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Mining, governance project empowers communities

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Malawi government has been urged to allocate permanent district coordinators to look into mining and social responsibility issues in areas where companies are conducting their mining and related activities.

This according to the communities from Njereza and Mayera in Mangochi, where Cement Products Limited (CPL) is located, can help the locals to realise more benefits from local resources that are used in the manufacturing process by the companies.

Community Action Group (CAG) Chairperson for Mayera, Chrissie Sitifano, in whose area Qadria Muslim Association of Malawi (QMAM) is implementing a mining and governance project aimed at empowering the communities to benefit from local resources, expressed satisfaction with the knowledge and skills the project has imparted in them.

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Sitifano said when CPL was starting operating from the area, the communities were not informed of their benefits from the factory, but now, she said, people are now aware of how they can benefit from the company.

“We are now able to seek an audience with officials from the company and ask them to clarify some of their actions which are seemed to be disadvantaging locals. Equally, the company also comes to us whenever they have something to communicate to us, a thing which shows that the company respects us as partners,” Sitifano said.

She, however, asked government to consider allocating a coordinator which can help mediate on some of the challenges that they face when dealing with the company.

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“As the company is expanding, a lot of people will be displaced, we need somebody who can be on our side considering that officials from the district council seem not to be readily available in most cases,” she said.

QMAM Coordinator for Tonse Tipindule Project Kumbukani Masamba said his organisation is satisfied with the level of understanding by communities especially in areas where the project is implemented.

“Initially, when we talked of social corporate responsibility people thought the company must give them anything they want, but it is pleasing to note that now there is an understanding between the people and the company which is something which needs to be sustained,” Masamba said.

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