Why Jacana Business Centre?
Just a quick refresher: why is Jacana building a Business Centre? In this centre we want to give small scale entrepreneurs a chance to expand their business with the help of Jacana. This can be in the provision of office and/or work space, help with bookkeeping, advice at management level, processing of a raw product into an end product, etc. Once the entrepreneurs are strong enough, they can continue on their own.
What about the construction?
After obtaining the necessary permits, we were finally able to start construction on 1 July. A highly motivated team works very hard six days a week. What has been achieved so far:
- A fence is ready. We have initially chosen to fence one third of the plot before the rest.
- A guard house is built.
- Two shipping containers have been placed and painted. The two containers are connected by a roof and serves as a workshop. Although the floor still needs to be poured and a door still needs to be fixed.
- A borehole is drilled.
- While we were busy and all kinds of materials had to be brought in, a bridge on the way to our plot collapsed. The team immediately built a new strong bridge.
- As far as the office is concerned, the foundation has been excavated and poured, the floor has been filled in and is compacted in layers, walls have been raised to the top of the windows. The workers are now working on the ring beam. Here in Zambia, a ring beam has to be made, which is an extra reinforcement above the windows and doors that covers the whole building and will keep it all together. This is because building materials are less reliable than in Europe or the USA.
- Electricians have placed pipes under the floor and in the walls without weakening the walls.
All in all, we are making good progress and we are reasonably on schedule. That is a huge achievement for the team.
Training for bricklayers
Jacana’s goal is to train and guide small scale entrepreneurs. While building our business centre, we see a great opportunity to train a number of bricklayers. Most of the bricklayers in Zambia learn their profession in practice and have no official papers.
The official certified bricklayers training is too expensive for most people. Which is why we decided to support the official training of three bricklayers.
They go to school three mornings a week and the rest of the week they are busy on the construction site learning the skill under the guidance of more experienced bricklayers and the construction supervisor.
Next April they will take the TEVETA exam and hopefully return home proudly with the diploma. They are already dreaming of building their first house.