ZGJP green building training alumni soars high
Omba Lacey, one of the participants of the 2014 ILO led "Start and Improve Your Green Construction Business" training runs a thriving construction business in Lusaka. Using the knowledge she received, Omba has built several structures that include two shops and five residential flats in Solwezi. She has also built a government clinic in Lumwana using green means. The clinic was a collaboration effort between her company and the locals who supplied the compacted interlocking bricks that were used. At her house, Omba has done renovations and is building a stand-alone home office using locally sourced materials.
"Green construction is a sustainable way to build because of abundant local and natural materials. We will always have the soil, the rain and the sun giving us unlimited resources to use. So we're assured of natural cost-effective environmentally friendly materials," she said.
5000 green homes to be constructed
Omba's business has transformed. Since going green, she has seen the cost of building significantly reduce by as much as 60% and has registered business growth as more people are getting interested in green building. She now has a contract for a project to build about 5000 green houses, a hospital, an airstrip and a school some 30km from Solwezi town and will commence construction as soon as land clearing and logistics are done. Once the project is done, it will house and provide employment to some 3500 people. As this is a massive project, her strategy is to engage other contractors who have also done the ZGJP training so that they also benefit from the $500 million project.
Empretec Women in Business Nomination
In recognition of her outstanding achievements in running a business, Omba was nominated on 18 March, along with 50 others from around the world for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) global entrepreneurship training network called Empretec Women in Business Award or E-WBA. The awards are held to recognise and celebrate exceptional business women who demonstrate innovation, leadership and impact in their communities. She said she felt honoured particularly that she is the first Zambian to be nominated. "The nomination has not only inspired me but other women as well. It has created a platform for other women to learn what I did to get to getting recognised globally," she said.
The importance of green policies
She also called on government to expedite the implementation of green construction policies as this will create competitiveness in the market and drive value addition. Omba Lacey's company Katcey Construction has made strategic resolutions to incorporate green technology and intends to empower women particularly in the villages and create employment for them. "It's difficult to move away from green construction once you come to know about it," she said.
Since inception in 2013, the Zambia Green Jobs Programme (ZGJP) has been making remarkable strides towards achieving its key performance indicators. The 2015 ZGJP evaluation report noted that more than 6667 enterprises, workers and their representatives have directly benefited from the programme in the recent past. The programme has implemented through its cooperating partner a number of interventions that include markets and business linkages, SME development and training, and capital and financial services so as to enhance competitiveness and sustainable business among MSMEs in the construction sector in Zambia. These initiatives aim at, among other things, to enhance the capacity of MSMEs to effectively participate in the construction of eco-friendly buildings by using and delivering green products and services.