Melanie Wituka is the winner of the Woman Contractor of the Year Award, which recognises women constructors in Kenya’s building sector.
Ms Wituka of Suleco Company Ltd walked away with Ksh1 million worth of cement. She beat other nominees from Eunitech Engineering (first runners up) and Zueda Zee Enterprises (first runners up).The first runners up received Ksh500,000 worth of roofing material from Mabati Rolling Mills, while the second runners up was awarded Ksh250,000 worth of paint from Sadolin.
The award, organised by Athi River Mining (ARM) and the National Construction Authority (NCA), brought together key stakeholders from the construction, banking, manufacturing, academic and financial industries, with nominees being selected from a cross section of nationwide candidates who sent their applications to the NCA.
Speaking during the award ceremony, Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Mariam El Maawy stated that the Ministry will ensure that women play their rightful role in developing the nation by empowering them to thrive in the lucrative construction industry and establish an active voice in the business community. This in turn will boost their careers, giving them power and control over their lives.
“We are focusing on empowering women and we’ll look at avenues where we can help them play an active role in developing our nation. The construction sector is one of these avenues,” noted the Principal Secretary.
The Best Building Works contractor award went to Riza Works with Namunyak Ltd bagging the Best Road Works contractor award. Power Eagle Enterprises walked away with the Most Inspiring Contractor.
ARM Cement’s Managing Director Pradeep Paunrana emphasised the need to train more young people especially women to take up jobs in the manufacturing industry and urged the government to join hands with the private sector to recognise quality constructors and support them to foster competitiveness.
“ARM Cement has long since been a worthy investor to the economic growth of the region contributing majorly to the development and competitiveness of Kenya’s manufacturing sector. Women, who make up the majority of our population, need to be enabled and equipped to be active players in our quest to achieve Vision 2030. Poverty reduction, higher levels of education and growth in businesses will not be realized if women are not involved.
“We would like call upon those in the private sector, especially, to join in these efforts to bolster young women’s efforts to join this industry. This in turn directly impacts current measures to reduce unemployment and raise the standards of living for the people of Kenya.”
The award ceremony stems from the Women Contractors’ Dinner held last year on August 15 which was a platform initiated to acknowledge and empower women contractors, as well as give them a forum to interact with their peers. The dinner had over three hundred women contractors in attendance and was presided over by Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning Ann Waiguru.