2020 has brought with it many challenges, particularly in the safe access of educational and learning facilities around the world. Schools in the villages around MMG’s Kinsevere operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were forced to close their doors for almost five months due to COVID-19.
In preparation for the start of the new school year in October, Kinsevere’s social development team has been busy preparing for the reopening of the six schools in the villages surrounding the mine. Hand washing kits, chlorine were placed in every classroom, and face masks were also donated to the schools. Proper mask wearing and physical distancing will be a new experience for the schoolchildren. Classes were also rearranged to ensure adherence to social distancing guidelines, which meant fewer students in classes compared to the usual 50 students per class.
To help address any challenges that may arise with the reopening of the schools, Kinsevere, in partnership with the village clinic, organized COVID-19 health and safety awareness sessions for each school. Exercise books were also provided by the DRC Ministry of Education and distributed to schools, with Kinsevere also providing 75 copies to scholarship students in boarding schools in Lubumbashi.
In September the Kinsevere elementary school, with the support of local principals, teachers and parents, tested the effectiveness of these new arrangements. It welcomed 403 students from eight private and public schools to participate in a two day national end-of-year primary school exams. The new guidelines were closely followed by the schools.
Through these measures, Kinsevere, together with the schools and communities, continue to work proactively to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools and communities surrounding its operations.