First Quantum Minerals (FQM) has trained 16 road safety agents which includes teachers from schools and health workers from its catchment area of the Northern-Western Province.
FQM’s initiative is to contribute towards strengthening the capacity of communities and the local authority as they implement measures to prevent road traffic accidents and injuries in communities surrounding its mining operations.
The Mine is convinced that when transport systems are safe and efficient, they provide economic and social opportunities that result in positive multiplier effects such as better accessibility to employment and additional investment.
FQM’s Kalumbila Minerals corporate social responsibility manager Joseph Ngwira said the initiative is driven by the company’s need to improve public road safety.
“Our determination as FQM to improve public road safety on our roads is very clear. We started with major public road maintenance activities and are now driving change of the community mindset through effective platforms such as education because we believe that children are the most effective agents of change. Through health institutions, we also know that the message will be well explained to our communities and timely support shall be provided,” he said.
One of FQM’s commitments in its Resettlement Action Plan is to facilitate community safety within its catchment area. And community safety agents have been trained through support from the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA). Participants included teachers from schools and health workers from the catchment area, who took part in the training attended by the District Administration.
Speaking at the closing of the training of 16 road safety agents recently, Ngwira explained that the company, through its Roads Department, had stabilised township roads in the district that previously presented a danger to local people whose livelihoods depend on them.
“As a district, we have acknowledged the need to do more safety awareness, and in a smart way identified a structured approach to address the challenge instead of looking away, because we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. We have agreed as a district that answers for community safety are within ourselves, and all issues associated with safety begin with us. This team is the starting point.
“We have also committed to working closely with the mandated government institutions in order to ensure that our main road (T5 road) has adequate safety signage and speed control facilities,” said Ngwira.
He added that the mining firm is also committed to the District Road Safety Committee which shall be sustained with an expectation of being able to measure and communicate behaviour change as part of the feedback.
Because of its intensive use of infrastructure, FQM has recognised the transport sector as an important component of the economy and a common tool used for development, with a clear relationship between the quantity and quality of transport infrastructure and the level of economic development. High-density transport infrastructure and highly-connected networks are commonly associated with high levels of development.