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SarWatch Writer
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First Quantum Minerals and the New Science Lab at Kyafukuma School

Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) commends First Quantum Minerals (FQM) on the decision to support the community of Kyafukuma1 by providing support to the education sector. FQM has promised to build a new Science Lab at Kyafukuma School.

For the past two years, SARW has been working towards ensuring that FQM improves the quality of its social investment for poor communities in Solwezi District, Zambia. Inadequate facilities (not just at Kyafukuma combined school) is one of the many issues that SARW has raised with FQM.

While corporate social responsibility (CSR) interventions are a voluntary undertaking in Zambia, it is important for mining companies such as FQM to raise the standard of their social investments, especially in education and health in surrounding communities. We look forward to the launch of the new science laboratory, and our hope is that it will have the same standards as the laboratories at FQM’s Kabitaka school and Trident College (which are mostly attended by children from rich families).

The company’s contribution to the education sector in the community of Kyafukuma, through Kansanshi Minerals Limited, needs to address the main concerns raised by community members, such as lack of consultation and participation in the identification and execution of such interventions. This will ensure ownership, which is key in ensuring the sustainability of the investment.

SARW would like to appeal to FQM and Kansanshi Minerals to consider equipping the Kyafukuma combined school with computers for use by ICT students, as this is now an examinable school subject. SARW is working on a study (soon to be published) that assesses the corporate governance and CSR approach of FQM and Kansanshi Minerals, and the companies’ contribution to socio-economic and cultural empowerment of surrounding communities.

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