Mopani robust social responsibility


MOPANI Copper Mines PLC has been a cut above the rest in its robust corporate social responsibility compared to the lip service of most companies, not least in the mining sector where there’s an outcry on the failure by many to invest where they are reaping.
For a sector blamed for its part in turning Africa’s mineral wealth into a curse going by the conflicts and the diseases from the pollution, a robust corporate social responsibility like Mopani’s becomes more of a moral obligation than anything else.
From the sponsorship of the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) Senior Challenge Cup to bringing back glory days to Kitwe through the rehabilitation of Nkana stadium Mopani deserve their day in the sunlight.
In sports alone, since inception in 2000, Mopani has been supporting various sporting disciplines with an average of US$320,000 per annum. Add that to interventions in the health sector ranging from cancer screening, malaria fight and HIV/AIDS initiatives.
Mopani were co-sponsors of COSAFA Senior Challenge by contributing $50,000 (about K273,000) towards the staging of the regional soccer showpiece that made its return in July after a three-year hiatus.
It was little wonder COSAFA president, Suketu Patel, paid glowing tribute to Mopani for contributing to the successful hosting of the COSAFA Senior Challenge which Zambia won after dethroning champions Zimbabwe.
Mopani also provided Man of the Match cash prizes to the tune of $4,000 for the four matches played at its Nkana Stadium, which the company recently rehabilitated to international standard at a cost of $500,000.
“I wish to thank Mopani and other sponsors for making this year’s tournament a massively successful one. This tournament was about team-work and everybody, including Mopani, played their positive role,” said Mr Patel during the final played at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
Mopani chief executive officer, Danny Callow, expressed delight at the successful hosting of the competition and that the decision to partner with COSAFA was part of the company’s policy of supporting sport in the country.
“Our resolve to partner with COSAFA in hosting the tournament was founded on our conviction and belief that sport plays an extremely important role in society, both as a leisure activity and a commercial undertaking,” said Mr Callow.
“We have been involved in supporting football and many other sporting disciplines since inception in 2000. Our support to teams like Nkana Football Club and Diggers Rugby Club, for example, has helped to revive the clubs and restore their pride. We shall not stop here.” he added.
Among other major beneficiaries of Mopani’s goodwill include Nkana and Mufulira Wanderers Football Clubs, Diggers and Mufulira Rugby Clubs, Nkana and Mufulira Golf Clubs, Cricket Club, Zambia Amateur Swimming Union among others.
Nkana stadium fondly known as “Chilata” by the red-half of Kitwe, was re-opened early this year following rehabilitation works that were undertaken by Mopani at a cost of K2.2 million (USD500,000).
Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili appreciates the efforts Mopani is doing in infrastructure development and urged them to continue with corporate social responsibility programmes.
The stadium re-opened at the beginning of the 2013 soccer season with pomp and splendor marked by a friendly between Nkana and Kabwe Warriors which the rejuvenated ‘Kalampa’ befittingly won 4-0 and the team has gone on to contribute several players to the national team and are leading the log.
Before Mopani’s intervention, the rickety stadium was markedly in a rundown state, which saw FAZ closing it which robbed the club of the partisan home ground support from the sometimes rowdy fans as well as fundraising opportunities.
The rehabilitation of the stadium by Mopani has, however, turned around the fortunes of the club as it has improved security and enhanced gate-takings which will help the club to become self-reliant and profitable in the long term.
“By investing so much money in the rehabilitation of this stadium, you have once again demonstrated your commitment to corporate social responsibility that is making a difference to our people. Mopani has laid a way for other companies to follow as we embark on a programme to revive sport in Zambia.” Mr Kambwili said when re-opening the stadium.
Nkana chairperson, John Chiwele, appealed to the players and the soccer fans to look after the infrastructure and promised the sponsors a good result in 2013.
The works that were undertaken at the stadium include construction of a new perimeter wall fence, replacement of the cladding fence, installation of spectator fence, repair of roofing for the clubhouse, VIP wing and grandstand and installation of seats in the VVIP, and VIP wings.
The rest of the works done were the rehabilitation of the toilets and changing rooms, overhaul of the plumbing, construction of an asphalt running track and the construction of a brand new practice pitch with irrigation system
Under phase II of the project, works include clearing the drainage, setting up a gym in the basketball hall, landscaping, installation of CCTV, rehabilitation of the access road, renovation of the VIP and grandstand parking area and electrical installations among other works. These works are expected to be completed in 2013.
The Shinde Stadium in Mufulira is also scheduled for restoration. The Mufulira and Nkana Rugby Clubs and the Mufulira Golf Club have also been restored.
Other than the refurbishment of the stadium, Mopani has continued to provide monthly grants to Nkana and other sports clubs that it is currently sponsoring as evidenced by the company’s donation of branded buses to Nkana FC and Diggers Rugby Club.
The company has also been involved in the sponsorship of non-soccer tournaments such as the Commonwealth Swimming Gala hosted earlier this year at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka as well as other sporting disciplines such as rugby, tennis and golf.
In March this year, for example, Mopani and the Nkana Golf Club entered into a memorandum of understanding that will see the mining firm give the club facelift.
Because of the rehabilitation works that Mopani is undertaking, the Kitwe-based golf club has won a bid to host the prestigious 2014 Zambia Open Golf championship, which brings together professional golfers from the Sunshine Tour.
