- January 21, 2021
- Posted in LOCAL
The government has always been advocating for mining houses to aid in community development in the areas they are operating in as part of the repelled Indegenousation and Economic Act which forced miners to give 10 per cent of mining shares to the community.
Rudairo Dickson Mapuranga
RioZim’s medium-scale diamond miner RZM Murowa has shown that communities in areas with mineral deposits’ living standards must be transformed for the better through Corporal Social Responsibility.
RZM Murowa’s operations impact six communities – Mutambi, Mhototi, Murowa, Indaba and Davira and Sese. The middle scale diamond miner works consultatively with the local communities through a five-year Communities Action Plan with the programmes directly benefitting and impacting close to 50,000 people.
The diamond miner strongly believes that the success of the mine lies in the community, therefore it needs the support of communities to operate a successful business.
Its sustainable development programmes focus on long term sustainability as compared to short term relief or philanthropy. These programmes are anchored on five impact areas namely education, economic empowerment, community health, agriculture and infrastructure development.
RZM Murowa respects the traditional and cultural values of the community. Through commute rosters and internal codes of conduct, we minimise the potential for social and economic fragmentation in these communities. The mine’s employment policies give preference to locals and focus on keeping the local economy secure and strong.
It is a fact that Zimbabwean communities value the importance of educating their children as a springboard to a better future. From a business perspective, continued investment in education is part of RZM long-term vision. Over the years, the mine has built classrooms, supported science departments, renovated and equipped a physics laboratory and also provided supplementary feeding for Primary School learners. Its contribution to an improved learning environment has seen an increase in pass rates in the schools in the communities.
RZM Murowa donates textbooks to primary and secondary schools in the above-mentioned communities contributing to the school in the communities achieving a 1:1 child to a textbook ratio in core subjects at Primary school level. In 2015 the Business launched an Educational Assistance Programme which has seen orphans and vulnerable children attend Primary and Secondary School. Over 100 disadvantaged students benefit from the programme annually.
The diamond miner donated computers to Baradzanwa Primary School taking the 270 learners and 9 teachers into the digital age. The donation is in alignment to new developments in the educational sector that promote the use of Information Communication Technologies a rarity in rural Zimbabwe.
RZM Murowa introduced mine tours to expose rural learners to the mining environment and some of the career opportunities that exist in the industry. This has helped the learners look beyond some of the traditional professions and inspire them to take up technical vocations.
RZM Murowa has done considerable work to improve health in its communities over the years. The activities include the provision of infrastructure to improve access to clean water and improved sanitation facilities. It also includes building clinics, assisting in the development of hospitals and facilitating funding for a medical doctor to attend at community clinics once every two weeks.
Communities have not been spared from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The miner intervened through the provision of screening equipment and face masks to neighbouring community clinics. The mine also renovated an Isolation Centre at Lundi Rural Hospital in the Midlands Province and donated Covid-19 PPE and prevention consumables to the Zvishavane District Covid-19 Taskforce to aid the fight against the disease.
The Mutambi Clinic is a health facility built by RZM Murowa and is now used as a referral centre by other clinics. The clinic was fully equipped, electrified with a solar system as back-up and supplied water. The diamond miner assisted in the completion of a new maternity waiting room and supplied water to the building. RZM Murowa refurbished Murowa Health Centre providing electricity, equipment, plumbing and supplies and provided drugs for the clinic.
The youth continually face various challenges including dealing with the impacts of HIV and AIDS. To further strengthen the focus on youth awareness, RZM Murowa purchased multimedia equipment for the Murowa Youth Centre.
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS:
Investing in community infrastructure has always come as second nature for RZM Murowa. The mine’s efforts to date include partnering with local and national government in the maintenance of community and urban roads.
Other infrastructure development initiatives undertaken include the construction of Factory Shells, electrification of health centres and schools, water reticulation, bridge and road construction.
In 2016 Murowa diamonds handed over Jimu Bridge to the community and a year later in 2017, completed the construction of Mhike Pipe Drift Bridge across the Muchekwachekwa River. Both projects created much-needed employment for over 150 community members. The bridges enable safer passage and access for not only mining operations but for students and community members during the rainy season.
The dry, harsh weather conditions in the communities resulted in the Company paying particular attention to food security programmes. An agricultural training programme has been conducted in partnership between RZM Murowa, the community and the Agricultural Technical and Extension Services Department (AGRITEX). To date close to 3,000 community members have received training to ensure food security.
The capacity building programmes complement other investments, such as micro-irrigation schemes, crop production, epi-culture, livestock enhancement and dip tank construction. In 2014, the mine launched the small grains programme which trained farmers in the growing of sorghum and finger millet / rapoko. AGRITEX provided technology transfer and capacity building to the smallholder host farmers whilst RZM Murowa provided funding for the whole project.
The programme is currently benefiting over 1,500 farmers with an expected averaging yield of 3.6 tonnes per hectare. To ensure the sustainability of the project, the host farmers are required to pass on to the seed bank twice the amount of seed originally issued for subsequent redistribution to new project host farmers.
Water is a precious resource for local farming families, especially in the arid climate experienced in the area. Communities need clean water for drinking, sanitation and other essential needs such as developing micro-irrigation projects.
The Company has constructed and rehabilitated boreholes and has provided water to schools, clinics and other amenities. Under the community micro-irrigation programme, RZM Murowa has been able to provide additional water sources with systems designed to minimize water waste. The desilting of community dams has helped to increase water holding capacities of inland dams and weirs. The supply of water facilitates flourishing market gardens and crop production in the communities.
LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
RZM Murowa believes that helping local people to develop their own businesses is a very practical way of driving long-term employment and sustainability. The diamond miner pays particular attention to local employment and procurement, capacity building, skills transfer and the formation of small to medium businesses.
The company is also very active in supporting entrepreneurs with business training and business incubation programmes. Developing small businesses is what will drive the economy of the future. Equipping these ventures with skills they need for their continued growth and survival will do much to create employment and ensure the sustainability of the region.
23 students selected from the community, pioneered a vocational skills training programme in garment making and steelworks at the Murowa Business Centre Factory Shells. The training runs in partnership with the Zvishavane Vocational Training Centre.
The students sat for qualifying examinations in June 2020 and performed beyond expectations. This creates an opportunity for the company to carry forward sustainable development through skills development in the community.
RZM Murowa actively favours local employment contributing to the welfare of communities. The pool for local employment mirrors the company’s immediate community footprint and covers four wards in Mazvihwa and two wards in the Chivi District. Over the years more than 3,000 people have been direct beneficiaries of local employment programme. This policy has seen the rapid transfer of skills into the communities, enabling new businesses and other initiatives.
Indeed the diamond miner’s innovative and a practical approach sets it apart from other medium-scale miners, its wok is indeed aligned to the country’s socio-economic development blueprint and in line with the sustainable development goals.