Sinazongwe, Sunday (23 April, 2023)
The Centre for Environment Justice – CEJ is aiming to reach 1,200 households in Sinazongwe and Serenje districts through the community livelihood support interventions aimed at strengthening the capacity and resilience of communities to prepare for and cope with crises.
In Sinazongwe alone, CEJ targets 600 households to benefit from the community resilient livelihood support.
Government has since commended CEJ for awarding each community saving Group K10,000 each in Sinazongwe District, Southern Province.
Sinazongwe District Commissioner Nchimunya Siakole says Government was also happy to note that CEJ had given out bicycles and phones for Community Social Auditors to promote transparency and accountability in Zambia’s Coal belt.
He said this in a speech delivered by Sinazongwe Acting District Commissioner Joshua Njolomba, during the CEJ Community Livelihood Support Hand over ceremony of revolving funds at Sinazeze in Sinazongwe District, Southern Province.
Mr. Siakole said the groups were trained by CEJ adding that the funds were given at zero interest rate, under the Resilient Initiative for Sustainable Environment – RISE project with support from Bread for the World – BfTW.
“I am delighted to note that the communities have shown great commitment by starting their savings, with some groups saving more than K19,000 in just three months. This is a remarkable achievement, and it speaks to the hard work and dedication of the members of these groups. The funds being given today will go a long way in empowering women and increasing household income. it is heartening to note that the funds are going towards farming of vegetables, chicken rearing, and goat trading. These are all areas where women and youths can thrive, and I have no doubt that this Community Revolving Fund will help to improve the lives of many families in Sinazongwe,” he said.
Mr. Siakole said President Hakainde Hichilema’s Government was committed to creating an environment where women and youths could achieve their full potential and contribute meaningfully to economic growth and development.
“To acheve this Vision, we have put in place a number of policies and initiatives aimed at empowering women and youths. We have implemented programs to promote entrepreneurship, access to credit and education. We have also put in place measures to address Gender-Based Violence and discrimination. We believe that empowering women and youths is crucial to building a resilient and sustainable future. When women and youths are empowered, they can help to drive economic growth,” he said.
Mr. Siakole thanked CEJ for complementing Government’s efforts in empowering women and youths.
“Your work has been instrumental in building the capacity of these Community Saving Groups and Community Social Auditors, and we are grateful for your partnership and support. I urge you to continue working hard and using these funds and resources to build a brighter future for
yourselves and your families,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Centre for Environment Justice – CEJ Executive Director Maggie Mwape said the Community Livelihood Support Programme under the Resilient Initiative for Sustainable Environment (RISE) project with support from the Bread for the World, complimented Government efforts in alleviating challenges facing mining communities.
Ms Mwape said the RISE Project was a follow-on from the Mining Community Voices and Alternative Livelihoods, Planning and Preparedness Project, which aimed to improve environmental sustainability and sustained livelihoods of mining communities of Sinazongwe District.
“The livelihood support component of the RISE project is key to achieving this goal, and CEJ has been working hard to ensure that the community is not only trained and capacitated but also supported with zero-interest seed funds, which will operate as Community Revolving Funds to support community groups with bankable business projects identified during the trainings,” she said.
The CEJ Executive Director said the Community Livelihood Support seed fund was targeting to benefit about 600 youth, women and men operating in a structure of Community Saving Groups.
“In less than six months, CEJ has trained over 200 community members in the formation of saving groups, and currently, we have eighteen groups fully operating in Sinazongwe. These groups have shown great commitment by mobilizing their own resources, with some of the groups’ net worth amounting to more than K20,000 in just two months of their operations as saving groups,” she said.
Ms Mwape said the funds were handed over to the first four deserving community groups with membership of twenty-five people each.
“Each Community Saving Group will receive a total amount of K10,000) for the business initiatives which they pitched to CEJ and was later approved. In addition to the funds, we are also handing over bicycles and smartphones to community social auditors. These tools will enable them to carry out their important work effectively, and help to ensure that community voices are heard and that Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility – CSER is upheld,” she said.
Ms Mwape paid tribute to Bread for the World (BfTW) for their support, which made the project possible.
“I also thank the community for their hard work and dedication to improving their livelihoods, and I assure you that CEJ will continue to support programmes that help empower women and youths and promote sustainable livelihoods. Together, we can achieve our goal of improving environmental sustainability and sustained livelihoods of mining communities of Sinazongwe District,” she said.