Thriving through Gender-Sensitive Public Procurement

Date: Monday, May 22, 2017

Kenya Thriving
Madline Sambu giving her contribution during the training. Photo: UN Women/Sharon Macharia

"I initially worked as a banker until 2007 when I joined a construction company," 38-year-old Madline Sambu begins. As I wonder how an accountant ends up to run a construction company, Madline explains that when she joined the construction company in 2009 she got an opportunity to do short courses in engineering which resulted to her expertise in the field.

Madline runs a construction company which deals with roads and building construction. I meet her in a training in Bungoma County on Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) held by State Department of Gender supported by UN Women. As she narrates to me the achievements and challenges through her journey she sounds very optimistic.

Her company has been running since 2014 where it began as an enterprise and later changed into a limited in 2015. "The AGPO certificate I hold and the information I have gained through this kind of trainings have opened many doors for me to do business with the county government.’’ She explains.

"Currently I have 3 projects; 2 road constructions and a health center which is 85% complete.’’ Madline has also had various road construction projects in the past in Makueni and Lamu counties.

Madlines explains with a lot of pride that were it not for AGPO, her son would not have gone through aviation school. "I am a single parent and the money I earn through my company has helped me pay for my son’s fees in aviation school and thanks to AGPO he is now in Ghana practicing.’’ She reiterates.

She has educated other women led businesses in the county on how to apply for tenders. Other than being in construction she also partners with other women to run water projects which involve drilling of boreholes in the county, supplying cereals and books to schools in the county. The only challenges she faces in her business is delayed payments from the county and high regulations on funding.

The State Department of Gender supported by UN Women is running a second series of capacity building trainings on Access to Government Procurement Opportunities. This is in the frame of UN Women’s mandate to empower women economically. In collaboration with partners, over 1000 women entrepreneurs have been sensitized in Kenya. The trainings are targeting women from the county level including Mombasa, Bungoma, Kisumu and Turkana.