Welcoming Lucie Kasanga

As we celebrate Trustees’ Week (1 – 5 November), Built It is delighted to announce the appointment of Lucie Kasanga as Chairperson of its Zambia Board.

Lucie brings a wealth of skills and experience to the post, with a career that spans 40 years since qualifying as Zambia’s first female Civil Engineer.

Lucie said: “I am excited to step into this position, and help Build It grow so we can train more young people with skills to work and thrive in life.

I am passionate about supporting and empowering young people, building their capacity. And with my background in engineering and construction, I thought wow – what great synergy, I would love to be part of this!”

Lucie worked for ZMG Consulting Engineers and National Hotels Development Company, before setting up a consulting firm Wezya Property Services specialising in Structural Project Management.

Lucie also brings valuable experience of public engagement and empowerment through her appointment as Commission Member of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) (1996 – 2002), and most recently as Chairperson of the ECZ National Conflict Management Committee (2013-2020).

Lucie with Griffin Muleba and Virginia

From left to right: Lucie Kasanga with Griffin Nyirongo (Build It Zambia Trustee), Muleba Matafwali (Build It Country Programme Manager) and Virginia Machawi-Mumba (Build It Acting Head of Finance)

We took this opportunity to put a few questions to Lucie:

Zambia’s first female Civil Engineer is an impressive accomplishment. Did you always want to be an engineer?

I have always had a keen interest in engineering. I was very good at maths, and from a young age liked doing practical things. Growing up, people would say “But why would a girl want to become an engineer?” But I was determined! So they weren’t too surprised when I turned down the opportunity to go into accountancy, to become an engineer. I was the only woman out of five that completed the training.

What attracted you to Build It?

I was introduced to Build It through architect Rueben Lifuka – Build It’s previous Zambia Chairperson, and President of Transparency International in Zambia. Our paths crossed both through work, and our involvement in the NGO sector.

One thing that really attracted me to Build It was high quality work. I’ve always been passionate about standards in the construction industry. I’ve had the privilege of working with two highly respected professionals in architecture and engineering in Zambia. The first was the late Mr John S Hutt who was the person who really inspired me to take up engineering.

The second was Mr Simon Zukas, who sadly just recently passed away. We would talk about quality and standards. When contractors knew you were working with Simon Zukas they would double-check their work. And if they knew that the lady engineer was being sent, they were in trouble!

Construction is an industry that many young people join. But many join with no skills. And if they join a contractor who is not very skilled themselves, then they never gain a real chance, to improve their talent, and their potential is never fully harnessed. BII helps give young people good quality foundation to build on.

What are your aspirations for Build It?

Build It recently committed to increasing the number of women through its training courses to reach gender balance. And not just in training, but making sure that the women going through our courses have the same opportunities and enjoy the same level of success as their male counterparts.

This is hugely encouraging, and will be such a great achievement. I am part of a network of female engineers across east and southern Africa, and this is exactly what we are fighting for. We want more women involved. This is a very exciting opportunity!