First Quantum Minerals’ Kansanshi Mining PLC has handed over cheques amounting to K 1.2 million to six cooperatives engaged in various business activities, with each receiving K 200,000 in a continued effort to effort to support and improve the welfare and livelihood of communities in Solwezi.
The mining firm is alive to the fact that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a major role in most economies, particularly in rural communities, however, access to finance is a key constraint to SME growth, and it is one of the most cited obstacles that they are faced with.
The additional funding of K 1.2 million follows the initial K 756,000 given to the six groups in February earlier this year, with each having received K 126,000 to help kick start their business activities around the District.
Kansanshi Mining, is partnering with the cooperatives in the yearlong pilot project in a bid to supporting their business ventures and allow them contribute to wealth and job creation in the communities where they are based.
Speaking after the handover of the cheques, Kansanshi Mining PLC Contracts Manager, Pamela Chola reminded and implored the cooperatives of the bigger picture which was to ultimately benefit the wider community through the opportunities and jobs that such platforms are able to create.
“We do realise that not everyone will be able to work with the mines as a contractor or a supplier but that should not limit what they can do with regards to other areas of business and economic activity and development.
As Kansanshi, and ultimately FQM, our goal is to support and help communities grow through various such initiatives, and the cooperatives are one of the ways in which we are helping grow the business community here.
This being a pilot project of its kind by Kansanshi Mine, we hope to be able to evaluate how each of the cooperatives will perform at the end of this year to help determine the best way to implement and improve on these interventions,” stated Ms Chola.
“The impact we want to see is that communities benefit through your different business ventures, when we come to visit your businesses we should have testimonies of what you are doing and this is because we have faith in you as cooperatives, that is why we are even helping you with a business consultant, to help you run through your ideas to meet objectives,” she added.
Speaking at the same event, Samarai Multi-purpose Cooperative Chairperson, Bertha Chabala commended Kansanshi Mine for their willingness to work with the cooperatives in Solwezi.
She further encouraged the cooperatives and its members to support each other by sharing their positive achievements and lessons to ensure the initiative is a success.
“Our aim is to ensure women in the communities are empowered financially, because we believe that when women are financially empowered this will lead to national development.
We thank you for the money we have received, I also want to encourage other cooperatives so that we work as a team, we would like you to share your positives with us and we will also share ours with you. Together we will make a difference and grow North Western Province,” she said.
And Mutezhi Multi-purpose Cooperative Chairperson, Philip Kapijimpanga said the resources disbursed are a game changer as they will have a positive impact not only in the communities the cooperatives operate but beyond.
He said the initiative will see youths transformed into great entrepreneurs with the potential to contribute to national development.
“This initiative will go a long way because most of the cooperatives comprise young people, this means that Kansanshi Mine wants to work with young people to change the face of communities, we thank Kansanshi for believing in young people. Our goal is to ensure we don’t disappoint the sponsors,” he added.
The six cooperatives are Mutezhi, Twibamo, Twinkle, and Samarai, while others are Norwestec and Hidden Wisdom Multi-purpose cooperatives – these are engaged in different business activities among them the rearing of chickens and pigs.
The support which comes in form of a grant, is part of the mining firm’s corporate social responsibility programmes, aimed at developing and supporting initiatives that promote economic growth not only in Solwezi, and North Western Province but the country as a whole.
This is with the hope that the enterprise will provide businesses and networking opportunities, capacity building for indigenous businesses, and job creation.
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