World Vision Zambia’s Female Civil Engineer Inspiring Girls to Take Up Challenging Careers

By Tisa Banda. Communications and Donor Liaison Officer. 

Eunice Zimba is World Vision Zambia’s only female civil engineer, a thing she does not take for granted.  

She joined the organisation in December 2021 and has been part of several projects, including the new World Vision Zambia office complex currently under construction. 

Her job involves the preparation of bills of quantity (BOQs), the preparation of structural drawings, and monitoring construction projects. 

As a child, Eunice never dreamt of being an engineer but was fascinated by science and figuring out how things work, eventually leading to her choosing a career in science. She was born into a family of six as the fourth child. She has four sisters and one brother. She loves science so much that she would be a Microbiologist if she chose a different career 

She grew up in Kitwe before the family moved to Kafue district. She attended Nkana Trust Primary School in Kitwe and David Kaunda Technical Secondary School in Lusaka. She then got a scholarship to study in Algeria and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 2016 and a master’s degree in Highway Engineering in 2018. 

Eunice’s career started at a consulting firm where she was doing design and structural analysis work. Then she moved on to a construction company where she supervised construction projects onsite as a structural engineer and interpreted structural drawings.  After this experience, she joined World Vision Zambia as Construction Management Specialist. 

She describes working in a male-dominated industry as both challenging and interesting. 

eunice at construction site

“The most important thing is not to go out there and compete with men but to work as a team. We work as partners. So, one of the key things that help me in this industry is understanding that just because I am female doesn’t mean I am supposed to get to the field and prove a point to my male colleagues or vice versa. We learn from one another. What I don’t know, I learn from you; what you don’t know, you learn from me. The other thing is that being female doesn’t mean you get the easy way out. You’re still expected to perform. You’re expected to deliver standard results, so it’s important also for women to understand that, as we work in the engineering field, it’s important that you know your work like the back of your hand such that whatever challenge is given to you, you’re capable of handling it”, she says. 

Eunice is using her platform in Word Vision to encourage girls to take up careers perceived as challenging. 

“World Vision has given me an opportunity to have an impact on young girls as I move around in the remote parts of the country. At times, my work involves the construction of schools or rehabilitating classroom blocks, so I get to interact with young girls. I have had several girls talks and encourage them to venture into this field so that we change the mindset that these jobs are only reserved for the male folk”, she says. 

She adds that for girls to penetrate male-dominated industries, they should first surround themselves with people who think positively and will not limit them to their ideas as she goes on to cite her parents as people who support and push her to go beyond what she thinks is her limit. 

eunice on site

Eunice says a general change of mindset is equally important and advocates for boys and girls to be put in the same classes early to inculcate a belief that they can do the same jobs.  

The 2023 International Women’s Day is being held under the theme, 'DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.’ For Eunice, this means exposing women to the digital world as it will improve their creativity and opportunities because they will be able to work in digital spaces and in that capacity. 

She wants to see more girls and women take up leadership roles.