KALUMBILA, ZAMBIA – In its quest to improve the quality of education in the schools around communities near its Sentinel Mine in North-Western Province, First Quantum Minerals has handed over newly constructed infrastructure worth K440,000 to Jiundu Secondary School.
The mining firm believes that good education infrastructure and improved education standards play a vital role in building a strong foundation in the lives of vulnerable school children, so they can flourish and grow to be stronger and healthier members of society.
Speaking during the handover ceremony of the newly constructed kitchen and dining hall, fenced and freshly painted girls’ dormitory and VIP toilets recently, the guest of honour, acting North Western Provincial Education Officer Boniface Kanema said the donation has added value to the school and that the learners will sleep and have meals in a conducive environment.
He however appealed to the community to play a role of encouraging girl children to go to school adding that “when you educate a girl you educate a nation”.
FQM’s Kalumbila Minerals Public Relations Coordinator Mirriam Harmon in her speech said it was apparent during a familiarisation tour undertaken by the mine’s general manager Morris Rowe in 2016 that the school needed a better kitchen, additional toilets and fencing of the girls’ dormitory to safe guard the learners.
She added that the emphasis is not necessarily the monetary value but the benefit that both the community and nation at large will reap out of the contribution.
“As a commitment and contribution to national development through corporate social responsibility, we will ensure that we complement government efforts in developing communities by working hand in hand with the area traditional and community leaders as well as the district administration stakeholders,” she said.
Ms Harmon added that since the commencement of operations, FQM has supported education in the areas of infrastructure upgrades in Kalumbila District. The company assisted Kisaasa Secondary School by constructing a one-by-three classroom block, VIP toilets and three teachers’ houses fitted with solar systems, constructed a one-by-three classroom block and three teachers houses for Musele Primary School, a one-by-three classroom block at Wanyiwa Primary School in Shinengene, one-by-three classroom block at Kankonzhi School, and provided roofing sheets and construction materials for a one-by-three classroom block at Kalumbila North School.
She added that through its Trident Foundation, FQM had donated 4,600 school desks and have provided 225 educational scholarships to vulnerable but deserving students. “I want to take this opportunity to urge the students, especially the girls, to take education seriously and not fall prey to bad vices.”
Kalumbila DEBS (District Board Secretary) Mutinta Mubanga was moved to tears during the handover ceremony by Kalumbila Minerals and its Trident Foundation to Jiundu Secondary School.
In her acceptance speech of the newly constructed infrastructure, Ms Mubanga said she appreciated the significance of the donation because she saw the deplorable state of the kitchen and the girls’ dormitory during her inspection schools in Kalumbila when she was transferred to the district.
She paid tribute to FQM through its Trident Foundation for providing infrastructure, material support and working in tandem with the Ministry of General Education in North-Western Province to provide quality education.
Jiundu Head teacher Mr Kabwe said he was optimistic that the school will now attract new enrolments to exceed the current 600 pupils. Earlier this year Trident Foundation launched the schools’ clean-up campaign against cholera and donated 50 mattresses and 69 blankets.
The mining firm has aligned its community initiatives with every one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a move that puts the mining giant at the forefront of best practice in private sector social investment locally and globally.
Education, health, employment and overall prosperity – everything begins with a proper education. For a mining company like FQM, helping to create strong, well-managed communities is both a social responsibility and a business imperative.