Episode 15: How Buildher is Empowering Women Through Construction

June 30, 2022


In this episode, I speak with Tatu Gatere, the co-founder and CEO of Buildher. Buildher is a non-profit based in Nairobi Kenya that is on a mission to promote gender equality within the construction industry through the provision of accredited construction, artisanry, and manufacturing skills to women that participate in their training program. Through their holistic approach to skills training and workforce development, Buildher is working hard to knock down biases and close the gender gap in the construction industry in Kenya and beyond.

In this episode, you'll learn about:

  • Buildher's holistic approach to training women in the construction and artisanry,
  • why it's important for women to be involved in the construction/urban infrastructure sector, 
  • recommendations for integrating more women into the construction sector,
  • the exciting projects (i.e. their new product line) that Buildher has in store,
  • their upcoming podcast's and programming's focus on youth employability in Kenya,
  • and much more!

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Guest: Tatu Gatere, CEO and Co-Founder

Tatu is an entrepreneur, an architect and a built environment enthusiast. She is the Co-Founder & CEO of Buildher, an organization that works to integrate skilled women artisans into the male-dominated construction industry in Kenya.

With over 15 years’ experience in the built environment sector, Tatu has focused her career on exploring the intersection of culture and the built environment both locally and internationally, in a variety of socio-economic and cultural contexts linking her Architectural background to participatory design; community engagement & investment; built environment education; and place-making to facilitate physical, social and economic development.

In 2019 Buildher was awarded the UKAID-Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund (KCJF) Business Innovations Challenge; Buildher is also a Selected Organisation for the Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls. In 2020, Tatu was listed as one of Okay Africa’s 100 Women of Excellence.


  • 02:44 | What is Buildher?
  • 03:20 | What inspired you to start Buildher?
  • 07:38 | What is the Buildher model and can you walk me through the key components of the 12-month training process that BuildHer trainees participate in?
  • 16:13 | What trades do the students learn?
  • 32:40 | What are some of the misconceptions that you have had to overcome from prospective clients and potential Buildher program participants in order to continue to grow the organization?
  • 23:15 | What is the background of the women who take part in Buildher programs?
  • 27:20 | How have the lives of the women trained by Buildher changed since taking part in your program?
  • 30:50 | Why is it important for women to be involved in the construction/ urban infrastructure sector overall? 
  • 34:30 | What kind of supports (i.e. policies, partnerships) do you think cities should offer companies like yourself to help establish and expand their efforts of integrating more women into this construction sector?
  • 37:58 | What's next for Buildher?
  • 41:24 | Their upcoming podcast that focuses on youth employability in Kenya
  • 44:40 | How can people get involved with the organization?

Show Notes

Want to learn more? Check out this episode's references!

Buildher. (n.d.). Buildher. https://www.buildher.org/



This episode is co-sponsored by the University of Toronto School of Cities and the Department of Geography and Planning. 

The School of Cities "convenes urban-focused researchers, educators, students, practitioners and the general public to explore and address complex urban challenges, with the aim of making cities and urban regions more sustainable, prosperous, inclusive and just". To learn more about the School of Cities visit www.schoolofcities.utoronto.ca

To learn more about the Department of Geography and Planning and the different undergraduate and graduate programs available please visit www.geography.utoronto.ca.

  • Editor: Hannah Ahamedi
  • Music Producer: Imany Lambropoulos
  • Podcast Host and Graphic Designer: Alexandra Lambropoulos

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