We have received very sad news today from the Directors of Khuthaza. Khuthaza is an organisation which encourages the entrance of women into the built environment sectors and the development of thriving careers and businesses therein. They support government initiatives relating to housing and infrastructure delivery, the maintenance and growth of the construction industry and Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment.
The following is a press release from the Directors:
“It is with great disappointment that we notify you that Khuthaza’s Directors have made the very difficult decision to “Pause” the organisation’s work. A number of external factors, led by the economic recession and prolonged industry slowdown, have made it difficult for us to raise the funding required to operate and to continue to make a meaningful contribution to the industry. We have tried a number of routes to secure sufficient income but we have not succeeded. While this may seem like a quick decision we can assure you it has been thought through and is one that we have been grappling with for three years.
“This decision was by no means easy, but despite many years of growth and a strong track record, we have operated in survival mode for the past three years. Unfortunately our financial year ending February 2014 has been our worst in terms of income. It was a decision that had to be made.
“While we have provided some services to the established sector, enabling us to earn income, our primary target group – our reason for being – has been the women who are developing careers and businesses in the construction industry. While our primary target market has always paid for our services, these services and programmes need to be subsidised to make them affordable. We are proud of what we’ve achieved. We know, however, that there is a great deal more to be done
and are extremely disappointed that we won’t be able to continue to provide support to women in the industry.
“Whilst we are not legally closing the organisation at this point, we will suspend all operations and involvement in the industry and will close our office. We will keep an eye on the industry and assess opportunities as the market improves over the coming years. We may also explore future involvement in other aspects of socio-economic development.
“Khuthaza started as an informal initiative in 1995, as Women for Housing, a volunteer advocacy group focused specifically on supporting women’s involvement in low-income housing. In 2001 we began to formalise the operations of the organisation and over the years have developed a range of support services and programmes aimed at developing capacity and supporting the involvement of women in the industry in particular. In 2009 we increased our scope to include
the wider construction industry and re-branded as Khuthaza. We have worked hard to develop mutually beneficial relationships with a range of industry stakeholders and have begun the challenging process of building bridges between people and opportunities.
“Our Contractor Development Programmes date back to 2002 when we piloted a series of seven workshops. Over the years our offerings have grown and since 2008 when we piloted our first 8-month contractor development certificate programme, over 288 people have participated in our 8-month programmes at three levels. Our mailing list, through which various Khuthaza and industry opportunities are shared, reaches over 4500 people and over the years we estimate that
over 2000 students, young professionals, and construction entrepreneurs have participated in our capacity building activities.
“Our programmes have been developed in collaboration with our partners in the industry. In 2012 over 160 industry volunteers shared their knowledge and experience with the participants in our programmes. Together we have been developing capacity for the industry, creating a pool of better equipped entrepreneurs, opening doors for women, and playing a part in the economic development of the country.
“We have often talked about the ripple effects of the work we do; the concentric circles in our logo represent these ripple effects. Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) are widely recognised as significant contributors to a country’s GDP growth and job creation. The potential economic impact of women’s increasing involvement in the global economy is gaining
recognition. Through our work we have seen businesses grow, jobs created, confidence develop, careers take off and women sharing with, and encouraging, each other. This should be a time of increasing investment in the development of small businesses and women’s socio-economic development, rather than scaling back.
“On behalf of the Khuthaza Board and Team, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to all the companies, stakeholders and individuals who have supported our work over the years. We couldn’t have done this without you. Each hour of experience, workshop, site visits, ongoing advice, each Rand contributed and the many opportunities shared have had significant value to Khuthaza and to the women, and men, who have benefitted directly. You can know that their
careers and businesses will be stronger because of your contributions.
“We would also like to thank and congratulate the women who have been involved in Khuthaza’s activities over the years. We recognise the role you are playing in opening doors for other women in the industry. We are proud to see your businesses and careers growing, and we are incredibly proud of your open approach to sharing knowledge, information and opportunities with Khuthaza and with each other. We have indeed had many magical moments together. We
know times are tough right now but we encourage you to keep going. While it may not be through Khuthaza, you can know that we are by your side and believe in you.
“After nearly 20 years of serving the housing and construction industries, it is with heavy hearts that we have to pause our organisation’s work. The Pause is indefinite and we will be wrapping up our activities and suspending our involvement with industry organisations this month.”
Khuthaza’s Board of Directors
Adrienne Egbers, Anne Nare Mufamadi, Annette Carstens, Neo Mothala, Pam Struthers, Tshepiso Raletsemo and Elizabeth O’Leary