The Kenyan construction industry is booming with a contribution of around 7 percent of the GDP. Thanks to the rapid urbanization & growth of the economy, the demand for affordable housing in Kenya has substantially risen providing extensive opportunities for investment in upgrading slums and informal settlements, urban renewal, construction of middle and low-income housing. To meet this growing demand, the construction industry is in dire need of competent masons who would be part of the revolution towards quality and safe construction.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Economic Survey 2016, out of the estimated 700,000 working in the construction industry only 30.3% of workers & artisans are skilled whereas 67.6% are semi-skilled. The survey says that only 2.1% of the labor force are competent having acquired technical training. The report further indicates that out of the 30.3% skilled workers, 81.3% earned competencies on the job with only 18.7% having acquired skills through formal technical trainings.
The pressing need of the hour is improving the skills of the artisans in the building & construction industry and enhancing their skills & professionalism. This will in turn aid in promoting safe construction & job creation in the country.
Kuza, in association with Bamburi Cement (a member of the Lafarge group), the largest manufacturer of cement in East Africa, designed & implemented a program aimed at building the capacities of masons’ in 6 informal settlements around Nairobi.
The Program leveraged Kuza’s Digital Micro Learning Platform & Community Building strength to empower the masons through Skills development that aimed at helping them learn, connect & grow.
The program was designed & implemented based on the principles of blended & informal learning, whereby learning was structured around 40% Core skills, 40% Social skills and 20% Vocational skills. During the course of the Program, the masons reflected & identified their blind spots, set goals & committed to Take Action. 65% Masons showed commitment, while 45% of them demonstrated deeper commitment.
From being externally driven to self-driven, this program has helped in building a community of self-motivated, trusted & committed masons who have witnessed the endless benefits of collective power & influence.
I used to feel that being a Fundi was a stepping stone to something else. In class I met and interacted with confident fundis who love what they do and respect their job the way bankers & other professionals do. Thanks to Kuza, I now believe I am in the right place and committed to my vocation. I have since registered my own business and now consider myself as a contractor in the making. Through the various experience share in my class, I realized I could also start a small hardware store to improve my earnings.