First Quantum Minerals (FQM) through its Kansanshi Mine has handed over an ablution block and a solar water system to Kyafukuma Secondary School in Solwezi District of North-Western Province.
The toilets are waterborne and have running water, and are solar-powered with a 10,000 litres PVC water tank and a mud filter.
The mining firm believes access to safe, clean water is the number one priority for community development, and that water is a basic human need, and should always be prioritised over other forms of development work.
“A conducive environment and good sanitation are very important to all the people found in a school environment; therefore, it gives me much pleasure to see companies like Kansanshi supplementing government efforts by providing much-needed sanity in schools,” said North-Western province Permanent Secretary, Col Gladson Wishikoti Katambi (Rtd).
Col Wishikoti said proper sanitation plays a critical role in creating a safe and healthy environment where children can focus on learning.
Kyafukuma School has had poor sanitation from the time it was established in 2016, with a population of 319 pupils and 20 teachers, the school only had 2 toilets for pupils.
Col Wishikoti said lack of proper toilets in schools threatens the lives of many children in Solwezi who risk getting sick due to poor sanitation and hygiene and may subsequently miss school.
“Improving school environments and sanitation is a mammoth task requiring all like-minded development partners and businesses to work with the government to create the conducive environment we all want,”he said.
Kansanshi Mining Plc Corporate Affairs Manager, Kyansenga Chitoshi said water management is a vital, ongoing area of the mining firm’s corporate social responsibility, as it strives to ensure it creates a conducive environment for neighbouring residents.
“We also believe that proper sanitation and toilets are key to reducing the spread of diseases in the communities, and we hope that this facility will help to protect the health of the pupils through promoting a cleaner and safer environment.”
First Quantum Minerals 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, Chishoti said.
In addition, First Quantum has spent over US$100 million on its sustainability and community development programmes to improve the health and quality of life for its employees, their families, and their immediate communities.