We are grateful for the role so many of our ERGA people play, directly or indirectly, in helping us help children in our areas of operation, our aim being to help them reach their full potential.
Because we are deeply committed to promoting their welfare now and in the future, we focus powerfully on education. We also intend to increase our efforts in securing a healthy environment this coming rainy season with the appointment of an Agricultural Officer who is starting in June at our Lubumbashi office.
To this end, we work with local communities to address social challenges. Last year, for example, we collaborated with 11 DRC communities on issues such as water distribution. We helped them develop action plans, which they manage with our assistance, and we are delighted that about 8 000 people in the DRC villages of Kisankala, Kisanfu, Lenge, Kimfumpa and Sakania benefit from our installed community solar-powered water systems.
Education is one of the biggest challenges for local communities, which is why it will always be a primary ERGA focus. We currently support more than 9 000 students and 225 teachers through our educational initiatives, and we hope it will reduce one of our major concerns, the number of local children engaged in artisanal mining.
In the DRC we support 15 primary and secondary schools, including one female technical school, near our Boss Mining operation. The great news is that for the past two years the children achieved a 97% success rate in state exams.
We also assist schools close to our other operations. For example, we enlarged three classrooms at Maseya Primary School in Kisankala, near our Comide operation. These renovations now enables 50 pupils per classroom, bringing the school’s total extra capacity to 150 students. As a result, children are no longer burdened by having to carry their own personal chairs to and from the school.
Other exciting news is that of the new school we are building at Kolwezi in partnership with the Good Shepherd Sisters and their foundation, which plays a strong role in addressing social problems and rescuing children from child labour.
Our corporate commitment to the welfare of children is one of the most important aspects of our corporate social investment programme.