Livelihood improvement opportunities are important to many of our local stakeholders, and our social development teams work closely to ensure they can deliver programs tailored to those who wish to participate.
At our Kinsevere operation, we engage regularly with our stakeholders on the issues that matter most to them. One of the most regular requests for support to develop small and sustainable business opportunities to improve community livelihoods.
As part of the response to creating livelihoods in the communities, four years ago Kinsevere began a sewing workshop. They hired professional tailors to train an initial 14 participants and supplied equipment including sewing machines, working tables, chairs, material and fabrics. A room at the social development office was converted into a sewing workshop.
Kinsevere sewing workshop now makes MMG employee uniforms, uniforms for local village schools and PPE for our contractors. Some 19 people around the mine are direct beneficiaries of this project, with more than 180 people benefiting indirectly. This project has proved profitable for both the community and Kinsevere, with the sewing workshop now running itself without financial support from the operation. The workshop also produces more than 100 MMG uniforms each month, which we purchase for our people.
The group has been trained in how to keep their equipment in good condition and ensure they get broken equipment repaired. All transactions are carefully recorded in the workshop’s shared computer, and they have their own bank account, a business statute and organisational structure.
Today the workshop is made up by 15 women and four men, two of whom have a disability. The workshop gave participants the opportunity to be valued as a contributing member of their community.
One of the workshop employees is Theodore Mufunga, a 60-year-old from Kalilanda village. Four years ago, as a result of a disability, he had been left without work and survived on occasional work as a tailor. The sewing workshop has given him the opportunity to have a fixed income, and he has become financially independent. “Today, I can support my family members and now some young people in my village want to become a tailor like me,” said Theodore.
Some of the women who are employed through the workshop initially faced pressure from their husbands, unhappy they were working outside the home. They are now very supportive of the program, especially after seeing MMG people wearing the clothes their wives have made. The activities of the women not only increased their household’s income but also gave the women their own money and a sense of accomplishment of having achieved business success on their own.
Kinsevere will continue to support this and other income generating programs as a way to develop sustainable employment opportunities beyond the life of the mine.