE which was established to improve the visibility of women in the engineering, innovation, science, and technology disciplines.

In addition to the engineering field, I am also a certified Quality Assurance Lead Auditor (ISO 9001:2015). I am the current Board Chairperson of Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) and the Deputy Board Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA), positions which add to my past Board experiences at ZESA Holdings and the Higher Education Examination Council (HEXCO).

Furthermore, I am the current Managing Director at Chisipo Consultants, a well-established company specializing in the provision of construction engineering services.

Engineer Grace Bema

I studied for a BSc Honors Degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Zimbabwe, an MBA again at UZ, a Master of Science in Engineering Sustainable Systems at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania USA and Prince2 Project Management at Project Management Zimbabwe. I am a Prince2 Practitioner, a professional member of ZIE (Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers) and a member of ECZ (Engineering Council of Zimbabwe).

I am an Executive Director of Brian Colquhoun Hugh O’Donnell & Partners (BCHOD) Consulting Engineers and the outgoing President of ZACE (Zimbabwe Association of Consulting Engineers).

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