By Rose Chipumphula CHALIRA
Qadria Muslim Association of Malawi (QMAM), has oriented district stakeholders in Balaka on mining issues as one way of building their capacity.
Speaking during the meeting in the district Thursday, Balaka Mining Civil Society Organisation chairperson, Sepheriwa William said the capacity building has come at the right time as the district is attracting alot of investors in the mining sector.
He said despite this positive development, citizens and other stakeholders in the district lack the knowledge on how they can engage mining investors “if they are not doing what they promised.”
Some of the participants during the orientation meeting (Photo Credit: Rose Chipumphula Chalira)
He said the training was an eye-opener to civil society organisations and government officials to know how they can follow-up on issues to do with mining.
“We have seen a lot of mining activities happening in the district. Some just come to collect samples and disappear for years. The community has not benefitted much. We want that to change so that communities can benefit from such investments,” he said.
“As Civil Society Organisations our role is not only to do checks and balances, but also to give directions on how investors should run things so that citizens can benefit from resources endowed across the country. We all know that the mining sector is one of the priorities in Malawi Agenda 2063,” William said.
QMAM coordinator, Biswas Ishamel said the training’s aim was to highlight mining issues in the district and how stakeholders can monitor mining sites to avoid misunderstandings,” he said.
Ishmael said most investors in the mining sector come with good messages but somehow fail to fulfill their promises hence disagreements with communities.
“Some investors just disappear without fulfilling their corporate social responsibility when their projects come to an end. Others leave big dams which are hazardous to communities in form of accidents or floods,” he said.
QMAM is implementing a one year project on ‘Amplifying the Voices and Participation of Women in Mining’ project, with funding from Southern Africa Trust, amounting to K25 million in three Traditional Authorities of Chanthunya, Nsamala and Phalula where a lot of mining are happening in Balaka.