Dr Agoi Faith Loice doubles up as a contractor and a lecturer at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
Dr Agoi is also venturing into politics with a bid for the Woman Rep position in Kakamega County on a KANU ticket.
She speaks to Life&Style magazine about juggling between teaching and contraction work.
You joined the contractors world when you were a lecturer. How has the journey been?
I joined the construction industry out of passion. As a woman, venturing into the male-dominated industry has been a tough journey.
Most clients trust men more than women. When a woman applies for a tender, the first thing clients ask is whether you have the money to do the job.
I remember one client asking me who would sponsor the contract, but I never gave up. Whenever I win a tender, I always ensure that I do my best to complete within the set time-frame and deliver a good job.
And trust you me; women are the most trustable contractors nowadays. We are equally good at the task. I have been juggling between lecturing and construction. My presence on the ground has also helped prepare me for my political journey.
What motivated you to venture into a space that is majorly dominated by men?
Most careers are dominated by men and we are not going to shy away from them because they are well-paying. When you work hard, you win the trust of a client.
One day I was approached by a friend who was in the construction industry asking me whether I could join her to do the work, but I wasn’t sure about wanting to try it out.
She approached me the second time and I decided to give it a try. I did the work so well and thereafter I could get a number of referrals. I have now been doing this for the last seven years.
What kind of contractual work do you do?
I love constructing residential houses. I get motivated when a client loves my work.
I also love my lecturing job as it offers a sense of fulfillment.
What were you doing before you started lecturing?
I started my career as a teacher. While at it, I sold timber and this is where I got motivation to become a contractor. People would buy timber form me and in the process ask for a contractor. I enrolled for a few courses in construction and since then I have never looked back.
You ran several projects aimed at helping young women. Tell us more
As a leader who mentors young lecturers, I have always held elderly people close to my heart. Whenever I have celebrations like my birthday, I always invite them to celebrate with me.
I am supporting close to 200 elderly women — I buy them foodstuff and household items.
I have bought 10 machines for the purification of water for 10 women groups. This has enabled them to have access to clean drinking water.
I also support young women in football by donating balls, uniforms and other necessities while also encouraging them to remain focused.
What challenges have you encountered in your line of duty and how have you overcome them?
The stereotype that construction is a man’s affair. For us outside the city, it’s quite hard to penetrate the market.
But once you complete a project on time, it’s a plus.
What is your biggest fear?
I fear heights
What do your days look like?
I normally have busy days now that I do construction work on top of lecturing.
I head to a site first thing in the morning and then schedule a meeting with a client. We do a site visit after which I meet my team for the day’s briefing.
When not at the site, I am in a lecture hall teaching human resources at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
And as an aspirant in the upcoming elections, I meet with my campaign teams every evening to strategise.
What drives you?
The dreams and visions I have keep me going no matter the challenges I encounter.
If you were given a chance to mentor women, what would you tell them?
I would encourage women to never look at their situation. Rather, they should focus on their dreams. Always trust your dreams and believe in yourself before others can. And never allow anyone to look down on you.
When you are not getting down and dirty at a construction site, where would we find you?
I love travelling. I just love the wilderness. I also spend a lot of time on my fish farm and taking care of my animals.
You are aspiring to become the Kakamega woman representative?
It’s my wish that the people give me a chance to serve them in the next Parliament.
I am looking forward to a peaceful and prosperous county where all women and girls enjoy a high quality of life and a sense of belonging. I will promote their interest and advocate for equal opportunities while ensuring that Kakamega people meet their development aspirations.
I am also looking forward to constructing a gold refinery to help boost economic activity in the region.