BY NCHIMUNYA MIYOBA
Lufwanyama district boasts of having the best emeralds but still remains one of the under developed districts on the Copperbelt.
According to the 2010 census report Lufwanyama has a population of about 78,503 and lies 105 kilometers on the south-west of Kitwe on the Copperbelt.
The district has six chiefdoms namely Nkana, Lumpuma, Mukutuma, Shimukunami, Funguluwe and Shibuchinga, which share boundaries with Kitwe, kalulushi, Mpogwe, Maisaiti, Luanshya, Chingola, Kasempa and Solwezi.
Lufwanyama’s economic is mainly driven by mining, timber production and farming.
According to the findings from a case study recently undertaken by the Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) in collaboration with the Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) and Save the children, the report findings states that mining activities in the district have not contributed significantly to the promotion of children’s rights to education, health, water and sanitation and social protection for their families.
The report states that poor infrastructure, low value addition, smuggling and unaccounted for emeralds trade remain rampant in the district.
The report states that the three mining companies’ Kagem, Chibuluma mine and Gemcanton undertook community projects some of which are aimed at promoting access to health, education water and sanitation hence contributing to the improvement of access to children’s right.
It states that the projects undertaken by the three mining companies have been implemented with little or no consultation with communities and children at the grass level.
The findings further states that the contributions by the mining companies is mainly concentrated in two chiefdoms namely Nkana and Lumpumahence depriving other children in the remaining chiefdoms to access education.
Despite Lufwanyama been endowed with the best emeralds and having the second largest emeralds deposits in world the report findings states that contributions from the mining firms to the local authority have gone into general accounts hence used to finance annual national budget and general budgets for the local authority.
The reports also states that children in Lufwanyama has continued to walk long distances to access education while communities walk cover long distances as well to access health facilities which in most cases luck medicines, equipment and qualified health staff.
Presenting the report findings in Kitwe recently, JCTR Planning evaluation officer Norman Chavula called for formation of effective platforms as a way of providing a voice for the children.
Mr Chavula observed that it was essential for community members, children and other stakeholders to become aware of children rights and participate in dialogue and advocacy for legislation and policy change at district and national levels. Mr Chavula said the goal of the project was to contribute to the enhancement of children’s rights in the country through effective and coordinated practices and policy frameworks.
The organisations that carried out the assessment have recommended that before mining firms carry out their corporate social responsibility, there is need for them to consult and engage communities particularly children in the development process.