A Vedanta Group update on how Konkola Copper Mines is working to empower the Luano Community in Chingola through an innovative goat draft project - an interesting alternative to microfinance:
Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) - Empowering the Luano Community
Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), a company of Vedanta group in copper business is the largest copper producer in Zambia. The company is equally committed to bringing social and economic empowerment in the region. Recently KCM has been focusing towards Luano community.
Chingola’s Luano area is about 22 km from the town centre and its main community occupation is farming. The economic condition of the community living in Luano are far from being satisfactory. The community struggles to just manage the basic necessities like salt, money for milling their maize and paying the school fees. Most of the members of this community are not connected to the national power grid and have lower literacy levels and poor road network. The biggest challenge is to find exactly what may suit the targeted community and the general climate for the projects. Yet there is nothing that may perfectly suit this rural community than farming projects.
To avoid creating any dependency, KCM spent over K53 million (more than USD 10,000) to source 300 goats for 100 families on condition that they pass on the first offspring to other needy families belonging to the same cooperative and who are on the waiting list. The goat passing-on project is aimed at reducing poverty levels among the non-mining community of miners.
One would wonder how KCM identified such a remote community under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) project. KCM manager for CSR Ms. Sampa Chitah explained that KCM had been working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to help in finding the needy communities. This has helped in breaking the chains of dependency. Over the years, the animals reproduce, leading to a greater supply of surplus products for the generation of income.
Ms Chitah said the Luano goat draft project was among many programmes KCM has undertaken. Others are sustainable livelihood programmes, mentorship of widows of former miners and support rendered to Mutende and Luwi orphanages.
The sustainability of the projects was highlighted by Chingola veterinary officer, Mr. Peter Kabungo, who urged farmers never to break the chain of recipients because through the draft goat project, the people of Luano could help families to become accountable to each other and restore their dignity and self-respect.
Dr. Kabungo said Government is happy with KCM’s quick response to the call made at the Copperbelt Agriculture and Commercial Show in which the Government appealed for diversification as noticed from the theme ‘Productivity in Adversity’. He said this was a call to diversify overdependence from copper to other minerals and agriculture for sustainability.
Dr. Kabungo also added, in conclusion, that stakeholders and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives should ensure that the farmers are helped with the needed chemicals and the Ministry of Agriculture in the district is to be in constant touch with the farmers.