Joy Makumbe | Making Waves in the Water Industry, With a Ripple Effect on Women’s Lives

Joy Makumbe, founder of Majorlic Construction, shares her inspirational story.


Joy Makumbe knows a thing or two about beating the odds in a male-dominated field. The Zimbabwean civil engineer and entrepreneur has made a name for herself in the world of WASH (water, sanitation hygiene) — which has long been considered a boy’s club.

In 2004, she launched Majorlic Construction, an engineering and green tech company specializing in water and sanitation infrastructure projects that operates in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Uganda.

In founding and running her own firm, Joy joined a small number of female CEOs in a sector where males overwhelmingly outnumber women, particularly in leadership positions.

Recognizing that the glass ceiling is especially difficult to shatter in the water sector, she is determined to pay her success forward by helping other women to overcome hurdles, obstacles and roadblocks that stand in their way.

“I am passionate about inspiring women and girls. I want them to see that engineering is not gender-based,” she said. “This means beefing up the current numbers of women joining tech professions, and I am determined to use all available channels to achieve this.”

ROCKBlue’s Women’s Urban Leadership in Utility WASH (WULUW) is a valuable channel for Joy to reach and mentor women in water and sanitation, steering them toward career advancement and attaining technical and leadership positions.

“I love making an impact in communities and changing the lives of women and children, ” says Joy, who is just as passionate about U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 6 of providing water and sanitation for all. “Developing countries have either poor or no water and sanitation infrastructure. Contributing to the global goal of SDG6 makes my life here on Earth worthwhile.”

With mentors like Joy, WULUW is helping women working in water-related fields in developing countries to take steps up the industry ladder and reach their full potential while at the same time providing much-needed clean water and sanitation services in densely populated, clean water-deficient areas.

—Shannon Roxborough