Under the MOU, Mopani has undertaken to rehabilitate the Club House, locker rooms and the surroundings, maintain the golf course through and by the provision of golf expertise, labour, course irrigation and water reticulation systems.
Mopani will also maintain security for the Club through electric fencing of the perimeter boundary, increase of security patrols and placing of fire breaks around the perimeter.
Other projects to be undertaken at the club include; construction of a new caddy and storage shelters and the introduction of Golf Academy for underprivileged children, inter alia.
Mopani has committed to continue with its financial support through monthly grants and other periodic support for special projects and golfing events.
“As a company we are aware that sport plays a significant role not only in providing alternative leisure options, but also as a source of livelihood and offering disadvantaged youths and school children opportunities that they have not previously enjoyed,” said Mr Callow, who is ironically Nkana Golf Club President.
Mr Callow further reiterated Mopani’s commitment to resuscitating the club to its former glorious days when it used to host big tournaments like the Zambia Open.
Nkana Golf Club captain Elario Musonda is delighted about the boost given to Nkana Golf Club by Mopani.
“I would like to thank Mopani for driving this idea of the restoration of Nkana Golf Club and for the commitment and love shown to the game of golf and sport in general. This support will certainly go a long way in improving Nkana Golf Club and the welfare of all the current and potential members of the club,” said Mr Musonda.
Earlier, in the year, Mopani also donated K150,000 towards the live broadcast of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations that were held in South Africa and a further $50,000 bonus to the Chipolopolo had they retained the cup.
Mopani also hosted the third league gala of the Zambia Amateur Swimming Union (ZASU) at its newly-rebuilt pool in Mufulira to the delight of the children and other members of the community, who now have a modern swimming facility for their training and leisure.
Apart from active involvement in sport, Mopani also donated a 30-seater staff mini-bus and assorted medical equipment worth K100,000 to Kitwe Central Hospital.
The donation was received by Nkana Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Lackson Kazabu on behalf of the hospital and Government.
The equipment, which is aimed at supporting Government’s efforts in improving health service delivery consists of patient trolleys, wheels chairs and other assorted patient monitoring equipment.
“Mopani Copper Mines Plc is delighted to join the government in its quest to improve health service delivery across the country.
It’s for this reason that we are donating a 30-seater minibus to help in easing the transport challenges faced by the institution,” Mr Callow said.
The equipment which was procured from the United Stated will help in alleviating the transport and equipment shortage with Ronald Ross and Kamuchanga hospitals in Mufulira also expected to benefit.
Mr Kazabu commended Mopani for supplementing government’s efforts in improving health services in the country.
“Zambia faces a number of challenges in the provision of quality and accessible health care services. It is therefore gratifying to note that Mopani is working in partnership with the Government to bring quality health services closer to the people,” he said
Mr Kazabu also hailed Mopani for its robust corporate social responsibility programme which has contributed to raising the standards of living of the people.
“We are aware, that Mopani is involved in a number of health initiatives including provision of free cervical cancer screening for our women, treatment of the congenital disorder – clubfoot, and the integrated malaria control programme which has led to a reduction in malaria prevalence rates in its catchment areas in both Kitwe and Mufulira to about 15 per 1,000 currently compared to the Copperbelt average of more than 250 per 1000,” Mr Kazabu said.
Mopani is also doing a commendable job in the fight against HIV/AIDS both within and outside the workplace with more than 45,000 people, both employees and non-employees, having gone through the company’s voluntary counselling and testing programme and as many as 14,000 have accessed free treatment and care.
The mining giant was also involved in cervical cancer screening where over 300 women have underwent free screening at the company’s health facilities for a period of six months from November 2012 to May.
Mopani medical manager Ronny Cheelo confirmed that a total of 326 women with average age of 25 to 40 years have accessed our cervical cancer free screening programme since the launch in November 2012.
The mining company launched the free screening programme at its two hospitals – Wusakile in Kitwe and Malcom Watson in Mufulira – late last year and has since employed 11 full-time staff to manage the project.
Commenting on the cancer screening, First Lady, Christine Kaseba, an ardent advocate of maternal and child health, described the programme as a humane initiative and called on men to get involved in encouraging women to go for screening.
“I wish to commend Mopani Copper Mines Plc most sincerely for this humane initiative of offering cervical cancer screenings to the community at no cost and also for always partnering with the Government in promoting quality healthcare delivery in the areas of its operation,” Dr Kaseba said.
A staggering was spent $250,000 (about K1.3 million) on setting up the two cervical cancer screening centres, which are targeting to reach over 32,000 women aged between 20 and 65 years in the mining Copperbelt province.
As if that was not enough, Mopani also donated 15 wheelchairs worth K25, 000 to children with cerebral palsy in Kitwe.
The company has also rehabilitated the first quarter of the 15.1 kiloometres Sabina-Mufulira road, which is the main artery connecting the mining town of Mufulira on the Copperbelt to the rest of Zambia.
The Sabina-Mufulira road is part of the $10.5 million dollars road rehabilitation project that was launched in 2011, which also involved the rehabilitation of the 6.7kilometres Central Street and Mindolo-Chibuluma roads.
Mopani Copper Mines Plc, therefore, has cause to be delighted to be one of the pioneers of the sports renaissance that is taking place in the country as well as for their corporate social responsibility model that must be a marvel for many a mining company.
At best even to describe Mopani’s corporate social responsibility as robust is an understatement!