Women plumbers are just 1 in every 100 plumbers in UK, just one of them has been awarded an MBE. That woman plumber, who proudly identifies as Turkish Cypriot, seems to have found a way to get more than the usual seven days out of every week because as well as inspiring the plumbers and women of Britain, she is transforming the reputation of plumbers in Kenya.
Hatice (Hattie) Hasan retrained as a plumber in 1990 when her teaching career became too restricting. But having begun training, she was unable to find anyone who’d employ a woman plumber. Hasan didn’t let that stop her, she simply employed herself and ‘day released’ herself to college for the four years it took to qualify.
After working very successfully as a solo plumber, delighting customers in her home town and further afield, she discovered that women plumbers weren’t finding it any easier to get the jobs they needed to qualify than she had.
Several years passed with her eventually developing a business incubator service to enable other women plumbers to run their own successful businesses. This became Stopcocks Women Plumbers and remains the only national company of women plumbers anywhere in the world.
In 2015 Dr Karambu Ringera, a friend in Kenya, asked Hasan to come to the Community Home she runs in Meru county and build a rainwater harvesting system. Hattie was delighted to oblige and when she did so, she trained members of the community in the quicker, cheaper system she’d developed while she was there, which used waste rocks and wire baskets to raise the water tanks to the necessary height.
In 2017 a London dwelling Kenyan, Jiku Kaguma, found the blogs written about this and realised Hattie and Stopcocks were the ideal partners for her radical plan to completely transform the reputation of plumbers in Kenya. After two years of planning together, Jiku returned to Nairobi to live, and shortly after, Hasan and business partner Mica May joined her to start iFundi.
IFundi is a new, socially responsible business with a high customer service ethos, based in Nairobi. Kaguma plans that it will revolutionise the reputation of plumbers in Kenya and is using the expertise of MBE Hattie Hasan to do so.
More trips to Nairobi are planned in the near future where Hasan will mentor newly trained Kenyan plumbers in the technicalities of her perfect plumbing skills and excellent customer service.